At the WCC meeting in Texas in 2004, the delegates decided that the work which Alva Uddin had done as President of WCC should be acknowledged. It was agreed that the title of Founder President Emeritis be conferred and that a presentation of a plaque would be made to her at the FIFe General Assembly in 2004.
Mrs Uddin became the first President of WCC and held this post until 2003 when she retired from the board of FIFe. She believed passionately in the WCC and its aims.
Alva receives her award at the 2004 FIFe General Assembly. From left to right: Penny Bydlinski, Alva Uddin and Eric Rejiers.
At the presentation in May 2004 the President of FIFe, Eric Reijers read out a message from the WCC President, the text of which is reproduced here:
"The international cat fancy has known many larger-than-life personalities and there have been Presidents of various bodies who had vision for their own organisation, but Alva Uddin took that vision one step farther than anyone before her.
First she was FIFe's Alva, ("Her FIFeness") but in pursuing the idea of creating a world-wide forum for the cat fancy, which grew into the World Cat Congress, she was no longer just FIFe's property - she belonged to the world. She was, as somebody put it, "Her Worldness".
Because of the WCC constitution, Alva was no longer eligible to stand as President in 2003 and for my sins, as President of the Australian Cat Federation, I was elected her successor. I could never hope to fill her shoes but I hope to be able to help WCC continue to grow.
Alva at the Cat Museum in Kuching, Malaysia.
Apart from my admiration of Alva as a grande dame of the cat fancy, I am privileged to count her as a friend and she has stayed in our home in Tasmania on various occasions. I well recall the day a few years ago when I suggested we go out in my boat and asked her if she had ever been fishing. In retrospect it was rather a foolish question to ask a Viking!
Her answer was succinct and put me in my place: "Have I ever been FISHING? I am a LIGHTHOUSE KEEPER'S DAUGHTER!"
WCC will always be the legacy Alva has given to the international cat world. From its beginnings in 1994 when FFI and Alva organised the inaugural informal gathering in Venice it has grown and its truly international flavour is reflected in the fact that meetings have been held not only in Europe and Scandinavia but also in Australia (2001), the USA (this year) and will next year be hosted by the newest member body, New Zealand Cat Fancy.
The 2004 meeting in Texas voted unanimously that Alva's foresight and contribution to forming the cat world's version of the United Nations should be acknowledged in a meaningful way, and decided that she should hold the title of World Cat Congress Founder President Emeritus in perpetuity.
I wish I were able to present Alva with this token of the esteem in which she is held by the rest of the world, but Portugal is just a little far from Australia. Instead, I will rely on the WCC Vice President, Eric Reijers, to stand in for me.
Alva, together with the other Presidents of world bodies, I thank you for what you have given to the cat world. Your influence has reached all corners of the globe, and to so many, you will always be "Her Worldness".
President, World Cat Congress