A message from past and future Chairs of the International Association for Volunteer Effort (IAVE)


A farewell message from Kylee

If 2020 were a ‘normal’ year at precisely this time many of us would be meeting in Abu Dhabi for the 2020 World Volunteer Conference, celebrating IAVE’s 50th anniversary. I would no doubt be in the extremely lucky position of being able to reconnect with many of your personally as I retire as World President. Unfortunately, this is a year like none other and sadly, that option was not available to any of us.

Nonetheless, as my time as World President and Board Chair concludes, I wanted to say thank you to each of you for your insights, engagement and friendship and for your ongoing commitment to what IAVE stands for and what it does. It can be easy in the hustle of everyday life and the various volunteering activities or agendas we each pursue, to momentarily forget what a special organisation IAVE is, what unique place it holds among global organisations and the role it plays in promoting, supporting and celebrating volunteering worldwide. However as, and when, countries around the world begin to emerge from the devastating effects of the pandemic on mortality rates, long-term health and accompanying economic, social and cultural loss that the coronavirus has wrought in many countries, I know that few of us will lose sight of just how vital volunteers are to community recovery. It will be IAVE members who will be flying the volunteer flag the highest.

I have been inordinately fortunate to serve on the IAVE board for the maximum time allowed, first as Asia-Pacific representative, then as Vice President to Dr Kang-Hung Lee and since 2014 as World President. It was sobering when I realised that my board service has spanned nearly 25 percent of my life! In that time, I have served with many fine board colleagues from some 20 countries around the world. I have learned much from them and it has been a privilege to observe their passion and commitment to volunteering on both a local and global scale and to now call many of them friends. I say thank you to each of them.

I would also like to specifically acknowledge the contributions of both Kathi Dennis and Kenn Allen who have both made significant contributions to IAVE over many years as Executive Director and Senior Consultant/Acting Executive Director respective and with whom I worked closely during my tenure. I am extremely grateful for their dedication to IAVE and the hard work which enabled many IAVE convenings to be realised.

As IAVE embarks on its next 50 years I am excited by what the future holds for the organisation at this unparalleled time in history. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with Nichole Cirillo as Executive Director since she was appointed just one year ago. Nichole has more than ably steered the IAVE ship through some unchartered waters, leaning into the difficult decision to postpone the 2020 World Volunteer Conference and, with the great support and skill of the IAVE team, worked through this most challenging of years to begin to reshape IAVE and what it can offer in terms of thought leadership and being a voice for volunteering, in particular through our key networks, the Global Corporate Volunteering Council (GCVC) and the Global Network of Volunteering Leadership Organisations (GNVL).

At my last IAVE board meeting, just a few days ago, I formally passed the ‘chief volunteer officer’ baton to Ruth Lewin as the new Chair of IAVE and I did so with great hope and pride. Ruth brings great skill to IAVE and a great passion for enabling citizens to change the world through volunteering. She inherits an organisation of passionate and committed members, an engaged volunteer board and a highly skilled Executive Director and staff team. 

From my new vantage point of ‘just a regular volunteer’ (and paid up member) I look forward to seeing the great things that IAVE will achieve over the next 50 years. I wish the IAVE board and every IAVE member the very best outcomes for all your volunteering endeavours in a post-Covid world. With some luck and some good science on our side, I hope to see many of you at the next world volunteer conference!

Thank you for all that you have given me. It as been a privilege to serve.

Kylee Bates

IAVE World President (2014 – 2020)


A welcome message from Ruth

I am deeply honored and humbled to be appointed as the next Chair of the IAVE Board of Directors. I want to thank you, the members, for your support and the confidence you placed in me to serve as Chair of this remarkable organization.

As IAVE celebrates its 50th anniversary, I am excited to help shape the future of the organization. As I have mentioned in my campaign, I envisage a world of possibilities for IAVE. I want to continue positioning the organization as the cornerstone for volunteers in all sectors and regions of the world. I am ready to bring my experience and skillset to help leverage IAVE’s networks and resources to best serve the communities that are at the forefront of tackling the social challenges that exist in today’s society.

I sincerely look forward to working alongside you, the Board, the Secretariat Team and our strategic partners over the coming years, to not only bring transformative change to our organization but also to the global volunteer community as a whole.

Thank you.

Ruth Lewin

IAVE World President (2020 - )