Passport Power


At the start of the new year, Barbara Rubio and Ann Diederich took a fresh look at the Passport to the Future program. Ann, an educator who joined AWIU in October 2021,works with middle and high school students to help them define their passions and find their voices as volunteers to support many school and outreach activities. Who better to co-chair the Passport Committee?

The new Passport Committee has three Passports on board, and big plans ahead to enlarge and enliven the program. AWIU consultant Miranda Cohen has produced a draft plan to steward the development of a defined Passport program, with a set application period, a service period, and projects each Passport will complete in the course of one year.

Passports also have more social opportunities now. A new monthly Passport Networking Forum takes place on the second Saturday of each month. The March forum, the third this year, featured immediate past president Tatiana Gfoeller who talked about the practicalities of foreign service with an audience of young women who aspire to a career like hers.

The committee has already introduced ways in which Passports can work with AWIU members and be mentored by them while building skills for their future careers. For Be a Reporter for AWIU, Passport Sophie McNally wrote an article on Hope Revival Children’s Organization’s grant history with AWIU for this issue of Connections; Passports Leah Rullman, Michaela Sabbag, and Kati Vera produced a video on Frida Kahlo for International Women’s Day, and Passport Mary Apollo saluted Dr. Arikana Chihombori-Quao in her video for this project. Meanwhile, Chun-Chieh Lin is heading a Teach English to Nepali Schoolchildren project, currently working with Passport Catie Sabbag. Eunice Reddick is co-chairing a Career Opportunities in International Relations (COIR) Symposium organizational effort and will be looking to Passports to provide valuable outreach at their respective high schools and universities. Eunice will soon issue a timeline to illustrate project phases and help Passports plan their involvement accordingly for this fall, 2022 event in Washington, D.C.

There’s also an opportunity for Passports to research past International Women of Courage, assemble a contact database for them, and assist AWIU with bringing these undaunted women into the spotlight.

Ann Diederich works with her students on a blog where they share their school projects and ideas with other students. The committee will draw on her expertise to develop a Passport blog on the AWIU website. “The idea is the same,” says Ann. “Passports will be able to share their projects and causes with other Passports, connect with AWIU mentors, and participate in an online community where they interact with others in AWIU and display visuals, text, and video in an appealing and easy to access manner. The blog becomes a portfolio piece for each Passport, and demonstrates ongoing work, which is extremely helpful when applying for scholarships, internships and jobs.”

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