By: Janet Brady

As an affiliate of the Welcome Clubs International (WCI), BIWC was invited to their International Biennial Conference,  held in Washington, D.C. this past May 25-30th. The purpose of the conference is to share ideas between the worldwide club members of WCI for empowering women.  We were well represented by our President, Dr. Winnifred  McPherson, as well as Janet Brady, Membership P.R./Advisor/Student Liaison, who attended the conference.

The event started with a lively welcome cocktail party. It was wonderful to see so many people again from last year’s event in Cyprus, and also great to meet new people who share our interests from all over the world.

The following day, we were taken to the STeven F. Udvar-Hazy Center near Washington Dulles International Airport. We saw hundreds of historically significant air and spacecraft, including the Space Shuttle Discovery and the Concorde!

After lunch back at the hotel, we heard from keynote speaker Lynne Olson and author of “Women Who Made a Difference during the World Wars”. That evening we were picked up from the hotel by Members of “Welcome to Washington” Club and taken for dinner to their homes around the area. Our hosts were just wonderful making everyone comfortable with a wonderful barbecue in a lovely family atmosphere. Their garden was absolutely beautiful and made me think of England!!!

Sunday morning we had Board Meetings and were then driven to “Twin Oaks” the current home of the Taiwanese Economic and Cultural Representative, where we were entertained by the renowned Ms. Gwhyneth Chen, a Taiwanese American pianist who in 1993 won the biggest cash prize in the history of piano competitions ($100,000). Ms. Chen received her musical training at the Juilliard School in New York City. We also watched a Taiwanese Fashion Show, demonstrating the development of fashion in recent times. We then had a wonderful luncheon before departing to the hotel.

Monday we attended roundtable discussions where ladies from different clubs expressed views and ideas were exchanged, regarding empowering women and better forms of communications from WCI to their members. We were then taken by motor coach for lunch and a lecture as well as a tour of Mount Vernon, the plantation home of first President George Washington. In the evening we were invited to the Embassy of the Republic of Botswana. Ambassador David Newman spoke eloquently about his beloved country and we were given a taste of Botswana for dinner.

Tuesday, our final day, we toured the Kennedy Center, which was truly beautiful with many rooms for entertaining, donated by foreign countries. The building is enormous and houses three different music centers for opera, concerts, ballet, etc. This was followed by a visit to the Colombian Embassy, which was a truly beautiful building and we were served a typical Colombian lunch followed by a lecture on Gender and STEM Education in Latin America.

After this, the same pianist entertained us as we listened to at the Taiwanese Embassy, which was indeed another wonderful event. The final evening was outstanding taking place at the highest point in Alexandria, a rooftop restaurant, with a fantastic view of Washington D.C. across the Potomac. This was in the form of a dinner/dance and a presentation of the Marianne Adair Award by her daughter, Caroline Adair Dimmers, a member of Welcome to Washington Club.

This was presented to an outstanding member in recognition of her service. Marianne Adair was the founding member of Welcome Clubs International. Everyone received a beautiful Congressional Plate as a gift and it was time to say goodbye to many new and wonderful friends.

In two years time, the conference will be held in Jakarta, Indonesia, which will be a most interesting and exciting place to visit. If you want to attend this great event, start saving your air miles now! We have every intention of attending again and it would be wonderful to do this along with other members of Broward International Women’s Club.