FAWCO
Federation of American Women's Clubs

News from the Biennial Conference 2015 Rome

Daily reports from the Conference in Rome were received from Mary Stewart Burgher and are shown below. In these reports you can read about the interesting programs and activities that the 3-strong AWC Denmark delegation has been participating in. The “Three Musketeers” are FAWCO rep. Mary Stewart Burgher, Club President Clarice Scott and member Terri Knudsen.

Day 1. Shoulders to the Wheel in Rome

The weather was great yesterday, not that any of us left the hotel during the sessions. Yesterday we heard a really inspiring keynote speech from Linda Douglass, a journalist and wife of the U.S. ambassador to Italy, on the depressing statistics on violence against women and the impressive actions being taken against it.

Workshops started yesterday, and of course I'm going to the sessions for FAWCO officers, where we share experience and best practices. (People are very impressed to hear about our AWC Denmark tax committee.) with Lucy Laederich and the citizenship and tax & banking committee chairs, I sat at the U.S. Issues table at "Face2Face", where all the FAWCO committees and groups answer questions or discuss issues with individual Conference participants.

And I finally cast our Club's vote on the Development Grants to be awarded on Saturday. Fingers crossed for the projects we supported: sending refugee Syrian and Iraqi children to school, the uniform project in South Africa, support for children with cancer inGreece, Aziza's coffee business for women inCambodia and the Rome club's project to teach tailoring skills to poor women in Florence! Attached is the Conference newsletter for Day One. Tonight we have the big fundraising evening for the FAWCO Foundation.

Day 2. Hitting our Stride in Rome

Friday was a typically FAWCO blend of work and fun. US Liaison Lucy Laederich called a meeting of members interested in US issues, over breakfast, so we started at 7:45! After a nice discussion (and breakfast) we charged into the main session for reports on on our Target Program.

Good news: FAWCO clubs have raised more than $75,000 for Free the Girls, our project to help women who have escaped from human trafficking start businesses and re-enter society. Then we listened to inspiring keynote addresses from Dr Moez David, head of UN Women, and Cindy McCain, philanthropist and wife of US Senator John McCain, about the measures needed
to secure gender equality and end human trafficking. (Hint: voting for politicians who will tackle these issues is very important.) Then followed a panel discussion on securing the human rights of women and girls. We spent the rest of the working day in workshops. I hugely enjoyed a lecture on the role of women in Ancient Rome, but also the sessions on communications and
leadership skills.

After a short break for R&R, it was time for Foundation Night, a typically FAWCO combo of fun and fundraising. An astonishing number of women actually followed the instructions and came in costume as women they admired. I came as 16 women: the nominees to replace Andrew Jackson on the US 20-dollar bill (cast your vote here: www.womenon20s.org).  The dinner, costume prize and dancing served as cover for the fundraising through silent and live auctions. I'll send you the totals as soon as they're announced. They threw us out of the ballroom at 11:30 ... And today's session started at 9:30. I'm hoping to leave the hotel for a walk
today, after 2 solid days inside. Wish you were all here, it's so exciting!

Day 3.  Rome Conference: FAWCO Wins

The conference ended in a blaze of achievement: scholarships handed out and development grants awarded. Our AWC delegates were glad to see our own Alex Nielsen (son of Holly) among last year's scholarship winners. Amid all the awards we also elected new boards for both FAWCO and its Foundation. Recordings and photos of the Conference are posted on the FAWCO website (www.fawco.org). Just click on the Conference logo. Thanks for listening. Vi ses. MSB

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   
 

 

 

Mary Stewart Burgher

Mary Stewart Burgher