President’s Message July 2020

Dear Ladies

As social distancing continues, we are finding new ways to keep in touch and to keep our minds active whilst enjoying some very good interactive events. We are spending more and more time communicating online via these new mediums.

In April, Eric Yuan helped 300 million people to connect online. We were amongst those he helped to stay connected. Eric, is the 50 year old Chinese-American founder of Zoom. In Chinese, his name is most auspicious, it being the name of the Chinese denomination of money, the Yuan. The currency being RMB. Eric is based in Silicon Valley and his workforce is in china. He is currently estimated to be worth $10 billion. Let’s hope he uses his powerful position for good.

In contrast to Eric’s huge success with Zoom, I recently enquired into Kew Gardens reopening plans. I want to visit the North Gallery again to see the magnificent paintings by Marianne North (1830-1890).

Marianne was born in Hastings. Her Father was a member of Parliament and she met many famous people including Charles Darwin who encouraged her to visit Australia, New Zealand and Hawaii. She was an intrepid traveller and would go off the beaten track to find something special, on many occasions placing herself in great danger.  Her paintings of flowers, birds, and insects are exquisite showing detail and colours we would capture on a professional camera today. Marianne’s Asian-inspired gallery is filled with wonderfully vivid botanical paintings exactly as she had arranged them, and not entirely without an interesting fight! Kew Gardens is now open (with restrictions) and hopefully, North Gallery will be opening again soon.

I was delighted that so many of you joined us for our FIWAL AGM on June 9th. I commend those clubs who have already offered online events and encourage others to join in. In any club or association it is the members who matter. A lot of discussion and organisation goes on in the background to provide attractive and interesting programmes.

As we have had the experience of setting up and successfully running online events through ‘@ Home with FIWAL’  we will be happy to support you in getting started and sharing your events, and can be contacted at

We enjoyed a number of Zoom events during June including:

The Iranian Women’s Association (IWA) featuring Pia Stanchina, life and business coach to female leaders.

Association of Spouses of African High Commissioners and Ambassadors in UK (ASAHCA) : Maintaining a Physical and Mental Well-being in Times of Crisis. The session was informative and supportive and I’m sure many gained the benefits.

The American Women’s Club of London (AWC): James Oseland on his book “World Food: Mexico City” demonstrating delicious and easy recipes. Food and cooking always attracts a good audience inspiring us to be more creative, adventurous and experimental.

I am happy to announce that Mary Jane Eckert will be heading up Membership.

As you know, it is the aim of FIWAL to promote and broaden friendships and understanding between our member clubs. A key benefit of being a member is the networking with other clubs to share experiences, exchange ideas, make new friends, and experience cultures other than their own at social and cultural events. So over the summer months don’t hesitate to send an email to another club member seeking advice, asking for help or just saying hello. The FIWAL Directory is a great resource for this as is DATELINE.

We will continue to strive to enhance existing membership and bring new women’s associations into the family. Our newest member, the European Women’s Association UK (EWA) was voted on board at the AGM. We extend a very warm welcome to Dr. Inna Maks and her team.

If you have any questions, some new ideas or need help with anything Membership related please email Mary Jane at

I wish you all a very good Summer, and hope that Covid-19 will become less intrusive in our lives as we anticipate more freedom to travel and share time with friends and family.

Warm Regards,

Siobhan Hamilton-Phillips
President FIWAL

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