Wednesday, April 19th the AWIU in conjunction with the U.S. Department of State hosted the third annual Career Opportunities for International Relations Symposium. The initial program convened in the Loy Henderson Auditorium. After registration AWIU President Carol Lopez welcomed the more than 150 women to the event. Shawna Thomas of Vice News then proceeded moderate the Women Impacting the World Conversation.  Ambassador Linda Thomas Greenfield, a Senior Fellow at Georgetown University’s Institute for the Study of Diplomacy, Dr. Jacqueline Wilson, Principal, Civic Fusion International, along with Sheila Crowley, Acting Director of the Peace Corps shared their personal insights and experiences as professionals in the realm of global interactions.

The second phase of the program was the Interagency Panel. Retired, Senior Foreign Service Officer, Ramona Harper moderated the panel including Noreen Jameel of Vice Media, Naomi Pizaro of the National Endowment for Democracy, Evelyn Rodriguez-Perez of USAID, Andi Gitow of the United Nations Information Center, and Desiree M. Cormier of the Albright Stonebridge Group. Beyond the personal testimonies shared by the panelists, guest were able to ask questions of both panels and engage on an even deeper level. After a short break, guest met alongside the panelists in the Exhibit Hall for lunch. Keynote Speaker Melanne Verveer, the Executive Director of Georgetown Institution for Women and Peace and Security, spoke on her work on foreign policy initiatives as well, her experience traveling to nearly 60 countries to promote the economic advancement and social elevation of women and girls around the world. Guest later received a copy of Fast Forward: How Women Can Achieve Power and Purpose, a book co-authored by Melanne Verveer. Guest then broke out into groups the Networking/ Mentor groups where they met with professionals who were experts in their given fields. COIR founder and AWIU member Diane Mitchell Henry along with Co-Chair Judy Torres, a Recruiter for the U.S. Department of State gave closing remarks followed by a tour of the U.S. Diplomacy Center.

On March 29th, First Lady Melania Trump and Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas A. Shannon presented the 2017 Secretary of State’s International Women of Courage (IWOC) Award to a group of extraordinary women from around the world on March 29 at the State Department. “It was be my great honor to share a stage with these amazing women. Each of the award recipients has overcome incredible odds in her pursuit to change the world and make it better,” said First Lady Melania Trump. “As women, we must continue to stand together with the steadfast goal of making our world safer through acts of collaborative and individual bravery. As we all know, wherever women are diminished, the entire world is diminished with them.” Many of the women honored this year are advocates for victims of gender-based violence.

A contingent of American Women for International Understanding members and guests were at the State Department for the ceremony. Attending the event from AWIU: Jing Boa; Carolyn Johnson; Linda Kukler; Diane McGlinchey; Cynthy Moffatt; Gayle Graham Morin; Marsha Anderson- Niazmand; Barbara Rubio; Maggie Sabbag; Mary Schammel, Louise Simone Schoene; Maria Schory; Laura Schuldt and Ann Tonks. Invited guests included IWOC Celebration Honorary Committee members Ambassador Tatiana Gfoeller and Karen Chevalier of US News & World Reports. Mary Schammel, an AWIU member and IWOC Celebration Liaison to the Department of State said, “It was a wonderful and inspiring day.”

AWIU looks forward to welcoming the the 2017 International Women of Courage to our tenth annual Celebration in Los Angeles on April 6th at the Jonathan Club in downtown Los Angeles. The Honorary Chair is Mellody Hobson, President of Ariel Investments and an advocate for women, the arts and education. We are pleased to announce that all the International Women of Courage will be introduced by Betty Bernstein-Zabza, Senior Advisor and Director Office of Global Women’s Issues, United States Department of State. AWIU will also honor Anita DeFrantz, an Executive Board member of the International Olympic Committee and an advocate for gender equality and parity in global sports. Ms. DeFrantz is also being honored for her work to end slavery around the world.

The American Women for International Understanding is honored to announce that the 2017 Internationalism Award recipient is Anita DeFrantz, an Olympian and member of the International Olympic Committee who is an advocate for equality and opportunity for women through sports, both in the United States and across the globe. The AWIU Internationalism Award is presented to individuals who have addressed concerns and issues facing women worldwide. The commitment and work of the individuals have set them apart by every standard. Recipients have exhibited international support for women’s issues and contributed to worldwide understanding, raised awareness of global concerns, and fostered and encouraged cross-cultural dialogue. AWIU will present the Internationalism Award at the International Women of Courage Celebration in Los Angeles on April 6, 2017.

Ms. DeFrantz is a member of the International Olympic Committee and the IOC Executive Board. She serves on the Juridical Commission of the IOC, which is made up of lawyers, and on the Finance Commission, which reviews the investments and spending plans.

Before she joined the ranks of the IOC, DeFrantz captained the U.S. women’s rowing team and rowed in the eight that won a bronze medal at the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games. DeFrantz served as Vice President of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee and was elected to IOC membership in 1986, making her not only the first African-American but also the first American woman to serve on the committee.

In 1987, DeFrantz began her 28-year role stewarding the legacy of 1984 LA Games as president of the LA84 Foundation, which received 40% of the 1984 proceeds. Over the past 30 years, the LA84 Foundation has invested more than $225 million to support more than 2,000 youth sports organizations, and it continues to provide Los Angeles youth with recreation and sports opportunities.

In 1992, she was elected a member of the IOC Executive Board. In 1997, she became the organization’s first female vice president, a position she held until 2001. From 1989-1994 she served on the IOC’s Summer Program Commission, which determines which sports will be included in Olympic competition. In 1995, she became chair of the IOC’s Women and Sports Commission. She is credited with getting women’s softball and soccer added to the Olympic ticket.

Currently, she is president of the Tubman Truth Corp., an organization working to provide liberty and justice for all people trapped in slavery and human trafficking.  She also serves on LA 2024, the Los Angeles bid committee for the 2024 summer Olympic Games, as the LA 2024 Senior Adviser for Legacy.

DeFrantz received her B.A. from Connecticut College and a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School. She has received numerous honorary degrees and awards for her contributions to international sports, gender equity and creating a level playing field for athletes at home and globally.

Awiu In Collaboration With U.S. Department of State Presents 3rd Annual Symposium on Career Opportunities for International Relations

American Women for International Understanding (AWIU) in collaboration with the U.S. Department of State (DOS) will present its 3rd Annual AWIU Career Opportunities for International Relations (COIR) Symposium on April 19, 2017 at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C.

The AWIU COIR Symposium gives young women an opportunity to learn about international careers and meet with contemporary global leaders. AWIU and DOS COIR committee members are excited about offering another year of notable keynote speakers, panelists, recruiters and career facilitators representing government agencies, NGO’s, corporate, sports, media and the arts.

Plans are underway to host 200 high school seniors, college and young professional women for this invitational event. Youth participants will have the opportunity to network, gain knowledge and information about international careers and internships, interface with recruiters and engage in discussions with other youth about their personal global experiences and journeys. Materials and lunch will be provided. There is no charge to attend the COIR Symposium.

The prominent African American Scientist, Inventor, and Botanist George Washington Carver once said, ‘Where there is no vision, there is no hope.” Joyce Nkausu, the Grocer had a vision to start her own business. She opened a Cantemba (Grocery Store) in Kanakantepa. With initial funding from the Los Angeles-Lusaka Sister City Committee (LALSCC) Joyce was able to turn her vision into a reality. Joyce applied for a microloan from the LALSCC and committed herself to the criteria of mentorship, training, responsibility, and paying it forward. The Women’s Entrepreneurship Microfinance Program was conceptualized by Dr. Earnestine Thomas-Robertson, President/Chair of the LALSCC. Under her leadership and Ms. Lidia Mongerie-Brown, Project Director, a committed and exceptional member of the LALSCC, Joyce was trained about more importantly mentored. With Ms. Mongerie-Brown’s guidance, Joyce was able to pay the loan back and pay it forward, a true testament to the qualifying criteria of LLSCC and mentorship of Ms. Lidia Mongerie-Brown. Initially the day to day operations were challenging, her husband had to ride his bicycle (5 kilometers) from Kanakantepa where her store is located to Chongwe and back to replenish the goods for Joyce’s Cantemba. Certainly, the entrepreneur was constantly concerned and hopeful that her husband did not get a flat tire along the way, and finding it harder, with goods in hand, on the way back than on the way in order to collect goods. Although the journey was arduous, the journey was necessary to the vision. Her progress continued in spite of the challenges at Barclay’s Bank. Her journey and the vision elevated to a far more significant level in 2016 with the support of the American Women for International Understanding (AWIU) Organization.

In 2016 Ms. Mongerie-Brown returned to Lusaka to continue with the work of the LLSCC, part of that work was to reevaluate the progress of Ms. Joyce Nkausu and her grocery store. Over time Joyce had made, paid back, and saved enough Kwacha ($) to restock her Cantemba every six weeks rather than every two to three weeks, saving time, money and managing a far more efficient business. With a funding augmentation from AWIU in 2016, Joyce Nkausu (the Grocer), at 24 years of age, was able to hire a Van to transport a far more substantial amount of purchased products increasing inventory with a longer shelf life. This freed up and further increased her husband’s capacity to redirect his energy into growing more fresh vegetables to sell and reduce the need for frequent travel to Chongwe to obtain staple goods and vegetables to sell. This augmentation for entrepreneurial improvement allowed for more profit for the Cantemba, conserving time and increasing the labor efficiency. Thus, fewer bike rides, less worry about safety carrying items on the bike for Joyce. Joyce the grocer by way of her vision, along with her husband and two children, has become a mainstay entrepreneur in her community. As she has done before, Joyce is expected to have completed repayment of her AWIU fund by in September of 2017. It should be noted that Barclays’ Bank policy regarding minimum balances have changed. Joyce was a victim of that policy change, but struggled through it with sparkling success. You will read more about that later when we tell you about the new Seamstress/Dressmaker. Ms. Joyce has extended an invitation to AWIU and LA-Lusaka to visit her Cantemba any time.

In 2011 the Los Angeles-Lusaka Sister City Committee’s Women’s Entrepreneurship Program funded a startup business for Ms.Dorothy Kasongo, a skilled dressmaker in the Matero area of Lusaka, Zambia. Ms. Kasongo’s microloan funded a Sewing Enterprise. With the initial funds she purchased a sewing machine, fabric and filled requests from where she found her initial market, the home of her faith, the church. She cut patterns, designed garments, hemmed clothing, and made apparel for members of her church. There are still places in the world where people think that it is important to present themselves’ well dressed in a place of worship. Ms. Dorothy, however, also designs clothes and sews garments for all dress occasions.

Once again following the criteria of the LLSCC, the training program set forth, paying forward on her microloan in a timely fashion so yet another woman in Lusaka could benefit from the turnover of funds. Ms. Dorothy is another success. She was able to train and hire staff to cut patterns, hem clothing, mend and alter clothing, in effect she created a couple of permanent jobs and about 11 revolving jobs, all becoming integral to the success and sustainability of her enterprise and the Women’s Entrepreneurship Program designed by the Los Angeles-Lusaka Sister City Committee. Ms. Dorothy has become an invaluable touchstone for her church and the community. Her first bank account was opened at Barclays Bank upon receipt of the microloan in 2011. She paid her loan back in 2013 opening an avenue so a new partner would be able to participate in 2016.

Ms. Dorothy’s success paved the way for another Seamstress to turn her Sewing Skills into an established business and training program funded by AWIU. Her name is Elizabeth Myambi. Mrs. Myambi started out sewing by hand some years ago and later secured an old used sewing machine. Ms. Elizabeth used her AWIU funds to purchase an upgraded Sewing Machine and to purchase a stock of popular fabrics to design and sew apparel for work, school, and church venues. With the new Sewing Machine, Ms. Elizabeth has committed to training three young ladies is the art, skill, and business Of dressmaking, patterns, hemming and mending garments. In two years we expect one of the three Trainees to go into business and hire one Assistant Seamstress. A photo of Ms. Elizabeth can be found in the AWIU Photo Album provided for your records. A receipt for funds she received can be provided if you like for each AWIU recipient. The new Bank Policy at Barclays Bank has changed, so all Los Angeles-Lusaka Projects are processed through one umbrella Account now in the name of Mrs. Bulawayo, our local Point Person with oversight for all Microfinance Projects in Lusaka Zambia. Print outs from the bank will be sent to me. All repayment funds go into that one account as the new requirements indicate there must be a minimum balance of $ I ,000 Kwacha and the name of a Sponsor must be on the Account. The LA-Lusaka Team had to rethink how to maintain the account minimum balance while the women could still have working capital to carry on their businesses. The Bank, for lack of a nicer term, seized the little money some of the ladies had in their individual accounts since they often had such a miniscule minimum balance. We had to come up with another way around that block.

In a 2016 Partnership the American Women for International Understanding (AWIU) organization and the Los Angeles-Lusaka Sister City Committee developed a Goat Farm in Lusaka, Zambia via the Women’s Entrepreneurship Program (Micro Finance). Starting from scratch, the farm was built to include a facility to house the goats on land specifically for that purpose. A block wall and fencing was erected with AWIU funds to ensure some boundaries on the land where the goats would have extensive room to roam, yet confined to some degree, to minimize loss and theft. AWIU funds were also used to purchase one male goat and six female goats. The hope is that this Goat Farm will be a source that produces milk, cheese, and meat as gauged by the local market. The farm can be a valuable part of a sustainable environment. Goats can also be used for control of weeds and brush to help utilize a pasture’s diversity. Three women partners share this Microfinance Project. They are Ms. Anna Festers Zulu (who is also a Cook),

Ms. Mable Chansa, and Ms. Cleopatra Mumba, under the supervision of Mrs. Mary Bulawayo who oversees this project and the land. Working in a cleaning/maintenance capacity on the Goat Farm is Mr.Stephan. Ms. Zulu, Ms. Chansa, and Ms. Mubma will focus on this project and bring it to complete fruition as they now wait for the goats to reproduce and multiply. Photos in the AWIU Photo Album will show start to finish of the project, including goats purchased and the shack built for mating/breeding.. -understood. The temporary sign will be done more professionally when we can afford it. But for now the sign reads LA-LU SC and AWIU GOAT Farm. Repayment is expected to be completed by October of 2018.

In a separate area, but on the same piece of land on Tokyo Way in Lusaka, is the AWIU funded Chicken Farm. This farm is the second Chicken Farm endeavor for the Los Angeles-Lusaka Sister City Committee. Ms. Sharon Phiri is the Entrepreneur of this Chicken Farm with dual funding from AWIU and LA-Lusaka. As one will see from the Power Point presentation and photos, Feeding Containers for the Chickens have been installed and Ms. Phiri is expected to complete repayment of her loan in one year, October of 2017 whereas the Three Goat Farm Entrepreneur Partnership is expected to complete repayment in two years, October of 2018. These Broiler Chickens will sell at Tuesday Marketplace, a local Cantemba (Grocery Store), and also supply a local

Restaurant. The Chickens were not purchased in August when Lidia arrived as there was an epidemic with Chickens coming from China. So the Vet advised that we wait and we did. Chickens were purchased prior to Lidia leaving in October.

Again, with AWIU funds, a small sustainable Agribusiness Farm is being developed. From the photos in the AWIU Album, one can see how the land has been cleared, graded off, and you can see Mr. Zimba, the Helper to the the Entrepreneur herself. The emphasis of this business is on leafy green vegetables. Instead of two women, we found it necessary to engage the services of one man, Mr. Zimba in that Ms. Grace could not plow and plot the Ian necessary to plant the vegetables. She can plant, dig with a shovel, work with the hoe and other garden tools, but not the plowing and plotting required to have a successful farm/agribusiness. When the crops produce, there will be additional (seasonal and evolving) jobs for picking, cleaning, and distributing produce.

In the AWIU Photo Album is a letter and photo of our second to the youngest of our Entrepreneurs, Ms. Hellen Chanda. Los Angeles-Lusaka Sister City Committee’s Women’s Entrepreneur Program first funded Ms. Hellen in 2013. She has already demonstrated initiative and determination as she had a small business selling scones at Tuesday Marketplace in 2011, Lusaka, Zambia. LA-LUSSC funded her first expansion and improvement in 2013. AWIU funded her business expansion in 2016. The funding was in perfect time for Ms. Hellen to increase business and thereby profits to feed and school three adopted orphans. Ms. Hellen is the Eggs and Potatoes Entrepreneur. With AWIU funds she has added Chicken and Chips to her menus at the Tuesday Marketplace. Her Food Stand provides popular quick and healthy dishes every Tuesday. She purchases the eggs from another vendor who is in the business of Chickens and now she is buying chickens and preparing that dish and fries at the Food Stand she started in 2011. In addition to taking on the responsibility to feed orphans and sending them to school, Ms. Hellen has created, at least 5 jobs since 2013 and is now helping her Sister Naomi develop a store to sell apparel.

We thank American Women For International Understanding (AWIU) for the grant -it promises to be an excellent international endeavor in partnership with the Los Angeles-Lusaka Sister Committee.

Submitted -Dr. Earnestine Thomas Robertson, Los Angeles-Lusaka Sister City Committee/ Osaka City Club

Mellody Hobson is president of Ariel Investments. Headquartered in Chicago, the firm offers six no-load mutual funds for individual investors and defined contribution plans as well as separately managed accounts for institutions and high net worth individuals. As president, Mellody is responsible for firm-wide management and strategic planning, overseeing all operations outside of research and portfolio management. Additionally, she serves as chairman of the board of trustees for Ariel Investment Trust.

Beyond her work at Ariel, Mellody has become a nationally recognized voice on financial literacy and investor education. She is a regular contributor and analyst on finance, the markets and economic trends for CBS News. She also contributes weekly money tips on the Tom Joyner Morning Show and pens a regular column for Black Enterprise magazine. As a passionate advocate for investor education, she is a spokesperson for the Ariel/Hewitt Study: 401(k) Plans in Living Color and the Ariel Black Investor Survey, both of which examine investing patterns among minorities.

Mellody is a director of The Estée Lauder Companies Inc. and Starbucks Corporation. Her community outreach includes serving as chairman of After School Matters, a non-profit that provides Chicago teens with high-quality, out-of-school time programs. She is a board member of The Chicago Public Education Fund, George Lucas Education Foundation, Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, and Sundance Institute, where she has been appointed emeritus trustee. She is also a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and serves on the executive committee of the Investment Company Institute’s board of governors. In 2015, Mellody was named to Time Magazine annual list of the one hundred most influential people in the world. Mellody earned her AB from Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of International Relations and Public Policy. She has also received honorary doctorate degrees from Howard University, St. Mary’s College and the University of Southern California.

As the 2017 Honorary Committee Chair, Ms. Hobson succeeds previous Chairs Lesley Stahl, Katie Couric and Cokie Roberts.

AWIU Provides A Grant To HVWA To Help Create Self Employment To Underprivileged Women Through Tailoring Program

Through AWIU’s grant, HVWA identified disadvantaged women and girls in Amalapuram, and its surrounding villages of East Godavari district in the state of Andhra Pradesh, India and surveyed in these villages to create sustainable livelihoods.

Training will be provided in tailoring skills to several batches of 10 women and girls. In the 6 months of training, women learn the cutting, different types of stitching, blouses cutting, uniforms designing, inner wear preparation, different types of embroidery techniques, etc. AWIU’s grant enabled HVWA’s skill development training center to provide sewing machines along with required raw material. HVWA is also thankful to its volunteers for their active role. An assessment of the progress and impact of this project will be made at the end of six month training in 2017.

AWIU Grant Report From Shuru Calcutta, A Sister Organization Of Hope In Life Foundation and Flight To Harmony Foundation

Purpose of project: Empowerment of women and children inside correctional homes via art therapy because everyone deserves a second chance! Typically all day Art Workshops not only enable inmates to release their pent up anger and frustration through the medium of art, they also have the opportunity to enhance their communication and presentation skills. For children born inside prison, who can legally live with their mothers up till the age of 7 in India, an art workshop is a day to have fun with colors, drawing books, and friends, to showcase their recitation of poetry and their school grade knowledge.

Background: The project in India was collaboratively delivered by Shuru Kolkata, the sister organization of Hope in Life Foundation and Flight to Harmony Foundation. The project was facilitated by West Bengal Department of Correctional Services under the leadership of Director General & Inspector General, Mr. Arun Kumar Gupta. Flight to Harmony Foundation founder, Mr. Chitta Dey started working with prisoners some 8 years ago and hasn’t looked back since. The project was funded by a grant from American Women for International Understanding. The trio (Mr. A.K. Gupta, Mr. Chitta Dey and Mrs.Rupsi Burman) successfully delivered their 1st project last year in December.

Current project: Women in Correctional Homes in Kolkata get a lot of support to develop skills they can use upon release from prison. For e.g. the food that was supplied during the project was prepared by prisoners who were professionally trained to cook and present like they would if they worked at a restaurant. Another e.g. sample baked items shared during the workshop were prepared by prisoners inside the prison bakery. Prisoners get encouraged to lead a good life when they receive appreciation from strangers about the quality of the work they produce. They carry these moments in their hearts as they serve their sentence. These lighter and beautiful moments help them model good behavior. These moments give them hope of a life outside prison.

Piggery Project Training Report

Mitooma Women’s Dignity foundation (MIWODIF) received funding from American Women For International Understanding (AWIU) to support Mitooma Women’s Dignity Foundation piggery project. The management of MIWODIF has started conducting piggery farming training for its beneficiaries. The training was officiated by the town clerk Mitooma town council and the sub county chief Mitooma.

The beneficiaries who attended the training were chairpersons and secretaries of MIWODIF VSLA group members, who will then train their members in their respective groups. The participants who attended were 60 in number.

Training content:
The members were trained in the following: Pig house construction, feeding, saw management, piglet management, disease control among others.

Members appreciated AWIU for its support and funding. The members were able to come up with the monitoring committee that will work with MIWODIF staff to ensure that they purchase quality piglets. The committee will monitor and supervise the management of pigs given to the beneficiary that will enable sustainability.

by Amutuhairwe Rhonah, Project Officer

About Mitooma Women Dignity Foundation:
Mitooma Women Dignity Foundation (MIWODIF) is a voluntary, Non- Profit, Local Non- Governmental organization operating in Mitooma District with activities including: Mobilization health, nutrition and household hygiene, women econ, empowerment, sensitization on HIV/AIDS. Human rights advocacy voluntary counseling and documentation and research. Mission: To promote human development among women in Mitooma district for sustainable community development. Vision: Having a healthy community that meets its perceived needs with ease.

MIWODIF has extensive programs towards protection of human rights through basically advocacy, creation of awareness and prevention on violence against women as an action to end gender based violence(GBV). Child protection is also their focus as they are part of the vulnerable group of the community.

AWIU provided a grant to Melel Xojobal for a project that will help obtain birth certificates for children from birth to seventeen who were born in small villages of Chiapas, Mexico. Young girls cannot qualify for basic rights, such as school registration without a birth certificate but most are from families that don’t have the resources to deal with the official steps needed to obtain one. Melel Xojobal helps them do so. AWIU delegation visited Melel Xojobal in 2015 and was very impressed with its mission and work.

Melel Xojobel is a children’s rights group. The streets of San Cristobal are full of young children selling handicrafts. Memel Xojobel’s goals are: reducing the risks of the street such as car accidents, seasonal illnesses and child trafficking; educating about rights; helping children enter and remain in school. They also have a day care program and an early education project.

About Melel Xojobel:
Melel Xojobal (“True Light” in the Tsotsil Mayan language) is a Civil Association (NGO) founded in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas in 1997 by Dominican friars and lay people. We work in the state of Chiapas with indigenous girls, boys and young people from 0 to 20 years of age who live in conditions of poverty, marginalization and social exclusion. The essence of our work is the promotion and defense of children and young people’s human rights, through educational activities that improve their quality of life.

Melel Xojobal works in a participatory manner to promote indigenous cultural identity, to defend human rights, to strengthen personal dignity, to ensure that justice and liberty are respected, and that the participation of all is ensured regardless of race, gender, creed, religious affiliation or ideology. We believe education is a fundamental means by which people exercise self-determination and become the authors of their own history.

The educational work that they undertake concentrates on prevention and maintains a child welfare and human rights focus. This work is based on the principles of popular education and constructivism and uses as its principal theoretical and methodological references, amongst others, the works of Freire, Vygotsky, Gross, and Deval. The principal themes of our work include: the rights of girls, boys, and indigenous young people; participation; education; healthy lifestyles; social inclusion; addiction; violence; and discrimination.