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    AWLR President's Message - Marrakech 2011

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    President's message April 2011


    Dear Members,

    I have just returned from the FAWCO conference in Marrakech, an opportunity for which I wish to thank the AWG board. As many of you know, I regularly attend scientific research conferences, so it was interesting to compare the two types of conferences. Instead of a world full of men, talking about themselves and their work, I found a community of motivated and passionate women working for something they believe in! What a welcome change it was!

    What do these FAWCO women believe in? In helping others! Whether it be working with Congress to protect and extend the rights of Americans living abroad, or planting trees to prevent erosion while providing a source of income for rural villagers in Morocco, or reaching out to victims of abuse, these women are trying to make a difference in our world TODAY. It was inspiring to learn how FAWCO (and its philanthropic branch: FAWCO Foundation) is addressing a variety of problems, either through its international organization (the teams and committees, the development grants and scholarships) or at the local level through clubs such as ours.

    Speaking of development grants, AWG-Languedoc Roussillon applied for such a grant. Our proposed project, “Water for Mentawai”, asked for funds to build water storage tanks to complete an installation in a remote village in Indonesia. We were thrilled by the announcement at the conference that this project was one of the 7 selected in 2011 to receive a grant of $4500. Our initial contribution of 300 euros is thus multiplied by more than ten-fold, a pretty darn good return on investment!

    Along with Kim M (FAWCO rep), Linda L(FAWCO regional coordinator) and Maggie P(member) I was very proud to represent you at this conference, because (in addition to our unpronounceable name) our club is well-known for its activism. For a “small” club (some FAWCO clubs such as Paris have over 500 members) we do a lot and give back a lot.

    During the conference we were able to watch the “well” fill up with water as donations “poured” in to build wells in Cambodia through the FAWCO Target Program. By the end of the conference we were already more than a quarter of the way to the initial goal of $80,000 (with fundraising due to continue through 2012). This is such an encouraging result that in her inaugural speech the newly elected president of FAWCO, My-Linh Kunst of Berlin, said she wanted “to raise the bar higher” and UP the goal to $100,000.

    So, while we want to have fun (and we now have even more ideas for FUNdraisers) I ask you all to support as fully as you can our club’s philanthropic activities, whether they be for local charities such as Resto Bébés or for the FAWCO Foundation (which can help us fund projects close to our hearts, whether they be around the corner or a world away).

    In closing, I wish you all a very happy and peaceful Easter, in the spirit of fellowship.

    Denise Parent



    31st March 2011
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