Home » FAWCO 2019 Biennial Conference Report

FAWCO Biennial Conference

March 21-24, 2019

Edinburgh, Scotland


Note:  As a member of AWC Berlin, all members are entitled to the benefits offered by FAWCO.  To opt-in and join FAWCO, you can register here: https://www.fawco.org/registration  Due to privacy laws, you must register and choose the publications that you wish to receive from FAWCO.

Delegation from the American Women’s Club of Berlin included:

  • Janel Schermerhorn, AWC Berlin President
  • Lissa Rosenbloom, 1st Vice President, Programs
  • Stephanie Biery, Philanthropy chairperson
  • Karen Castellon, FAWCO Representative
  • My-Linh Kunst, FAWCO Counselor, Immediate Past President of AWC Berlin
  • Angelika McClarren, FAWCO Regional Coordinator, Region 5 (Germany & Austria)

VERY busy and informative 44th biennial FAWCO conference, which was attended by 180 members from 38 clubs in 20 countries and the USA.  There was at least one person from each of the 11 Regions in FAWCO.  Notably, AWC of Central Scotland, our host club for the Conference, will be planting a tree for each conference participant.  Go Environment!

FAWCO has a new member club, AIWC Sorrento.  Karen, AWC Berlin FAWCO Rep is also a member of the American Women of the Aquitane (France).

The new FAWCO and FAWCO Foundation boards were voted in at the Conference.  Two candidates had to step down at the last minute, due to health concerns.  The new slate was elected unanimously:


  • President  Emily van Eerten, The Hague
  • 1stVP Communications  Ann Marie Morrow, Finland
  • 2ndVP Member Clubs  Rozanne Van Rie, Antwerp
  • 3rdVP Global Issues Mary Dobrian, Cologne
  • Secretary Amanda Drollinger, Central Scotland
  • Treasurer Alisa Cook-Roehs, Düsseldorf

The FAWCO Foundation

  • President Barbara Bühling, Düsseldorf
  • VP Programs Angela Aebersold, Bern
  • VP Fundraising Lauren Mescon, Amsterdam
  • VP Communications Tracy Moede, Hamburg
  • Secretary Louise Greeley-Copley, FAUSA
  • Treasurer Kathy DeBest, FAUSA

The 2019 FAWCO Development Grants, monies to support projects by non-profits around the world, were awarded to:


  • Hazarwadi, in Maharashtra, India  (nominated by AWC Hamburg)
  • Keeping Backpacks Full of Hope, in Dakar, Senegal (nominated by AIWC Genoa)
  • Tools for Equal Opportunities: Tutoring Disadvantaged Girls in Niger, in Niamey, Niger (nominated by AWC Dublin)


  • Stepergy, in rural Morocco (nominated by AIWA Rabat)


  • 2019 Fistula Foundation Fistula Repair Surgery Program, in Africa and Asia (nominated by American Women of the Eastern Province, aka Saudi Arabia)

Human Rights

  • More Than Just a Cup of Coffee: Barista Skills Provide Dignified Work to Survivors of Human Trafficking, in Amsterdam, Netherlands (nominated by AWC Amsterdam)
  • Training Potties for Refugees, in Greece (nominated by AWO Greece)

All member clubs, including AWC Berlin,  voted on the Development Grants from an initial list of 29 nominations.

HEALTH Target Project nominations.  If you know of a project that you would like the club to nominate for a Target Project, please let Karen know at fawco@awcberlin.org.  The Target Project benefits from 2 years of fundraising starting in 2020 by the FAWCO network. Applications will be available in May 2018 for nominating projects in Health for the next Target Project.  Clubs AND individuals may nominate projects for the Target.  Nominations will be due by September 30th.  See full details on the FAWCO Foundation website.

Closure of Target Project 3, EDUCATION.  FAWCO clubs and members together raised $190,000 for Hope Beyond Displacement – well beyond the original target of $125,000.  The funds helped educate 880 children of refugees in Amman, Jordan.  Thanks to FUNdraisers and a matching challenge donation, AWC Berlin contributed 11,000 Euros (more than $12,500 dollars) to the Target Project, and we have a place among the Diamond Donors, the highest tier of fundraisers, on The FAWCO Foundation Club Donor Wall.

The FAWCO Education Awards went to:

  • Arts – Olivia Jimenez, daughter of AWC Amsterdam member Rhonda Jimenez
  • Sciences – Imogen Jacques, daughter of AIWC Cologne member
  • Humanities – Benjamin Mowat, son of AWC The Hague member Julie Mowat
  • Humanities – Rachel Drucker, daughter of AWC Amsterdam member
  • Dual Cultural – Sophie Romain, daughter of Munich IWC member

The FAWCO Member Education awards went to:

  • University Study Degree – (Cecilia) Zhou Zhuang, member of AIWA Rabat
  • Skills Enhancement – Marie Wienke, member of AWC Hamburg
  • Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and Medicine – Rebecca Zenkovich, member of AWO Moscow
  • Continuing Education – Maya Guice, member of AWC Berlin (Yippee!)

The Caroline Curtis Brown Spirit Award (she was president of AWC London and the Founder of FAWCO in 1931) was presented to Kristin Haanæs of AWC Oslo for her devoted and behind-the-scenes work on designs for The Forum, CSW (Commission on the Status of Women), the website, and a variety of other artistic endeavors.  It should be noted that this award is not an annual event; it is only given when there is a deserving recipient.

FAWCO Representative Appreciation Award was given to Karen Castellon and Cecily Garver of Munich IWC.  Thanks, team, I feel appreciated. 

FAWCO at the United Nations.   FAWCO has status as a registered NGO (non-governmental organization, aka “civil society”) at the United Nations.  Laurie Richardson, FAWCO Liaison to the United Nations, reported that a delegation of 15 attended the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW63) at the UN in New York during the week of 11-22 March 2019. Anette Arnold, Karen Castellon and her daughter, Claire, represented AWC Berlin at CSW63.

The 2019 FAWCO Friendship Quilt, “Tell Me a Story,” which contains 374 books, measures 142 cm x 275 cm, with squares submitted by 39 FAWCO members from 17 different clubs, assembled by Roberta Zollner of Munich IWC, was won by Mary Stewart Burgher, from AWC Denmark, outgoing Secretary of FAWCO.  The amount raised from the sale of raffle tickets was not announced, but we learned that so many tickets were sold that they had to get a larger box to hold the stubs.  Perhaps one of our AWC Berlin members is interested in submitting a square for the 2020 Friendship Quilt?  I’ll let you know when the theme is announced.

Beautiful tribute to the late Lucy Laederich, who was a member of AAWE in Paris, super-active in FAWCO, particularly as the US Liaison who stormed Congress on a yearly basis to lobby for overseas Americans.

The next FAWCO Youth Cultural Volunteers Program will be held in Greece, from October 16 to 23, for FAWCO members’ children and grandchildren, between the ages of 15 and 18.  They will get an introduction to Heart Pillows, a cancer hospital, and a soup kitchen, as well as the Parthenon, the Acropolis, the Plaka, the Evzoni, Syntagma Square, and sunset at the Temple of Poseidon.

The next FAUSA Getaway will be in Detroit, Michigan, from October 3rd to 6th, 2019 and all FAWCO members are invited.  The 2020 FAUSA Getaway will be in Cape Cod, to coincide with the 400th anniversary of the landing of the Pilgrims.

The FAWCO Interim Meeting in 2020 will be held in Europe.  You are all invited to attend the meeting.  It will be in a country that has only two jails.  It has won the Eurovision song contest five times.  One-third of its territory is forests, and a restaurant in the capital city has the largest wine list in the world, with 2,200 choices.  That’s right, the next FAWCO (global) Interim Meeting will be March 20 to 22, 2020 at the Alvisse Parc Hotel, in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.

The next Region 5 (Germany & Austria) meeting will be November 15-17, 2019 in Leipzig.  I hope that many AWC Berlin members will be interested in attending.  Consider this your invitation.

It wasn’t all business.  The opening night dinner on Thursday was followed by a Scottish ceilidh.  Many people wore tartan, and there were several kilts, and after the (vegetarian) haggis and the rest of the meal, there was plenty of Scottish dancing.   Angelika McLarren led many of the wayward dancers.  It was a lot of fun.

On Friday night there was a bluegrass theme, with more casual attire, and more dancing, though not as much participation as on Thursday.

The theme of the FAWCO Foundation gala FUNdraising night on Saturday was “Be True to Your School, “ and many people dressed up for the occasion.  (My-Linh dressed like a schoolgirl; Karen wore a Virginia sweatshirt; Janel had Georgetown; Lissa had University of North Carolina. The live and silent auctions and the raffle of a Hermes scarf and a designer bag brought in about $33,000.  Part of these funds help to finance the Development Grants and Education Awards.

Team Berlin takes 2nd in the Photo Identification Contest.  There were 55 photos submitted by 54 clubs and FAWCO in response to the request from the Inspiring Women magazine.  They were taped on the walls during the Thursday and Friday general sessions, and we were invited to try to match the photos to the clubs that had submitted them.  The Berlin photo had the word “Berlin” in it so not so difficult. “Team Berlin” won 2nd prize overall and a HUGE bag of amazing Swiss chocolates which we didn’t deserve.  We assuaged our guilt by sharing the chocolate far and wide.

The FAWCO conference was, as always, inspiring and educational.  FAWCO has a strong framework to provide focus for its member clubs.  If you want to get more involved, choose an area of interest and call your FAWCO representative.

Resolved: To practice good global citizenship, especially in the areas of education, the environment, health and human rights.


1. Focus Global Issues Teams’ efforts to promote the well-being of women and girls worldwide, provide opportunities for FAWCO members to become involved in FAWCO’s work on global issues, and inform members through FAWCO’s publications and website.

  • Education: Promote awareness of global issues in education with emphasis on equal access, literacy, continuing education, and global citizenship.
  • Environment: Promote awareness of the environment and the impact of climate change. Encourage responsible environmental stewardship and informed action within FAWCO, at both global and local levels.
  • Health: Increase awareness of women’s health issues such as maternal health, the impact of traditional cultural practices and gender-based violence, sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), non-communicable diseases, mental health and aging. Invest in improving the health of women and girls worldwide through support of the 2019‒2022 Target Program.
  • Human Rights: Advocate for human rights for all women, engage FAWCO members in awareness and action campaigns, and leverage FAWCO’s unique strength as a global women’s organization to help end violence and discrimination against women and girls and promote gender parity.

2. Promote awareness and action on global issues through active participation in the Target Program, the focus of which rotates among the four global issues.

3. Promote a culture of giving through philanthropy and volunteerism.

4. Promote issue awareness and cultural understanding in our youth to help them develop into responsible and caring global citizens. Encourage participation in the Youth Cultural Volunteers, FAWCO Youth Ambassador, UN Youth Reps and other programs and activities.

5. Encourage FAWCO members to be informed about customs and legislation in their countries of residence that affect their rights and responsibilities as international citizens living abroad. Encourage FAWCO members to participate actively in their communities and to collaborate with other organizations.

6. Encourage FAWCO members to work toward a more peaceful world by exercising respect, tolerance and consideration and modeling that behavior to others.

I am happy to discuss any of the conference details or how to get more involved in a targeted part of FAWCO with you.

Respectfully submitted,

Karen Castellon                                  

2 April 2019