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Conference scams and women’s empowerment

25 August, 2009

Have you been receiving conference scam spam? I have so far got about a dozen. It is a very interesting improvement on the Nigerian general’s widow scam, banking on the fact that if you are invited to a conference you might reasonably accept to get a visa. Presumably, though, there is a registration fee. (I wonder if such emails actually target academics.) Here is the text of the latest one I received:



 United Youth Redemption Outreach and co-organizers of the 10th international NGO’s & CBO’s conference on community Development and Development Planning have the  pleasure to invite Youth Organizations,Socio Cultural Organizations, Community Based Organizations (CBO)Scholars, Researchers, Health Organizations, Professionals, Business Organizations (NGOs) Religion Organizations,  Human Right Organizations & Women Groups to the International Conference on ” Stop Early Marriage, Child Abuse/Youth and Women Empowerment ” taking place from 31st august- 10th september 2009 in London,United Kingdom.

This is the most important event in the framework of the fight for human and community development which will take place in London,United Kingdom.

United Youth Redemption Outreach are registered 501(c) Nonprofit international organization whose aims & objectives are to empower individuals and communities worldwide through offering grants for business, education, economic enhancement, community development and environmental conservation, to support groups and organizations addressing social issues,  youth and women empowerment, and a variety of philanthropic projects through grants to non-profit organization;to provide education & information with view of limiting abuse and child molestation, to support and advocate on behalf of those infected and affected by the menace or abuse and neglect to promote the well-being of mankind by empowering the capacity of charitable organization to provide effective programs of quality.

This conference will bring together 1026 representatives of NGOs/CBOs and numerous numbers of interested individual participants from all over the world. The conference will be conducted on participatory bases with satellite plenary and simultaneous sessions followed by general and small group discussions.


The conference receives financial support from CitiBank New York and United Nations Youth Commission,Ford Foundation,coca cola etc. This sponsorship covers the following:

(1) Return Airplane travel tickets for selected delegates from their home countries to venues of the event in London,United Kingdom, then back to their home countries.

(2)  Medical insurance cover for delegates throughout the entire conference duration.

(3) Visa procurement.

United Youth Redemption Outreach will not assume the responsibilities of any other costs other than those listed above.

Intending participants are requested to nominate between Five (5) to Ten (10) active members to participate. Participants should be from 18years and above (Male or Female).


To register to take part in this Conference, please request for the International Delegates Registration form and other conference information. The request for registration form and other conference information should be addressed to the Secretary:

 Mrs. Victoria Rowel.
Secretary, Office of Organizing Committee,
United Youth Redemption Outreach. (UYRO)
Tel/Fax +44 70111 50794

While we anticipate your earliest response, you are advised to contact the Secretary by email and we look forward to meeting up with you in London United Kingdom, to assert a new change for a stronger society.


Prof. Mitchell Harlow.
President, Summit Organizing Committee.
United  Youth Redemption Outreach

Apart from the great travesty of academia and “civil society”, what’s especially interesting here is the use of “women’s empowerment.” Most emails I have received have similar topics, presumably because they seem so unquestionably legitimate and real. It drives home the point that Sverre Molland noted in his recent Macquarie PhD: that issues such as “human trafficking” (and, one could add, others involving women and children — a point noted by E.M. Forster) garner unquestioned support from left and right.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. 25 August, 2009 3:45 am

    I’ve gotten that one.

  2. Catherine permalink
    25 August, 2009 4:17 am

    I get these once or twice a month. The ones I get are nearly always something to do with Senegal….

  3. 25 August, 2009 12:11 pm

    I’ve never received one of these but it’s an interesting phenomenon. Also interesting is that the title of the conference would suggest the purpose is to stop “women empowerment”. As to whether they’re targeting academics, I suppose it wouldn’t be too difficult to target email addresses including .edu, .ac, .org and other markers of academic and/or NGO status.

  4. Barbara Piper permalink
    25 August, 2009 10:50 pm

    I’d be amused if there is anyone out there who has such a high opinion of his/her expertise that they would automatically assume that such a conference would spend thousands to bring them. On second thought, I have lots of colleagues who would make such an assumption, on no grounds whatsoever except pure ego!

    — Barbara

  5. 25 August, 2009 10:52 pm

    Has anyone ever actually applied? I would be curious to know whether such straw conferences actually do take place and fulfil their goals of bringing in aspiring academic or non-academic migrants.

  6. Gail permalink
    5 October, 2009 9:27 pm

    Now it’s changed. I just received one and it has to do with a Christian Women’s Conference in Dec. Same format, etc. I knew immediately it was a scam – to short notice.

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