President’s Message October 2020

Dear Ladies,

Life is precious, yet today the death toll due to the Corona virus has passed one million.

Many of us have had to make  the necessary adjustments to conform to the rules and regulations on social distancing due to Covid-19 with its unpredictability. These are trying times with a great deal of tension and sadness in our society accompanied by the inability to plan ahead with confidence.

We are fortunate to have FIWAL with our wide variety of member clubs to keep in touch with on line, literally at our fingertips. This facility of sharing information and interests, supporting members in times of stress and enjoying chat groups is a bonus and a shield from isolation.

This new prime way of communication was brought home to me when I joined the panel of the Diplomatic Spouse Networks at the annual Embassy Induction eForum on 23rd September. The programme was expertly headed up by Elizabeth Stewart, Editorial and programme director of Embassy Magazine and Events. The opening address was given by the Doyenne of the Diplomatic Corps, Mme Dalal Al Duwaisan.

Many of the new Diplomatic spouses who had arrived in London to take up their new appointments  went straight from the airport into lock down. Those who had young children found it daunting and had some interesting stories to tell including situations when metaphorically ‘climbing walls’ was all part of surviving. They are, as you can imagine, an intrepid group, who face various challenges in their move from one culture to another, Covid -19 added a significant new dimension to adjusting to their new life.

As I am not attending a myriad of events due to the pandemic, I have had little to report and therefore I have written each month about exceptional women. This month I would like to pay tribute to Ruth Bader Ginsburg the US Supreme Court Judge who died on 19th of September age 87.  The daughter of Jewish immigrants, she struggled against sexism for decades. She graduated top of her class at Columbia Law School but received no job offers. She recognised her three barriers and said; “I was Jewish, a woman and a mother.” She joined the top US court in 1993 where she continued to advocate for equality. Despite her struggle, she retained her sense of humour and once said that there would be enough women on the nine-seat Supreme court “when there are nine” Having served for almost three decades, she became part of the liberal wing of the court. She was the only female justice on the Supreme Court from 1993 to 2009. She was an advocate for Gender equality and as a voice for women’s rights, civil liberty, and a forceful voice on the rule of law.

This week please do sign up for our @Home with FIWAL on Thursday 1st October 10.30am. Due to an emergency, Emma Clark has had to cancel and there is a change of programme to the Beirut Garden of Forgiveness. Our speaker is Alexandra Asseily; Governor and founder for The Centre for Lebanese Studies. The event is free with optional donation towards charities involved with Beirut Emergency Appeals. Emma has offered to give her talk in Spring 2021. I look forward to seeing those of you who can join us on  Zoom.

Warm regards,

Siobhan Hamilton-Phillips
President FIWAL

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