President’s Message August 2021


Dear FIWAL Friends,

With the high success rate of the vaccination programme in the UK and as restrictions lift, it is good to hear that Member Clubs are starting to plan some live physical events. One of the first, live events was held on the 2nd July by the Ukrainian Cultural Association UK. It was a concert at St.John’s Notting Hill Church in London. UCA-UK President, Alla Sirenko performed with the Ukrainian vocal ensemble Vivo and violinist, Orpheus Leander (see photo below) All in aid of Ukrainian orphans. It was a great success and memorable evening for both the performers and audience to finally perform live! You can find out more from their website : www.ucauk.com

Lovely to also hear from FIWAL Past President, Caroline Muir, of the success of The Women’s Council online events. On 14th July, they held another of their regular Zoom drop-in coffee and quiz events. Jenny Habib produced yet another masterpiece of a Fine Arts Quiz, aided by the wonderful photographs show-cased by Rajni Rijal’s tech expertise. A very successful morning, where attendees enjoyed testing their knowledge and adding to it.

The pandemic has highlighted to us the pros and cons of online virtual events and meetings. Most of FIWAL’s MemberClubs have embraced online technology and have been very successful at engaging their membership during this difficult time. Although it has meant that meetings are easier to organise and it has allowed more involvement from all over UK and the world, we have missed meeting ‘face to face” and the advantages of personal connections. Do you plan to continue to do online events?  Looking to the future, the FIWAL executive will be considering how we can combine both online and real events into our schedule. If you do have any thoughts on this, please do email me at : president@fiwal.org.uk.

We are very excited to be organising FIWAL’s first live physical event in nearly 18 months, the Autumn Lunch on 21st September 2021 hosted kindly by Mrs Maha Ben Khedher spouse of the Ambassador of the Republic of Tunisia and President of the Association of the Spouses of African High Commissioners and Ambassadors in UK (ASAHCA-UK). It will be an afternoon of Tunisian delights – food, music and crafts. Full booking details will be sent out soon so do book early as places are limited.

Until we can meet again in September, I am sure you will be enjoying the rest of the summer with your family and friends, lots of travel and visits to museums, galleries and theatres !

Warm wishes from all of us at FIWAL,

Zehan Albakri
President 

president@fiwal.org.uk
fiwal.org.uk

Like us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on President’s Message August 2021

President’s Message July 2021

Dear FIWAL Friends,

It was particularly lovely to see so many of you at the FIWAL AGM followed by the 35thAnniversary celebration on the 8th June. The highlight of the celebration was the inspirational film that Laura Schapira had put together featuring FIWAL’s Past Presidents.  The whole event came to life with the wonderful musical contributions by two of our member clubs. The Ukrainian Cultural Association in London and our newest member, the Barcarolle Choir. I hope to continue our Past President Siobhan’s focus and interest in music as a way to connect cultures.

I greatly look forward to my two years as President of FIWAL and hope that I can continue the outstanding effort and commitment of Siobhan and the other Past Presidents. I have already met with the Executive committee and am pleased that we are moving forward with our first physically attended event in September. Do look out for full details in the near future either in The Dateline or on our website. We also agreed to hold the FIWAL Spring lunch in March 2022 in celebration of International Women’s Day.

We are looking to create a Communications team working with Susan (Dateline editor) and Barbara (Webmaster) to help develop our online activities so do get in touch if you have any technical experience of social media, websites, Zoom or Mailchimp and would like to join the team. Just email me at president@fiwal.org.uk.

Our member clubs are starting to hold their own physically attended events so I do hope that I might meet you at one of them in the near future. In the meantime, you can read my incoming speech as President below.

Best wishes from all of us at FIWAL.


Zehan Albakri

President 

president@fiwal.org.uk
fiwal.org.uk

Like us on Facebook 

Follow us on Twitter

Zehan’s Incoming President’s Speech :

I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Siobhan on her time as President during such a difficult period in history.  She did an amazing job at keeping FIWAL relevant during this time and even increased our membership.  I hope I can keep up the pace.

It is a real honour to be appointed to the role of President of FIWAL.  For those of you who do not know me, I am a Founding charter member of PAWA, the Pan Asian Women’s Association which has been a FIWAL member since 2014 when we were proposed by Fatimah Gammage, a fellow Malaysian.  As a Malaysian in London, I was delighted to find an organization such as FIWAL which gave me the opportunity to meet with so many women from all over the world.

Looking to the future during my presidency, it seems strange to try to plan or formulate any ideas when there is still a level of uncertainty but I will be working closely with our amazingly dedicated Executive committee to keep focused on what really matters at FIWAL.

FIWAL’s mission is clearly stated as providing a forum for the exchange of information, ideas and expertise amongst member clubs.  With the belief that, when women of different races, religions and cultures meet up and find common ground through shared interests, this will lead to a better understanding, mutual support and friendship.  We will hear more about this from our Past Presidents.

With the world becoming increasingly polarized, I think it is this aspect of FIWAL’s founding principles that we will highlight – our cross-cultural exchange as well as being a safe and neutral place to meet, share and discuss without prejudice.  We will look at global topical issues which affect all women – health, technology, education, families and gender equality.

I will continue with Mary Jane on the work that we started this year on FIWAL’s branding and Identity to better reflect this.  I would love to have more interaction with our member clubs and work on joint shared initiatives.  So, if you have ideas, do get in touch.  I would love to hear from you.

I feel confident with the support of a great Executive committee, an experienced Advisory council and our diverse Member clubs, we will adapt and continue to build on FIWAL’s excellent reputation.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on President’s Message July 2021

President’s Message June 2021

Dear Ladies,

May started with a Bank Holiday which was hardly noticed as it seemed there was very little difference to lockdown with a strict, and necessary curb on our social gatherings. We are now just past the second May Bank Holiday and the weather is wonderful. It is so lovely having later sunsets bringing us nearer to brighter days and hopefully brighter times.

The number of online events available is staggering and our member clubs have made sterling efforts to provide us will a wide range of advice and entertainment. I expect that all of us watch a high number of Zooms according to our preferences. Naturally, for me FIWAL events and our member clubs events take priority. This month’s events have been very rewarding.

May 4th Women’s Clubs International (WCI) celebrated their 35th Anniversary. A splendid occasion which marked their impressive successful history. I greatly enjoyed their celebratory Zoom showing highlights of special events and occasions from all over the world. 

May12th Caroline Muir of The Women’s Council (TWC) presented an “Architectural” Quiz to test our knowledge of famous buildings and geography. This was both a very clever and fun event and stretched our knowledge to give us the ‘feel good’ factor when we knew or correctly guessed the answer.

TWC also held their AGM May 19th This was followed by a video on the wonderful woman’s Training and Scholarship Programme organised in Mumbai by ADAPT.  These courses have far reaching effects in the benefits to individuals, their children and the wider communities and the countries they come from. Unfortunately the pandemic is having heartbreakingly negative impact on the attendance of women internationally. You can read more on this and the Pan Arabic course organised by SETI on www.womenscouncil.org.uk

The CCL on May 19th held a Commonwealth Quiz designed and compiled by Elizabeth Mullings. This was a great success and for amusement I will share three questions with you: 

1. In what year was Marmite invented? a) 1902  b)1929  c)1899
2. What country has had the greatest number of volcanoes? 
3. ‘Nollywood’ Nigeria’s movie industry is ranked in what position globally (from 1-10)?

On May 23rd Alla Sirenko, President of The Ukrainian Cultural Association in the UK  (UCA UK)  presented a very enjoyable and rare harp concert given by established professionals and students from the Guildhall School of Music. The music chosen was very interesting and involved a variety of harps played.  UCA UK are well established for the quality of their concerts on Zoom, I look forward to their live events, already at the planning stage, where the enjoyment will once again include a mingling of guests over delicious food and an opportunity to meet the talented musicians who perform to raise money for charity. Alla will be playing her own piano composition at our 35th anniversary celebration.

Please mark the date 8th June 2:00pm for FIWAL AGM and 35th Anniversary Celebration. Have a celebratory glass of your favourite ‘tipple’ on standby.

It has been a great pleasure to have been your President for the last two years and I will have many happy memories of the people I have met who have enriched my life through friendship and sharing common interests and in particular through the pre Covid-19 live events in my first nine months of office. I would like to warmly thank my colleagues for the outstanding support throughout my Presidency and in particular the way in which they have risen to the occasion of maintaining and expanding FIWAL during the extraordinary challenges of the pandemic. 

I look forward to seeing you all again soon.

Warm wishes,

Siobhan

Siobhan Hamilton-Phillips
President 

president@fiwal.org.uk
fiwal.org.uk

Answers to Quiz questions 
1. Marmite invented? 1902  
2. Indonesia   
3. With output of over 1000 movies per year ‘Nollywood’ is 2nd between Bollywood and Hollywood

Like us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on President’s Message June 2021

President’s Message May 2021

Dear Ladies

The sunshine is streaming through my windows and the pastel coloured beach huts are being lowered onto the beach ready for the Summer. On Monday evening April 26th the super moon turned the sky pink, it’s the most impressive moon of  2021. If you missed it, the second of two super moons this year will appear on May 26th. 

The reason I mention this is to highlight the rapid acceleration of global warming we are witnessing. Just looking up at the sky at night reminds us we are mere guests on this planet. It’s up to each of us to play a part in repairing the damage we have caused. To engage in this in a meaningful way and to feel inspired about what we can achieve, there is helpful advice from Julia Hailes MBE, ‘The Environmental Pioneer’ who was our guest this month at our Zoom event Women for the Environment. Speaking on ‘My Green Life’, and in aid of Operation Future Hope, founded by Lesley Malpas, Julia spoke with wisdom and shared her dedication to finding workable solutions to slow down and eventually reverse our destruction. We were treated to practical, tried and tested ways to contribute to making a difference. This is one of the best programmes I have seen on both the destruction caused and how individually we can help slow the damage and save our environment. To read more about Julia, click here. For more information on Operation Future Hope, click here.  

The Ukrainian Cultural Association-UK presented ‘Spiritual Music in Memory of Chernobyl’s Victims of 26th April 1986’. President Alla Sirenko, FISM presented this very moving concert on Zoom. The programme featured traditional sacred Ukrainian music from the 15th century up to the present day. We heard the Ukrainian male ensemble, Kalophonia, along with the beautiful, harmonic choir and music from Ukraine, Georgia and Armenia. We were reminded of some heart rending facts about the Chernobyl disaster. Money raised went directly to help victims of the Chernobyl disaster with their ongoing medical treatments. Our ticket included an after concert drinks reception to talk and reflect on the performance and stories heard. This was a lovely gathering, full of shared memories and the fostering of friendships. The UCA Easter Celebration presented traditions in dance, and we were treated to song and craft from the Carpathian Mountains. Central to this entertainment was the very elegant traditional painting of Easter eggs, and dancing in the square which was elaborately decorated with giant Easter eggs. 

London Blue Plaques celebrate women (who were until recently vastly out numbered by 14% of the 950+ membership). English Heritage increased the number of Blue Plaques for women in 2020 and announced that in 2021 they are shortlisting more women than men. Here are some of the names from London 2020 and 2021: 

Christine Granville (1908-1952): Born Krystyna Skarbek, Granville was one of the most remarkable secret agents of the Second World War and was the first woman to work as a Special Operations Executive agent – two years before they officially recruited women. Kensington.

Noor Inayat Khan (1914-1944): Renowned for her service in the Special Operations Executive during the Second World War, Khan was Britain’s first Muslim war heroine and the first female radio operator sent into Nazi-occupied France. Bloomsbury

Dame Helen Gwynne-Vaughan (1879-1967) is as much admired for her work during the First World War as one of the leading figures in the first women’s corps in the British military, as she is for her academic work as a botanist. Bloomsbury

Barbara Hepworth (1903-1975): One of the 20th century’s greatest artists, Hepworth was a ground-breaking sculptor. Her works are held in the collections of major institutions worldwide, including Tate and the Museum of Modern Art in New York. North London

National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies (formed in 1897): The NUWSS was the largest of any women’s suffrage campaigning organisation. At its peak in 1913, it had nearly 500 affiliates and its total membership reached 50,000. The blue plaque will mark their headquarters in Westminster during the crucial eight years leading up to the Representation of the People Act 1918 – the legislation that gave some women the vote.Westminster.

You may not be surprised to hear that English Heritage’s Curatorial Director is a female, Anna Eavis. 

I wish you a safe and enjoyable Bank Holiday

Warm Regards, 
Siobhan 

Siobhan Hamilton-Phillips
President president@fiwal.org.uk

Like us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on President’s Message May 2021

President’s Message April 2021

Dear Ladies

Women are renowned for our adaptability and it’s interesting how quickly we have become accustomed to events on Zoom. Like so many others I have had a busy time on zoom this month but I look forward for the time when, with a simple phone call, I can arrange to meet with friends at a restaurant or to attend a function in person. Fortunately, we are not too far away from that with the new rules of engagement. With so many more people vaccinated and the prospect of good weather, I’m feeling optimistic. 

On International Womens Day (IWD) I attended a Zoom event hosted by Women’s Clubs International (WCI)  ‘Women Diversity and Peace’. We welcomed Linda Anderson the new WCI President (2021-2023). The two expert and very impressive speakers were Dr. Nicola Byok; Diversity Strategist, Hamburg Germany and Danielle Robertson; Program Officer The US Institute of Peace. 

On 9th March the Australian Women’s Club ‘Room to Read’ was hosted by President Belinda Miles and  presented by Jenny Orchard, a remarkable woman who was Development Director for Australasia in 2010. As a global, non profit, organisation focusing on literature and girls education, its aim is to improve literacy and gender equality in education in the developing world. Headquartered in San Francisco it is founded on the belief that “world change starts with educated children,” and now reaches more than six million children serving communities in ten countries in Asia and Africa. ‘Room to Read’ develops literacy skills and the habit of reading among primary school children, and supports girls in completing secondary school with the relevant life skills to succeed in school and beyond. (Contact me for the list of books that were Jenny’s five favourites). 

On 20th March the Ukrainian Cultural Association (UCA) held a very enjoyable Music & Poetry event dedicated to the famous Ukrainian Poet Taras Shevchenko (1814-1861). Shevchenko was one of those rare people who have a huge influence on their society, in his case as a writer, artist, public and political figure. He is known for many masterpieces as a painter and an illustrator. He also had a strong influence on leading his country to independence. The music and poetry was both poignant and stirring reflecting both the tensions and the beauty of 19thc Ukraine.

On 22nd March there was a celebration of National Day of the Republic of Tunisia, held on Zoom at the Tunisian Embassy London. Ambassador Nabil Ben Khedher introduced the speakers, many of whom had served in Tunisia and have great affection for the country and their people. Memories were shared, there was traditional music and dancing and many compliments exchanged and finally a lovely film depicting the highlights of this beautiful country. 

On 23rd March I attended ‘Friends of Azerbijan’ to celebrate Nowruz. The event held online at the London Embassy was very enjoyable. Ambassador Tahir Taghizade welcomed everyone and many speeches were made by various ministers regarding mutual interests in culture and trade between our two countries. There was a wonderful display of Azerbaijani culture with music, singing, architecture, food, and national dress and a tour of the cities and surrounding areas, beautifully presented on video. 

Last October we had the privilege of having Alexandra Asseily as our speaker on ‘The Garden of Forgiveness’, her ongoing project in the city of Beirut. You may remember the catastrophic explosion of ammonium nitrate in August 2020 in the port of Beirut which caused widespread devastation, leaving 300,000 people homeless. FIWAL raised money for Alfanar’s rescue project (chosen by Alexandra). We have had a progress update from Alfanar’s Development Officer Freddie Fleischmann-Allen, sent to our Hon. Treasurer Sylvia Wallach. The news is heartening: 

Emergency Lebanon Report Highlights: Thanks to your support (and over 300 remarkable donors like you) we raised over £770,000 to help front-line social enterprises working to alleviate hunger, clear debris, and repair damaged buildings across Beirut. Through our food sector social enterprises — Lebanese Food Bank, ShareQ, Soufra, and Souk el Tayeb — we have distributed 51,227 hot meals, 1,770 dry food boxes (each of which feeds a family of five for one month), and created 42 jobs as kitchen staff or distribution workers. Through our social enterprise partner BEDCO by March, we have repaired and renovated 30 offices, shops and homes damaged by the blast, helping businesses and social enterprises to get back to work, as well as creating 35 jobs for disadvantaged youth as construction workers. Our country team on the ground has been at hand to provide additional management support to our 10 portfolio social enterprises, helping them to navigate the crisis.

To mark the launch of Spring campaign Join the Journey: Educate. Employ. Empower. three of Alfanar’s frontline social enterprises will join us to share their stories of resilience and impact from the past year. We would love to have you with us -you can register for the event here: https://bit.ly/3c68GkLSome of you have already registered and I look forward to seeing you at this event.

I wish you a safe and glorious Spring.

Warm Regards, 
Siobhan 

Siobhan Hamilton-Phillips
President president@fiwal.org.uk

Like us on Facebook 

Follow us on Twitter

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on President’s Message April 2021

President’s Message March 2021


Dear Ladies,

Spring is here and there are signs of tiny bright green leaves appearing on my geraniums and the lavender is making every effort to be noticed. 

The extended daylight has a positive effect on our mood and this is just as well as we need to remain patient and cautious as we approach our renewed freedom to socialise. Socialising is such an important factor in our lives: it’s a defining feature of being human and many people, of all ages, are badly affected when it is severely restricted. We are fortunate to be members of a group which offers us a sense of belonging when we join together to attend interesting and entertaining events and exchange pictures, messages and ideas with our supportive chat lines. 

International Women’s Day is fast approaching, a landmark in our calendar and an important celebration of the acquiring of various women’s rights.

From powerful women such as Helen of Troy and Boudica, fast forward to the Suffragettes, founded by Emmeline Pankhurst in October 1803. The Suffragettes fought hard for these rights.  It was the dawn of the slow rise of women to today’s top appointments with major influencing roles. There are 21 countries with women as heads of state (out of approximately 194) and 5% of FTSE 100 have a woman as CEO. It’s a start.  

But women are still grossly under represented at all levels of decision making world wide. I dip into a website ‘UN Women’ from time to time to follow progress: https://www.unwomen.org  The organisation has a list of aims year by year from 2020 – 2024. For example: 2021 (extract) – Women’s full and effective participation and decision-making in public life, as well as the elimination of violence, for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls. Under review is women’s empowerment and the link to sustainable development. 

It’s just about a year since lockdown became a part of life and all of us had to alter our plans and learn to communicate much more on line and in particular via  Zoom. Zoom has served us well, facilitating a myriad of events from FIWAL and our member clubs. Two very recent events show how far we have come in providing a wide range of topics attracting increasing numbers of followers.

FIWAL recently hosted Women in Power, the Art of Power Dressing, in aid of the charity Dress for Success. Presented by Meridith Towne, an historic dressmaker and serious collector of original costume. Her lively talk was a tour de force of the history and the art of power dressing.  Meridith took us thorough a fascinating history of women who expressed their power through ‘costume’ including Queen Elizabeth 1st (who reigned for 45yrs), with her elaborate costumes of delicate lace and pearls and precious jewels and furs. We also saw a portrait of the empress of China, who reigned for 50yrs, elaborately clad in magnificent silk and pearls and very intricate headdresses. Both of these royal ladies, through their intelligence and sound strategies brought a great deal of prosperity to their respective nations.   

Fionnuala Shannon, Executive Director of Dress for Success Greater London, one of the 150 branches world wide, gave us an overview of the aims and successes of the charity. Through support and advice women can be prepared and dressed for interviews that will positively change their lives. The registered charity empowers women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire, and the development tools to help women thrive in work and in life. This has a liberating effect for women to become economically viable, to support their children and be role models for others. Suitable clothes can be donated, so please visit the website for more details of this very worthy cause which has long term beneficial effects for women world wide. www.dressforsuccess.org 

The Ukrainian Cultural Association (UCA-UK) lives up to its name with a schedule of events on music, poetry and Ukrainian cuisine. Alla Sirenko, an accomplished pianist and composer, presented a wonderful concert on Saturday evening, with an eclectic programme of highlights from the Lviv National Philharmonic Orchestra. The programme featured talented young musicians, some who started performing at the age of 6yrs such as the Oboe player Stepan Syvokhip, 15 years old, also the brilliant 15yr old virtuoso pianist Khrystuna Mihailichenko, both are now commanding large audiences. Money was raised for the Ukrainian orphaned children. 

Like you, I look forward to leaving the winter behind and moving closer to seeing the people I miss most; close family and long term friends. It is frustrating that we must make those moves so slowly but the science dictates it is essential in order to avoid another spike in cases of the virus and it’s variants.  I wish you all patience, courage and joyful reunions.

Warm Regards, 


 

Siobhan

Siobhan Hamilton-Phillips
President president@fiwal.org.uk

Like us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on President’s Message March 2021

President’s Message February 2021

Dear Ladies,

As I write this in late January, it’s snowing in London and heavy coverage is expected. Whilst it all looks like a picture postcard of winter wonderland, it is not good news for the many who are out of work, home schooling, or have vulnerable people to care for. Let’s hope that some people will be able to take a light hearted opportunity to take a small step back to childhood and make a snowman. 

The Covid Virus (C-19), which we thought we were on route to defeat, has mutated.  Therefore, whatever timescale we were planning to once again socialise and to reverse working from home, socialising is now pushed further away. I see that Jacinda Ardern Prime Minister of NZ has closed it’s borders until 2022. She has already been very successful in controlling the spread of C-19. Having closed the borders in mid-March she has said they would not open again until New Zealanders were “vaccinated and protected”. A brave and purposeful plan. 

Increased transmission of the novel variant will be a challenge to keep up with. We already have ‘silent carriers’ who test negative and have no C-19 symptoms. You can understand why inconvenient lockdown matters, the alternative could be much worse. 

We have always been at war with diseases and more often than not we win, but some such as Malaria, Hepatitis, Ebola and HIV/AIDS and Influenza bring a heavy cost to human life. Those of us in the UK are fortunate as through the NHS we have the means to vaccinate for childhood illnesses from the age of 8 weeks with top up’s at various stages up to and through university to the age of 25. This ‘herd immunity’ is our main strength in survival against our microscopic hosts. We are fortunate to have dedicated scientists continuing the battle towards positive solutions. C-19 has provoked us and challenged us, but as with other viruses, C-19, as a pandemic, it will come to an end and if it crosses our borders again we will be prepared. 

It is with regret that due to C-19, the Australian Women’s Club had to cancel their acclaimed International Women’s Day event. However, they have much to celebrate. On 29th January the ancient Aboriginal site of Wurdi Youang was discovered in Little River, between Melbourne and Geelong. In essence it is a giant solar arrangement made of basalt stones, a 50m ring marking the annual solstices and equinoxes. It may be the world’s oldest astronomical observatory and could date from the Palaeolithic age making it older than Stonehenge. 

It was good to see so many clubs represented at our January board meeting. One of the outcomes of the meeting is that we have a new initiative. This is to ‘flag up’ a paragraph about each club, to draw readers to your website. Up to three clubs will be featured each month. Clubs who would like to take part will be selected on a first come first served basis. 

On Tuesday 23rd February 1:00-2:30 we can look forward to The Art of Power Dressing: by Meridith Towne, a Costume Historian and Dressmaker. Meridith creates costumes for museums, Opera, weddings and parties. The poster has already been sent out and I suggest you read her very interesting ‘About Me’ section to see how a young lady who started out by studying Archaeology at university became passionate about women’s history as told through fashion. I very much look forward to seeing you at what promises to be an interesting and very entertaining event  and if you are “Zoomed out” I recommend the perfect solution, see below.

I have some very good news about two of our executive committee members.

Ameeta, our very efficient Hon. Secretary has very quietly, behind the scenes, managed to create a superb collection of luxury candles ‘AVES’. The photo shoot has taken place and this beautiful product is to be featured in both The WORLD of Interiors and Good Housekeeping. The very attractive website displays 100% natural, vegan and cruelty-free enticing aromas; I love the idea of “Zoomed Out” My order has been placed and Birthday presents solved. https://avescandles.co.uk . Very well done Ameeta!    

Book Publication: The Vegan Iraqi Cookbook by Dr. Lamees Ibrahim. From her early days as a scientist, Lamees was mentioned in ‘Who’s Who in the world’ for her contributions to the advancement of medical sciences. Then, she turned her talent to cuisine. Her latest book, The Vegan Iraqi Cookbook, is the first of its kind to be published in the world. The easy-to-follow recipes are adorned with sumptuous specially commissioned photography throughout. It is full of authentic recipes that have been handed down through the generations, developed and enriched over time, and infused with cultures of different eras. This beautifully produced book is also a narrative of a rich fusion of history, health, culture and storytelling. Publication release day: Tuesday 2nd February 2021. (theiraqicookbook.com). Many congratulations Lamees!

Finally, I have a message and a quote from Jocelyn. 

Last year is worth forgetting, this year is worth looking forward to!

Wishing you all a very happy February!

Warm Regards
 
Siobhan 

Siobhan Hamilton-Phillips
President president@fiwal.org.uk

Like us on Facebook 

Follow us on Twitter

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on President’s Message February 2021

President’s Message January 2021

Dear Ladies

I hope you found rewarding ways of celebrating Christmas.

This year has been a challenge on many levels and just as we thought we were ready to do battle with vaccinations, we learnt that there is a new Coronavirus variant that is more invasive. Its rapid spread has pushed many of us into Tier 4 socialising rules, placing harsh restrictions on being with family and friends over the holiday. However those who organised a Zoom Christmas family party may have shared their celebration opening presents and pulling crackers with cringeworthy jokes, to provide a little bizarre entertainment as an antidote to reality. 

We were treated to some excellent Christmas music when on December 15th we had the pleasure of listening to the Ukrainian Cultural Association (UCA-UK) founded by internationally renowned composer and pianist, Alla Sirenko in 2020. Highlights from the programme included a mix of traditional carols in English and Ukrainian from the harmonious Ukrainian Vocal Quartet Vivo who sang Czardasz a composition by Italian composer Vittorio Monti. It’s a well-known uplifting folkloric piece based on traditional Hungarian folk dance. Alla, on piano, accompanied violinist Orpheus Leander with a moving rendition of Ave Maria followed by Alla’s own composition, Elegant Waltz. Alla played her poignant solo piece, Winter dreams which she dedicated to the Ukrainian children, who lost their fathers in a war in Eastern Ukraine. The concert was in aid of British Ukrainian Aid – for orphaned children. I thank all of you who donated to this worthy cause at a time when there are many calls on our purse. There will be a recording available and those of you who would still like to make a contribution to aid the orphans will find details on our website.

A very interesting event is being organised by the Kensington and Chelsea Women’s Club (KCWC) to meet Lebanese journalist Dr. Zahera Harb who distinguished herself as a war correspondent and is now professor at City University, London. Dr. Harb will discuss the challenges facing Lebanon subsequent to the recent explosion and the role international journalism can play in accurate information about Middle East strife. Make a note of 14thJanuary 10:30 – 12:00 noon on Zoom. Booking instructions are on our website. I will be reserving a place and look forward to seeing you.

I have an appointment for an x-ray (an old fracture) and my thoughts turned to the invaluable research carried out by Marie Curie which still has huge significance today and from which I am going to benefit. Curie was one of the most famous scientists of her time.  She was born in Warsaw November 1867. She went to Paris to study physics and mathematics at the Sorbonne where she met Pierre Curie, professor of the School of Physics. They were married in 1895. They worked together on radioactivity and within eight years they announced the discovery of polonium. They were awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1903. Three years later tragedy struck.   

Pierre was knocked down by a horse drawn carriage and suffered severe injuries from which he died. Marie continued the work taking over her husband’s teaching post becoming the first woman to teach at the Sorbonne. She received a second Nobel Prize, for Chemistry, in 1911. The research was significant in the development of x-rays. During WW1 Curie helped to equip ambulances with x-ray equipment which she also drove to the front lines. She was appointed head of the radiological service by the International Red Cross. She died on 4 July 1934 from leukaemia, caused by exposure to high-energy radiation from her research. Due to the level of radioactivity, her body was buried in a lead lined coffin. The Curies’ eldest daughter Irene was herself a scientist and winner of the Nobel Prize for Chemistry. Her second daughter Eve Denise was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her work with Unicef. They are the only family to receive four Noble Prizes.

For those of you who are able to attend the KCWC event on 14th January I will be reserving a place and look forward to seeing you. 

Wishing you all a very Happy New Year. 

Warm regards,

Siobhan 

Siobhan Hamilton-Phillips
President president@fiwal.org.uk

Like us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on President’s Message January 2021

President’s Message December 2020

Dear Ladies,

As we approach one of the highlights of the year, Christmas, we are all transcribing the new instructions on how we will be allowed to get together and celebrate with close family and friends. My family, scattered across the world, have become familiar with Zoom lunches, usually on a Sunday but not always at lunchtime due to time differences. We share the menu and recipes in advance and therefore we have, more or less, the same meal. Keeping in touch in this way has allowed a certain relaxation over planning our Christmas celebrations.  We are used to meeting online and in no other way.  And we have all agreed that the main issue this year, i.e. the most serious consideration, is to stay safe so as to protect each other.  

One of the highlights of our November events was MOZART 250 – “The journey of a lifetime”, a talk, with musical illustration, by Ian Page, renowned conductor and artistic director of The Mozartists. In 2015 The Mozartists launched MOZART 250, a ground-breaking 27-year project exploring the chronological trajectory of Mozart’s life, works and influences. Described by The Observer as “among the most audacious classical music scheduling ever”, this flagship project presents 250th anniversary performances of most of Mozart’s important works, placing them in context alongside other significant works by Mozart’s contemporaries”. 

In his talk Ian Page described the concept, inception, philosophies and discoveries inherent in this ambitious 27-year exploration of the life, music and influences of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

Ian is a fund of information on the life and the music of Mozart. He is joy to listen to with his relaxed style and entertaining anecdotes. We learnt that Mozart was the 7th child born to his family, and only one other child survived, his beloved sister called ‘Nanneril’ 5yrs his senior. She was a gifted harpsichord player and had a beautiful voice. Mozart was 8yrs old when he and his sister were accompanied by their father.  They lived in Chelsea at 180 Ebury Street, then considered to be part of a village, which was countryside at that time. In an amusing anecdote Ian described how 8yr old would have music lessons from his father and as soon as done would run off to play on the rocking horse. Enjoy watching this illustrated talk with music: https://youtu.be/h9ZQWkszvfc

Each month due to the absence of live events I have written about interesting people who have had an important impact on our lives. Lockdown has allowed me the luxury of researching for the ‘intrepid’ among them and on this occasion I have kept the full name a secret until the end. In celebration of Thanksgiving I have chosen an American lady and I start with her grandparents.

Kit, as her grandmother was called by family members was born in New York 1878. Kit had a grim start. Her father, a businessman, committed suicide in 1892 and within two years her mother died of cancer. She was sent to live with relatives. She attended university and earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and history in 1899 and a master’s degree in chemistry and physics in 1900. She attended many lectures on women’s rights and was especially interested in the woman suffrage movement where she held a prominent position. She became a teacher in Baltimore where she met Dr. TNH. They married in 1904. They had six children. The second of whom, was to become famous. Lets call her Katey.

Katey was born in 1907 in Hartford, Connecticut to this suffragist and a doctor who both always encouraged her to speak her mind.  She was largely schooled at home but did attend Bryn Mawr College Pennsylvania, where she decided to study drama, appearing in many of their productions.

After graduating, she began getting small roles in plays on Broadway and elsewhere. She always attracted attention. She made five films between 1932 and 1934 and won her first Academy Award. Her fourth, Little Women (1933) was the most successful picture of its day. However she had a rocky time for being ‘haughty’ for wearing trousers and no make up and received bad press leading to her low audiences and many box office failures. Then she made “The Philadelphia Story” (1938), and was rewarded with a smash hit. She quickly bought the film rights, and negotiated her way back to Hollywood on her own terms, including her choice of director and co-stars where she excelled with twelve Oscar nominations. If you haven’t already guessed her name, the big give away is her longstanding love affair with Spencer Tracy. She was Katharine Hepburn, the greatest female star of Classic Hollywood Cinema. She became known throughout the world as a formidable onscreen presence with a fierce intelligence unique among actresses of her stature. In 1999, the American Film Institute ranked her the top American screen legend of all time. She died age 96.

It is my great pleasure to pass on the news that Welcome to London International Women’s Club (WCI)  has been recognised as NGO of the United Nations. This is a huge honour and in keeping with the wonderful work they do world wide. WCI is committed to share friendship, understanding, and education and to promote international humanitarian causes. Congratulations to President Kim Riedel and Ambassador at Large Dee Phillips Medawar and all of you at WCI working so hard to make the world a better place for women. FIWAL is proud to have WCI as a member and salute them for their great achievement.

Congratulations also goes to The American Women’s Club London whose President, Whitney Edwards  was interviewed on BBC World News on how they had celebrated Thanksgiving this year and how Lockdown has impacted their activities. Whitney gave a ‘spirited’  reply on how their social gathering at events have taken place on Zoom with Happy Hour, a Cocktail Competition, and a Pub Quiz coming soon. I soon realised that there’s an awful lot of drinking going on here and I’m thinking of applying for American Citizenship asap to secure membership! Their flagship fundraising event 2020 was held online and with typical American generosity they managed to raise £7,000 for their soup kitchen which is organised through the American International Church (AIC). Apart from offering a resource for the homeless, the elderly, the lonely and the poor, I was touched to hear from our Hon. Treasurer Sylvia Wallach, who hails from the USA, that AIC also provide further support, including daily hot meals for vulnerable children whose mother is in hospital. A poignant message at this time of year. Brilliant work and well done Whitney. Watch: https://fb.watch/21EEqvEwOe/ 

A Christmas treat is on the way from The Ukrainian Cultural Association (UCA-UK)  our newest member of FIWAL. President Alla Sirenko will present A Charity Gala Christmas Concert. The choice of Christmas music is exciting with a mix of popular carols and classical music, a violinist and a vocal Ukrainian quartet. Please see our Events page and make your booking as soon as possible as this event will be very popular.  

I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible at the events on offer this month on the lead up to Christmas. 

It has been a very tough year for many and I do hope that by spring 2021 we will have a successful vaccine and more freedom to meet again to share ‘real’ time with our friends, and family. 

I thank all my colleagues for their intrepid work and commitment and support over the last year. 

Wishing you all a very Happy Christmas.

Warm regards,
Siobhan 

Siobhan Hamilton-Phillips
President president@fiwal.org.uk

Like us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter

Click here for more information.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on President’s Message December 2020

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

Siobhan Hamilton-Phillips
FIWAL President
president@fiwal.org.uk

Like us on Facebook 
Follow us on Twitter

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on President’s Message November 2020