On March 8, AAFSW hosted a vibrant panel of women in honor of International Women’s Day. This year, the panelists included H.E. Ivonne A-Baki, Ambassador of the Republic of Ecuador to the United States, Madam Angelique Gakoko Pitteloud, and Marion Kavallieros. Each brought their own unique approach to the theme “Global History and Challenges of Women World Leaders”. Below are some highlights from the panel discussions.
Ambassador A-Baki shared that she arrived in politics by mistake. Born to Lebanese parents in Ecuador, she spent her teenage years living in Lebanon. She said in the 1970’s women in the middle east had no voice so she found other ways to express herself, mainly through painting. Through her paintings she showed women had strength through pain and perseverance. While an artist in residence at Harvard, she became in involved in conflict resolution and peace negotiations. She was the only women at the table during the peace negotiations between Ecuador and Peru in 1995 which ended the last war in the Western Hemisphere. Through her successful work during those negotiations, she was selected to be Ambassador to the United States and when she arrived in Washington, DC in 1998, she was one of four women Ambassadors. Fast forward to the year 2020 when she is once again Ambassador to the United States, she is one of 42 women Ambassadors. Ambassador A-Baki stressed that women provide unconditional love, we are multifaced and we are born empowered – we give birth and create future generations. She emphasized the need to put light on others and through leadership, make other leaders in the next generation.
Madame Angelique Gakoko Pitteloud, is a global woman. She was born in Rwanda, fled to Switzerland in the mid 1990’s and where she lived for a number of years. She is married to Jacques Pitteloud, the Swiss Ambassador to the United States. Madame Pitteloud is committed to sharing humanities history and she highlights success stories on equality, human rights and women’s’ rights. Through her work, there is a focus on Africa. Madame Pitteloud referenced the film L’Afrique des femmes (Women’s Africa) which she co-produced – the film highlights women off the beaten track; women making change in politics, economics and education. She stated the continent can and will achieve equality and opportunities for ALL. She continued that dreams keep us going and can shape reality of the future.
Marion Kavallieros, is a Greek academic who grew up in Athens, Greece. During the panel discussion she spoke about Spartan women. In a time when men and women were not viewed equally, Sparta defied other city-states. Sparta with a population of about 10,000 citizens was different – women were equal to men and enjoyed liberties other women in Greece did not. They trained for athletic competition, were encouraged to speak in public and were consulted by men. Spartan women could own property and land and receive inheritance. Spartan women were honored. Ms. Kavallieros asked – what happened? How can we make societies more inclusive? How can women trust their own voices? Through education and respect, women can once again rise to the level of reverence that was once common in Sparta.
As Ambassador A-Baki declared “Everyday should be women’s day”
Happy International Women’s Day!
Monday, December 13, 2021 – Monday, December 20, 2021
AAFSW Fun For Funds Fundraising Chair Joanna Athanasopoulos Owen, PhD would like to thank all the people who donated wonderful items to AAFSW’s first online auction as well as all the people who bid and bought all the donated items and made AAFSW’s first online auction a great success!
Early in November 2021, AAFSW invited its members as well as all the Livelines members and EFM businesses to advertise and receive a tax deduction by donating to AAFSW’s first online auction! This was a great opportunity to support AAFSW, which helps EFM businesses with free advertisement on the first of each month as well as the American Foreign Affairs Community with annual scholarships, financial assistantship to families in crisis, and the presentation of a range of cultural events.
Many people donated a great service (helping people with career planning, provide personal herbal or health workshop, etc.), an amazing experience (tickets to ballet or baseball games, lunch/dinner at an exclusive location, etc.), or a wonderful item (such as art, hand-made clothing, jewelry, carpets, etc.), all of which joined the incredible array of selected AAFSW Art and BookFair rare collection items.
AAFSW is truly grateful for all your remarkable donations and your robust bidding! AAFSW’s first online auction successfully concluded at 11:59 p.m. on Monday, December 20, 2021 — just in time to receive, wrap, and gift all your shopping for the holidays! AAFSW Fun For Funds Committee Chair Joanna Athanasopoulos Owen, PhD would like to thank everyone who contributed to the physical and digital organization and success of AAFSW’s first online auction, especially Nicole Spiridakis, Susan Lee, and all the AAFSW Art and BookFair volunteers, and hopes that you all had great fun supporting AAFSW and its great projects!
Don’t forget: Bid Often! Bid High! Bid Again! It’s good for the heart…
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Joanna Athanasopoulos Owen, PhD
AAFSW Fun For Funds Fundraising Events Committee Chair
On Tuesday, November 10 AAFSW members and friends of AAFSW (including the Ambassador from Guinea, and diplomats and guests from 14 different countries) enjoyed a private tour of the Mexican Cultural Institute in Washington, DC. The Mexican Cultural Institute is housed in a historic building on 16th St, NW and served as the Mexican Embassy from 1921-1989.
The mission of the cultural institute is to share Mexican heritage and culture with people in the United States and those visiting Washington, DC. Murals by Roberto Cuevo del Rio wrap the 4-story staircase and colorfully and thoughtfully share Mexico’s deep history and vibrant culture. A highlight of the tour was the large altar commemorating the Day of the Dead (Dia des los Muertos). This year the altar is dedicated to the people who died from COVID-19 and offered visitors the option to leave notes for their dead.
Through the end of this month there are two special exhibits: Oaxaca, Lo Tiene Todo (Oaxaca, it has everything), an exhibition of Oaxacan art and culture and Hecho en Oaxaca (Made in Oaxaca) featuring Contemporary Oaxacan artists Amador Montes, Sabino Guisu, and Bayrol Jiménez.
If you missed out on AAFSW’s tour this month, I encourage you to visit the Mexican Cultural Institute on your own time. It is free! For more information, check out: https://instituteofmexicodc.org/
The Secretary of State Award for Outstanding Volunteerism Abroad (SOSA) will be presented by AAFSW on Thursday, Nov. 18, from 10:30 to noon along with the Champions of Career Enhancement for EFMs (CCE-EFM) and Lesley Dorman Awards. DACOR, an association of foreign affairs professionals, will present the 2021 Eleanor Dodson Tragen Award. Find out more about the awards here: https://www.aafsw.org/awards/ and http://www.dacorbacon.org/dacor_awards.php
The ceremony will be hosted by DACOR at the historic DACOR-Bacon House, built in 1825, just two blocks from the White House, with a limited number of people present. The event will be live-streamed and recorded using GoToWebinar. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has agreed to present remarks congratulating the winners.
To receive an invitation to attend virtually, please RSVP to email@example.com .
Meet the 2021 Winners
SOSA AF Bureau, Keri E. Dziuban
While posted in Namibia, Keri used her training as an expert in special needs education to turn around a struggling international school. On a volunteer basis, she took extensive action to identify and resolve gaps in the curriculum, improve the physical security of the campus, and recruit a highly qualified Educational Director.
SOSA EAP Bureau, Sean P. Doyle
As a “citizen diplomat” volunteering in Shenyang, Eligible Family Member Sean P. Doyle created and implemented innovative and effective cultural outreach initiatives to the Chinese public, including social media campaigns, in-person events and videos, such as a livestreamed Thanksgiving cooking demonstration that reached nearly one million viewers.
SOSA NEA Bureau, Sari Heidenreich and Layla S. Murphy
Posted as diplomatic family members in Kuwait and the UAE, Sari and Layla (a college junior) supported the repatriation of Sierra Leonean domestic workers who had been trafficked to and/or exploited in Oman. They helped raise nearly $30,000, which supported 43 victims of trafficking and exploitation to see home again; organized repatriations logistics; provided direct education and empowerment to hundreds of women and conducted research to help the international community better understand how to address the underlying issues.
SOSA SCA Bureau, Muliani T. Lyng
During her three-year assignment in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, family member Muliani T. Lyng undertook a broad range of highly impactful efforts, including supporting Embassy families during the pandemic; helping operate a soup kitchen for the needy and summer camps for local children; supporting a fledgling animal shelter; and providing much-needed support to autistic children and their parents at a rehabilitation center.
SOSA WHA Bureau, Janeth Pena-Heredia
Janeth established the English for the Guards program in São Paulo and English for Facilities Staff in Rio de Janeiro to build more inclusive Consulate communities, which created a space for meaningful conversations about systemic racism following the murder of George Floyd. In Rio, she also led the Community Engagement Committee, which supported activities at a local orphanage, organized beach cleanups, and secured food donations for residents of a local community during the COVID-19 pandemic.
SOSA Honorable Mentions
AF Ian Arzeni
Tanzania, Ian Arzeni started a skateboard club and taught 30 young Tanzanians the basics of the sport. Donations from Weekend Skateboards and Nike supported the club with decks and shoes. Skateboarding classes became an excellent diversion and opportunity for young people to learn a new sport.
EAP Jennie Linton
Jennie organized a group of over 40 women in Shanghai China to sew reusable menstrual kits for girls who don’t have adequate supplies in developing countries. These kits allow girls to go to school during their periods. They were able to deliver kits to girls in India and Kenya. She says, “This was a small thing that had a big impact not only on the girls who received them, but on those of us who created them. We felt more gratitude, purpose and connection.”
NEA Team Vaccine
Honorable Mention for the NEA Bureau was awarded to Embassy Amman for its outstanding Vaccine Task Force, in which over 70 volunteers, trained over the weekend, vaccinated more than 1,000 mission personnel against COVID-19 in just 1.5 days.
WHA Amy J. Duhamel
Amy started a volunteer group in Bogotá, Colombia during the pandemic. They provided groceries, baby supplies, warm clothes, blankets and other necessities to locals and Venezuelan refugees who were struggling due to the strict quarantine. The group continues to assist those in need.
Eleanor Dodson Tragen Award, Fabiula Maughan
Fabiula was selected for her innovative and timely efforts to help Mission Brazil address issues of racism and social injustice following the 2020 protests that heightened awareness of these problems in Brazil and in the United States. Fabi’s vehicle for creating enduring change was embRACE, a group of roughly 40 U.S. direct hires and local staff dedicated to promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion. As chairwoman of the embRACE steering committee, Fabi led members through biweekly coordination meetings and created subcommittees to organize consulate-wide activities. Fabi was such a force for positive change that embRACE soon inspired likeminded chapters across Mission Brazil, which now function autonomously, adapting to local realities to promote social justice and equity.
Champions of Career Enhancement for EFMs (CCE-EFM), Timothy Stufft
Eligible Family Member Tim Stufft is an engineer and company vice president who has worked tirelessly to connect his fellow EFMs with remote, private-sector work opportunities in the fields of engineering and defense technology. While posted in Chisinau, he also founded a co-working group for mutual support among EFMs working remotely. His efforts have positively impacted perceptions about the work opportunities for EFMs as they accompany foreign affairs personnel at posts around the world.
Lesley Dorman Award, Cathy Salvaterra
With her husband and three daughters, Cathy served overseas during 17 consecutive years, working as a CLO Coordinator, ESL teacher and human resources professional. In DC, she served as the CLO Program Coordinator at FLO. Upon her retirement in 2003, she became SOSA Chair for AAFSW, establishing first-time SOPs for the program and spearheading the on-line SOSA history project written by Sarah Genton. Since 2004, she has been a key volunteer for AAFSW’s Art and Book Fair, working every week to price donated books and staff the Book Room, as well as volunteering for the annual event.
A SPECIAL ADVENT IN HUNGARY
An Evening of Hungarian Music, Dance, and Delicious Hungarian Food
Sunday, December 5, 2021, at 6:00 pm
At the Hungarian Embassy
The holiday season is almost here. AAFSW and the AAFSW Crisis Fund Committee will celebrate Advent in Hungary on Sunday, December 5, 2021, at 6:00 pm at the Embassy of Hungary located at 3910 Shoemaker Street NW, Washington D.C. 20008.
Join us to enjoy the hospitality of his Excellency Ambassador Szabolcs Takács, the Ambassador of Hungary to the United States, and celebrate the holiday season and the traditions of Christmas in the beautiful country of Hungary. What better way to give and show our support to those in crisis, than to enjoy a lovely evening in Hungarian style, with music, delicious buffet dinner, and dance!
As an extra season’s gift, AAFSW and the AAFSW Crisis Fund Committee will be auctioning another special event: a formal dinner for 14 people offered by his Excellency Ambassador Jacques Pitteloud, the Swiss Ambassador to the United States, and Mrs. Pitteloud at their residence in late January 2022 / early February 2022 (TBD).
The cost for this extraordinary evening is $100.00 per person for AAFSW members and $125.00 per person for non-members (final cost includes a small processing fee). There is limited space, so register as soon as possible.
Please, RSVP by Saturday, December 2, 2021 to: firstname.lastname@example.org or buy a ticket here: https://www.aafsw.org/event/gala-dinner-at-the-hungarian-embassy/
If you have any questions please contact our office manager Barbara Reioux at email@example.com or call 703-820-5420
We look forward to seeing you.
Sheila Switzer, AAFSW Program Chair