President’s Message November 2020

Dear Ladies

October has been unforgiving recently with gale force winds and a sudden drop in temperature accompanied by an early introduction to the winter months ahead. As if this wasn’t enough to contend with, the death toll of the Corona virus has passed one million. It is a shock and a huge disappointment to be entering a more severe Lockdown than already experienced. However most of us don’t have an option. The disruption in our lives, in education, in work and day to day activities touches people in many different ways. Our children and grandchildren will remember this ‘episode’ in their lives as an extraordinary time when astronauts can get to the International Space Station (ISS) in 3.5hrs and to the moon and beyond, yet at the same time we are being held hostage to a life form we can only see through an electron microscope. 

Against the emerging tension of impending lockdown, women are very adept at dealing with disruption. In general we don’t need a rule book, we tend to use our instinct on a day to day basis. We pepper our language with ”I felt it was the right thing to do” “I knew in my heart I should avoid it” etc. For the larger issues we may want ‘evidence’ but we often use this as backup. This is a time to see what decisions we can make to enhance our lives as we adapt to the challenge ahead and look forward to enjoying life on Zoom. Start with the events on offer this month through the FIWAL network of member clubs. It’s a lovely way to keep in touch.

Congratulations to Caroline Muir a Fiwal Past President and a member of the Advisory Committee. Caroline was honoured with the ‘Freeman of the City of London’ in October. This is in recognition of her many good works here in London since retirement from the Diplomatic Service, and those overseas. She was a hardworking diplomatic spouse for 38 years accompanying and supporting her husband throughout their postings in the Middle East, and keeping the flag flying for this country. Caroline joins a list of distinguished women, one of whom is Florence Nightingale who received the honour at the beginning of the 20th century. Well done, Caroline.

Join us for a wonderful event of music on 24th November to Mozart 250 The Journey of a Lifetime with acclaimed Conductor Ian Page, who has encouraged many young, wonderful, singers to reach reach audiences here and abroad.

Another special date for your diary; FIWAL Christmas Carols Concert on December 16th. which will be hosted by musician and composer Alla Sirenko of the Ukrainian Cultural Association (UCA UK). The Association became a member of FIWAL at our recent AGM. I hope you will join me in extending a warm welcome to our UCA -UK.
This month is Diwali, the festival of lights. May all those members taking part in this joyous occasion with family and friends enjoy the celebrations, even thought it may have to be a ‘virtual’ celebration this year.

Warm regards,


Siobhan Hamilton-Phillips
FIWAL President

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