Past Events

Since its inception, FIWAL has hosted an annual conference, each with its own theme. This page provides a brief description of past conferences as well as other events hosted by FIWAL.

27 April 2018: Biennial Conference – Women’s Voices Heard: Empowerment and Equality from Around the World. Held at The Churchill Hotel, London. We heard from extraordinary women that challenge the system and empower women to have an equal voice: Dr. Justine Mutale (Founder & President of the Justina Mutale Foundation for Leadership), Haifa Zangana (Iraqi novelist author, artist and political activist), Hana Satriyo (Former Director for Gender and Women’s Participation, Indonesia for the Asia Foundation), Kate Willoughby (Actor, writer, proud Yorkshirewoman and temporary Suffragette) and Talyn Rahman-Figueroa (Moderator. CEO and Founder, Grassroots Diplomat).

12 May 2016: Biennial Conference and FIWAL 30th Year Celebraton. “Making It” Success against the Odds: Women Who Have Fought and Won. Inspiring stories of female struggle for success against the odds told by our very impressive speakers, Diana Chan (CEO of Euro CCP); Dr Kamel Hothi (Head of Fundraising Lloyds Bank); Tasleem Mulhall (Photojournalist, artist and women’s campaigner) and moderator Rita Payne (President of the Commonwealth Journalists Association).

10 February 2016: FIWAL’s 30th Anniversary Celebrations was kicked off with a lovely Valentine’s Tea party, held in the very attractive Terrace Bar and Grill at Le Meridien Hotel. Champagne and a full English Tea was enjoyed by FIWAL members and their guests.

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Friday 15 May 2015: FIWAL’s Spring Luncheon was held at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Portland Square, London with fashion guru Alyson Walsh and music from the International String Trio.

Wednesday 11 February 2015: Champagne Tea to celebrate Valentine’s Day at the Turkish Ambassadorial Residence with a real taste of Turkey delicacies thanks to our kind hostess Mrs Esra Bilgic, wife of HE Turkish Ambassador.

Thursday 18 December 2014: Annual Christmas Tea with Carols generously hosted by Salwa Mayassi at her lovely home in Knightsbridge.

2014 – FIWAL Conference: ‘The Substance of Style’ was held on Monday 12th May at the Churchill Hotel in London. Photos and a report about the conference will be provided soon. 

Tuesday 11 February 2014: A Valentine’s Tea was held at the French Ambassadorial Residence in aid of the French Benevolent Society.

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December 2013 – FIWAL Annual Christmas Tea, kindly hosted by Salway Mayassi.

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May 2013 – FIWAL’s Spring Luncheon was held at the Churchill Hotel in London.


December 2012 – Christmas Tea. Salwa Mayassi very kindly hosted this annual event, where fifty-two ladies joined together to sing Carols, followed by a delicious light buffet lunch. Thank you to Luisella Strona for taking photographs.

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2012 – FIWAL Conference: Social Entrepreneurship ‘Working Towards a More Positive Tomorrow’ was held on Monday 30th April.

2011 – 25th Anniversary Luncheon
Monday, 9th May saw the celebration of the FIWAL’s 25th Anniversary with a splendid event held in the lovely surroundings of the Mayfair Hotel’s Crystal Room.  The festivities began with a champagne reception, followed by a superb lunch which was enjoyed by a large turnout of member from all of FIWAL’s affiliated clubs. The grand raffle, with some spectacular prizes, was generously supported and more funds were raised when two return tickets, generously donated by Turkish Airlines, were auctioned and raised a further £500 for FIWAL’s funds.

We were entertained by speaker, Dr Kate Williams, a charming young academic, author of “Royal Marriages”, who took us for a canter through British Royal marriages from their inception to the present day; very apt given the recent Royal nuptials.  She gave us all kinds of interesting titbits and brought history alive for us.

In her speech, retiring president Neena Dugal, paid tribute to FIWAL members, thanking them for their support during her 3 year tenure.  She was presented with a bouquet and warm thanks from the FIWAL clubs for staying on for an extra year. She was followed by FIWAL founding member, Jocelyn Jones who gave a brief history of the setting-up of FIWAL, outlining the ethos underpinning the idea, which has been carried on and expanded over 25 years.  We were also privileged to hear from past presidents and founding members Latifa Kosta and Anita Worral, the latter having travelled all way from South Africa especially for the occasion.

The FIWAL 25th Birthday party showed that the organisation is in very good shape and has grown and continues to grow in stature over the years.  We now look forward to the next 25 years and the 50th anniversary; perhaps some of us will still be around to celebrate! – Caroline Muir

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FIWAL welcomed four guest speakers at the May Fair Hotel for its “Women of Vision” conference. Dr Mithu Alur has worked with disadvantaged children since 1966 and is the Founder Chairperson of ADAPT, a society in India providing a holistic model for assisting severely disabled children. Carole Cochrane of The Princess Royal Trust for Carers has enjoyed a length, exciting and successful career in the voluntary sector. Baroness Mary Goudie, has been a Member of the House of Lords since 1998 when she was appointed a life peer. Among her many activities, she is Chair of the Women Leaders’ Council to Fight Human Trafficking at UN.Gift and is active with Vital Voices, Piggybankkids and Share Gift. Founder and Chairwoman of “Women for Women International,” Zainab Salbi has been honoured for the work she has done to help women in war-torn countries. The Washington Post stated “Salbi’s vision is that by strengthening women, her organization [Women for Women International] can help rebuild communities and nations.” Photos of the event can be viewed by clicking here(Shown below from left to right: Mithu Alur, Carole Cochrane, Mary Goudie, Zainab Salbi)

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A Bollywood-themed lunch at the famous Bombay Brasserie, with a dazzling show of an exclusive collection of Indian dress and jewellery, including traditional saris. The guest speaker, Lady Noon, presented excerpts from her film “History of India Through Food”.

“The Plight of the Young Across Cultures” This fully booked and inspirational conference was opened by HRH The Princess Royal. It had a distinguished, internationally known and respected panel of speakers, who gave the the audience a very thought provoking time, talking of the many problems facing the young today from sex trafficking to family breakdown and neglect.

A special lunch at the Royal Yacht Club was followed by a fashion show by Linda Wrigglesworth, the world renowned expert on Chinese textiles dating from the Qing Dynasty.

Fiwal’s 20th Anniversary celebration luncheon at the Savoy, attended by 200 delegates, included guest delegates from Welcome Clubs International having their conference in London. The ‘Three Singing Waiters’ entertained the delegates with a repertoire ranging from popular music via light operatic to grand opera. Guest Speaker Simon Carr, political sketch writer for the Independent, spoke about the politics of our time, stressing the need for guarding our civil liberties even from our own legislature.

A special lunch at the Locarno Suite of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to celebrate 20 years of the “inception” of FIWAL.

A conference on “The Environment” held at Senate House, Malet Street with five distinguished speakers who touched on different environmental issues.

A Spring Luncheon at the ballroom of the Dorchester Hotel with guest speaker Lady Frances Clark, CBE, who spoke about the history of the “Venice in Peril Fund”.

A Spring Luncheon held at the ballroom of the Dorchester Hotel with two speakers: Dame Jocelyn Barrow, patron of the United Nations Fund for Women (UNIFEM) and Patti Boulaye, famous opera singer, author, painter and recording star.

“Women’s Health-Diagnosis and Prevention” – a conference held at the Royal Geographical Society with eight distinguished speakers who highlighted the latest techniques and developments in the treatment of some of the major illnesses affecting women.

“The Global Humanity of FIWAL – Millennium Luncheon” – held at the ballroom of the Dorchester Hotel with guest speakers Kate Adie and Christine McCafferty MP Member Associations who gave illustrations and examples of their voluntary and charitable work detailing the valued contribution made in serving humanity.

“The 21st Century is Now – Women’s Contribution in the Global Market, Politics and the Home” – six distinguished speakers highlighted the rapid development of women’s roles, ranging from Politics, Law, Banking & Education.

“Around the World with Women’s Ornamentation and Jewellery” – an exhibition of traditional and ornamental jewellery by FIWAL member Associations was followed by a luncheon at the Dorchester Hotel. The guest speaker was a leading jewellery expert.

“Women Towards the Millennium” – a Conference held at the Royal Geographical Society where stimulating addresses were given by distinguished speakers analyzing the changing role of women in society as the new millennium approached.

FIWAL celebrated its 10th anniversary with a special luncheon held at the Langham Hilton Hotel attended by 200 members. Former FIWAL Presidents were the guest speakers.

“Women and Communication” – a conference held at the Royal Geographical Society highlighted how advances in communication can be of benefit to all women in their involvement in the fields of Economics, Politics and the Media.

“Around the World with Tales and Tapestries” – an exhibition and luncheon at Claridge’s. Clubs displayed exquisite pieces of needlework, some rare, and all typical of their countries. There were four professional storytellers from Britain, India, Thailand and the Caribbean.

“Women and Europe” – a conference at the Royal Institute of British Architects which highlighted the role played by women in Europe. This was organized by the members of FIWAL’s European Associations, together with the European Movement.

“Around the World with Table Settings” – a luncheon at Claridge’s with table settings typical of the countries represented by FIWAL.

“Around the World with Art” – an exhibition of women artists, both professional and amateur , all who are members of FIWAL clubs.

“Around the World with Music” – a luncheon at the Café Royal during which music from the four corners of the world was played by musicians representing member Associations.

“Around the World with Fashion” – a fashion fiesta displaying the national costumes of member clubs.

A major seminar called “Women Today – What have we gained – What have we lost”.