FAWCO Newsletter

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Emily van Eerten
AWC The Hague
FAWCO President
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Dear FAWCO Friends,

I had hoped that by this time the Covid story would have moved from the headlines. Sadly, although vaccinations have made a huge impact, the highly contagious Delta variant has resulted in a fourth wave of infection and death. The statistics are showing that the under/unvaccinated are dominating these increased numbers, either by lack of access or sometimes by choice. Some of the restrictions that had been starting to lift have been reinstated, although with some important differences. Each country sets their own Covid protocols, but this time it doesn't look like everything will shut down worldwide. Many countries, including those in Europe and the US, are allowing gatherings and travel, particularly for those who can show that they are Covid negative or that they have been vaccinated. 
As a result we are starting to see our Clubs restarting in-person events and activities to a limited extent, and our members are starting to travel again. The joy of getting to see friends and loved ones once again is clear to see in photos shared on social media. With these developments, FAWCO, FAUSA, and at least one of our regions, are carefully considering planning our next gatherings. FAWCO's 2022 Interim Meeting is on the schedule for March 4-6, 2022, at the Parc Alvisse Hotel in Luxembourg (our original venue for 2020). Keep an eye on the FAWCO Calendar for other events. We can't predict at the moment if it will be safe and possible to travel at that time, but with so many of our members already vaccinated we are optimistic. We very much hope to see you in person then!
I'm excited as well to include some additional information about the program and impressive speakers for the Human Rights In Focus virtual event being planned for November 4-7, 2021. Please read below for details.
FAWCO would like to thank Sue Elliot, AWC Dublin, Magda Honffy, AWC Antwerp, and Maggie Palu, AW Aquitaine, who all held recent Facebook Fundraisers on their birthdays for the benefit of FAWCO and the FAWCO Foundation. We are most grateful to Sue, Magda, Maggie, their friends, and all of you who have honored the work of FAWCO and the FAWCO Foundation with financial contributions!
It is a heartbreaking reality that Covid has touched the lives of many members to date, but we sincerely hope that all of you are seeing increased social interaction while remaining healthy and safe. We will get through this — we ARE getting through this. 

     Human Rights in Focus

On the 5th anniversary of our Stand Up against Human Trafficking Symposium in The Hague (2016), FAWCO and the Human Rights Team will be hosting a 4-day virtual conference on Human Rights in Focus. Please mark your calendars and join us for this exciting event Thursday to Sunday, November 4-7, 2021 on the Hopin platform.

CONFIRMED SPEAKERS (as of July 20, 2021) — we will be adding to this list as we confirm speakers.


 * Opening keynote speaker Kimberly Marteau Emerson, Board member Human Rights Watch
 * Anila Noor, founder of New Women Connectors
 * Nedal Al Salman, president of Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR), convenor of IFEX & Vice President of the FIDH
 * Target Program/Project 2016-2019 update: Amanda Lane, CRP Executive Director Violence Abroad
 * Paula Lucas, Founder of Pathways to Safety International.


DAY 2 - Human Trafficking
 *  Keynote speaker Valiant Richey, OSCE Special Representative & Coordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings
*   Lisa Cohen, Supervising Senior Producer, CNN Freedom Project
*  Target Program/Project 2013-2016 Update: Free the Girls 
*  Panel discussion on “The Victim’s Journey” with Suzanne Hoff, International Coordinator La Strada International; Dr Sheetal Shah, Academic Director Bridge2Hope Webster University;        and Esta Steyn, Director Be Slavery Free
*  Panel discussion on “Prevention of Child Trafficking” with Mary T. Callahan, Executive Director of Girls on the Run Houston; United Against Human Trafficking, (UAHT); Bob Osborn, * * * *  Children at Risk; and  Beka Lisgarten, Stop the Traffik (UK),

DAY 3 - Shine a Light - on lesser known forms of Violence against Women
*  Keynote speaker: Kelsey MacKay, President of RESPOND Against Violence and McKay Training & Consulting, LLC
*  Forced Marriage with Fraidy Reiss, Founder/Executive Director of Unchained at Last; and Zonta 
*  Female Genital Mutilation, an Update on Target Project 2020-2022 with Target Chair, Tharien van EckRhobi Samwelly, founder of HOPE; and Hibo Wardere, activist and author of CUT

DAY 4 - Take Action
* Keynote speaker: Jessica Buchleitner, journalist, author and UN NGO Permanent Representative
* Advocacy Workshop - Beth Ellen Holimon, Global Gender Equality Advocate, Social Impact Strategist 
Erica Higbie, The Women's Human Rights Teaching Learning and Advocacy Resource  and FAWCO UN Rep 


The FAWCO Board at Work

FAWCO's Diversity & Inclusion Task Force submitted their Framework Document in March. As the Task Force transitions into an ongoing Team, we will be hosting a virtual open discussion in the fall on how we move forward with the team and with the ideals of inclusivity. We have had feedback and ideas submitted for programming dealing with a variety of topics that encompass acceptance of differences in culture, gender, nationality, physical limitations, race, sexual orientation, and more. We would like to thank Tonya Teichert for her Task Force leadership this last year, not only with our new Framework, but also with her moderation of several speakers and workshops this year. Tonya has decided, however, to step down. As we move forward, we will be looking for a new chair to expand the team and help put structure into our approach. Please let me or a board member know if you, or any of your club members, would like to be part of this effort.

Recent Appointments


Ellie BadanesEllie Badanes, FAUSA, will take over from Meenakshi Advani Rai, ACIW Mumbai, as Public Relations and Media Chair. Ellie writes: "When I was 27, my life totally changed as my husband was transferred from New York to Copenhagen. At that moment a new journey began and what a journey it was. I could never have imagined that the promised 3-to-5-year assignment would turn into a life abroad that would encompass the next 20 years. It was a journey that would lead me to a full fledged @fawco career including being President of the American Women’s Club in Denmark, President of the American Women of Surrey and President of The FAWCO Foundation and upon my return to the USA, 1st VP of Communications for @fausa. FAWCO helped me grow and provided amazing mentors and friends to cherish year after year. FAWCO showed me the power of women, the power of passion and activism and the power of giving. 12 years ago, I launched @fawco on Twitter, and I have loved seeing our engagement grow on this platform and across our ever-growing social media channels. I have loved being part of a vibrant and forward-thinking PR/Social Media team for the past 3 years. For all of this, I am forever grateful. Before moving abroad, I was a retail buyer for a department store group and upon my repatriation to America many years later I circled back to that interest and launched an online store selling pajamas. My company www.ThePajamaCompany.com has been a new journey and has proved to be a successful niche business. I’ve always loved working in pajamas and now I know I’m not the only one."
Jordan Beck WagnerJordan Beck Wagner, AWC Hamburg, will be joining Karen O'Shaughnessy, FAUSA, as U40 Co-Chair. As a child, Jordan conquered life-threatening cancer twice. As a young woman, Jordan has leaped from high school valedictorian to political science scholar with two international masters degrees, a stint with the US State Department and her current work as Senior Content Manager for a company that designs and empowers digital ecosystems. During her time in Germany she met the love of her life. Covid has delayed their wedding plans but she is looking forward to their bicultural and bilingual future.
Meredith ManiMeredith Mani, AWC Amsterdam, will strengthen our UN Team, joining Alexandra Vo, FAUSA, and Katja Malinowski, AWC Berlin, as an SDG Team Leader, as well as serving as one of the FAWCO UN Reps At-Large. She writes: "FAWCO, and the causes it supports are important to me. I feel an emotional connection to the SDGs and their advancement. I would like to use my talents to motivate members to take action." Meredith has a degree in Communications but has also studied fine arts with a focus in oil painting. She has served the AWC Amsterdam as Vice President and was a member of FAWCO's Diversity & Inclusion Task Force. She has extensive experience as a fundraiser, community organizer, journalist and editor.

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