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Marrakech Report AWC Luxembourg

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FAWCO Representative Board Report

Submitted by Kathleen Bouchaud March 25, 2011

AWC Luxembourg

Marrakesh Conference Highlights

Lisa Williams, Andree Kubilus and I went to Marrakesh, Morocco for the 2011 FAWCO Conference March 15-20. FAWCO highlighted the amazing work it is doing for overseas Americans; in addition, its philanthropic arm, the FAWCO Foundation, highlighted its intense commitment to the disenfranchised throughout the world. AWCL is one of 75 American and International clubs across the globe who are members of this UN-affiliated, member-oriented organization. FAWCO itself has been granted special consultative status to the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and therefore can take part in UN meetings with some of the most respected experts in areas of interest to our members.

The following conference highlights outline areas in which FAWCO can help our members help others.

FAWCO Helping our Members

Overseas Tax and Banking Issues for Americans

FAWCO, in conjunction with The Americans Abroad Caucus (a group of 26 bipartisan representatives from Congress that FAWCO helped create), works on tax issues that overseas Americans face. The FAWCO-staffed U.S. Taxation Committee gathers information on U.S. tax legislation and informs FAWCO members of their U.S. tax responsibilities. It also collects information from the FAWCO membership on specific tax-related problems and brings these to the attention of legislators in Washington. The U.S. Taxation Committee is actively looking for members to submit to them any difficulties members have had as overseas tax filers or with banking overseas or banking in the US as an overseas resident.

Overseas Voting Rights

The FAWCO U.S. Voting from Overseas Committee encourages and assists U.S. overseas citizens to participate in federal elections every two years by providing information and training to volunteers in FAWCO Member Clubs, and helping with publicity. This committee also works to reduce the barriers to voting from overseas imposed by federal and state legislation.

FAWCO was instrumental in getting the October 2009 Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) Act signed into law, bringing essential changes to the voting process for UOCAVA voters. Among other provisions, MOVE:

  • allowed military and overseas voters to request and receive federal election materials (registration forms, blank ballots, election information) electronically (halving the time needed by many voters to get their ballots back to be counted.
  • ensured that states send out ballots 45 days before a federal election so voters are sure to receive them in time.
  • prohibited states from rejecting a marked ballot solely on the basis of a missing notary signature, paper size, and certain other restrictions.

The FAWCO U.S. Voting from Overseas Committee is actively looking for members to submit stories of difficulties they have had in voting overseas.

 

American Overseas Domestic Violence Crisis Center Global Ambassadors

Paula Lucas, Founder and Executive Director of the Americans Overseas Domestic Violence Crisis Center(AODVCC), spoke at the FAWCO conference about AODVCC and its mission to serve abused Americans, mostly women and children, in both civilian and military populations overseas.

Paula also discussed AODVCC-FAWCO effort to recruit and train FAWCO members to become AODVCC Global Outreach Ambassadors. The Ambassadors are trained to raise awareness of the services available to victims through AODVCC via various outreach activities.

Paula fled back to the USA, after living in Europe and the Middle East for 14 years, with her three sons to escape domestic violence and child abuse in April 1999. She founded the organization in September 1999 as an on-line resource while she and her children were still living in a domestic violence shelter. In April 2001, Paula established a domestic violence crisis line that was toll free internationally, 866USWOMEN. Paula now travels nationally & internationally giving a voice to an underserved population of Americans suffering with domestic violence overseas. http://www.866uswomen.org

Education Grants for AWCL Members, Children and Grandchildren

The FAWCO Education Grants Program is open to all FAWCO club members and their children (grandchildren are eligible for the Dual Cultural Award), regardless of nationality and regardless of whether or not your affiliated Club has made a contribution to The Foundation’s programs. The following awards are each $3,000-$5,000:

  • Arts Award
  • Sciences Award
  • Humanities Award
  • Teacher Award
  • Continuing Studies Award
  • Skills Enhancement Award
  • Special Challenges Fund
  • Dual Cultural Award

Students Who Learn Differently

The full text of the study entitled Students Who Learn Differently Overseas can be found at http://studentswholearn.fawco.org.  If you are a student who learns differently who is living abroad, a family member of such a student, or an educational professional concerned with the teaching of such students, this is an invaluable resource. Much of the information compiled in this study is the result of research undertaken by members of FAWCO. In many cases, the respondents have been American women who were living overseas at the time the study took place. Many of these were living in non-English speaking countries. Often the women had to try to find adequate accommodations for their LD learners with little or no assistance. Students Who Learn Differently is an attempt to help fill that void by researching accommodations, rights, and resources that are or should be made available to our learning-differently students, their families and their educators.

 

FAUSA

FAUSA is the U.S.-based branch of FAWCO. It is set up for Americans who have returned from abroad and who would like to stay in touch with other former expat women. Its stated mission is to facilitate the repatriation experience of its members and to help them maintain their international ties in order to bring about a better understanding between the United States and other nations.

Americans who have lived outside the country see the world through different eyes from those who haven't had that opportunity. Remember that when it is time to come home, or if you have been back many years.

·       Be understood.

FAUSA is a network of women and men throughout the country who share your experience of having lived outside our borders. They have felt the feelings that you may be experiencing upon returning.

·       Stay connected or reconnect.

Membership is the perfect way to stay connected or to reconnect to that important international side of your life and with the friends you made overseas.

·       Meet and greet.

FAUSA has its annual meeting in the fall in a different part of the United States. Members may also participate in FAWCO activities, including the annual FAWCO Conference.

·       Give back.

FAUSA has a Charity Fund, through which it contributes to small projects around the world and to the FAWCO Foundation. In addition, an Education Award is given each year to a member, or a member's child or grandchild.

 

 

FAWCO Helping our Members Help Others

FAWCO Development Grant Vote

AWCL submitted its votes for the 2011 FAWCO Foundation Development Grants and all but one of the projects we chose won! Development Grants are the core of The FAWCO Foundation's work and help people across the globe. The seven winners were:

  • Around the Corner, A World Away: Coming Home; Morning Tears, China
  • The Right to Food and Water: Water for Mentawai, Indonesia
  • Hope Through Education: Hodi Peace Centre, Kenya
  • A Place to Learn: Projecto de Vida, Columbia
  • Skills for Life: Eden Women’s Ministry, China
  • Prevention and Treatment of HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis: Katosi Women Development Trust, Uganda
  • Critical Health Concerns: Little Wings, Middle East, N. Africa (AWCL did not choose this one)

 

I-Give

The FAWCO Foundation has registered as a “cause” on www.iGive.com , the first online shopping mall “committed to turning everyday online shopping into donations for worthy causes at no cost to shoppers or the causes they support.”  iGive.com was established in 1997 and currently has over 831 top retailers and services in its “mall” (e.g., Barnes & Noble, The Gap, Best Buy, E-bay, Staples). Since they have started, iGive.com has donated over $5 million to causes registered on their website.

The Foundation is inviting FAWCO club members to register with iGive.com and indicate “FAWCO Foundation” as their cause.  It’s easy, and it’s free. To register, go to:

http://www.fawcofoundation.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=162

Ideas to enroll our members on i-Give:

  • Bring computer to an AWCL brunch with WIFI and help members enroll quickly with i-Give.
  • Help members enroll in i-Give at the Clubhouse.
  • Let new members know about i-Give and help them enroll.
  • Add a blurb about i-Give on the new AWCL member registration form.

Well deserved Desserts

“Well deserved Desserts” is the new FAWCO “Fun-raiser” to raise money for the Cambodian Wells for Clean Water project. The campaign lasts until December 2012 and has “bake sale” as a theme, but the push is for each club to come up with as original an idea as possible surrounding food. The following ideas were set out at the conference:

  • A social/cocktail event with tasting stations.
  • A family event with cookie or cake decorating for kids.
  • Couples baking/cooking event.
  • Demonstration cooking/tasting class.
  • Cake or cupcake designing and decorating class.
  • Healthy bake sale event with gluten free, dairy free, fat free products and a lecture on healthy eating/lifestyle and an exercise instructor, like our AWCL yoga teachers.
  • Cupcake sale
  • Dessert and beverage pairing event
  • Chocolate event
  • Tripled Tiered Treats, which is a virtual bake sale using a cardboard cake with slices priced depending on the tier bought. Thank you gifts can be attached to each slice.
  • Traditional bake sale.

AWCL-FAWCO Donation Transfer

Lisa Williams gave FAWCO the proceeds so far from our Clean Water Tombola and from the FAWCO Friendship Quilt raffle. No AWCL member won the quilt, which was handed over to the winner at the conference.

 

 

 

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