Promotes woman-to-woman interaction and understanding Worldwide through meaningful visits, grants, educational support, the celebration and support of the International Women of Courage, and participation of local Chapters which act locally and affect globally.
A 501c3 non profit corporation.
- To bring together women in leadership positions throughout the United States to engage in and to encourage people-to-people contact throughout the world.
- To participate in delegations to other countries to meet women in leadership positions and to facilitate reciprocal visits to the United States.
- To engage in study programs, including self-study, organized reading, and group study or meetings, and to study national and international problems, in order to become better informed as to those problems.
- To maintain communication among members and with persons visited or with whom exchange visits may be planned, for the purpose of carrying out AWIU objectives.
- To attempt, by all these means, to build bridges of understanding, goodwill, and cooperation between women leaders throughout the world and thus to share, however small, in the building of international goodwill and reduction of friction by means of non-political, non-governmental, voluntary citizen action.
Founded in 1967, AWIU has a wonderful and rich history of amazing women of courage and commitment. Our objective then and now is to encourage people from around the world, particularly women, to engage in meaningful dialogue, which helps us understand one another. These efforts are person to person and we believe these small efforts have a rippling effect, making this a better world in a subtle, but powerful way.
A W I U has sponsored more than 50 delegations to Europe, Africa, Asia, the Soviet Union, Latin America, the Middle East, China, Australia and New Zealand. We have been to every continent except Antarctica. Some of our delegations have broken new ground by being the first delegation of women to be permitted to enter a country. These milestones include our first delegation to Russia in 1968, our delegation to China in 1973 and Saudi Arabia in 2002.
In 2009, the delegation to Libya marked a milestone – the first delegation of American women to visit there in 40 years. Our latest delegation was to the Balkans in June, 2012.
A W I U actively recruits and selects emerging leaders from other countries to come to the United States for specialized short-term training, study, intern programs and for travel related to their particular area of interest. Grant programs are individually designed and center on educational opportunities.
The principal educational purposes of AWIU are accomplished through a grant program offered worldwide to English speaking women selected for their ambitious and enterprising, endeavors and who are leaders or are potential leaders in their communities. Candidates may be self-referred or referred by an organization. Candidates with academic goals must have completed undergraduate work.
In 2008 and 2009, the AWIU Grant Program took a slightly different approach by awarding a grant to a midwifery program in Afghanistan. In this effort AWIU partnered with the Nooristan Foundation and the Sunshine Lady Foundation.
The grant itineraries have included study and observations at such institutions as the National Institutes of Health, Georgetown University Hospital, D.C., Stanford University, Mayo Clinic, National Gallery of Art, Merchandise Mart in Chicago, George Washington University, University of San Francisco, Columbia University and Mills College. Grantees are introduced to professionals within their sphere of interest and, through AWIU members, have been able to spend time with American women and their families and to attend civic, social and cultural events.
While grant programs enhance education, they also prepare the grant recipients for further specific leadership responsibilities in their own communities. The success of the AWIU Grant program can be seen through the accomplishments of its recipient.
A W I U honors women who have contributed to international understanding by presenting them with the AWIU Award for Internationalism. AWIU has recognized outstanding women in diplomacy, politics, scientific achievement, academia, communications and other fields. Doris Buffett received the 2009 AWIU Internationalism Award for her contribution to the Afghanistan Midwifery program through her Sunshine Lady Foundation.
- In 2010, former First Lady Laura Bush received AWIU’s Internationalism Award for her many international activities, in particular, active in founding of the Afghan Women’s Council.
- In 2011, Bonnie McElveen-Hunter, former U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Finland and Chairman of the American Red Cross.
- In 2012, Congresswoman Donna Edwards (D. Maryland) and Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R. Washington) co-chairs on the congressional Afghan Women’s Task Force.
A W I U has Chapters around the country – Washington, D.C., Chicago, New York State, Northern California, and in Southern California – Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego. We also have 2 program chapters that meet in cyberspace via teleconference – the Virtual 1 and Virtual 2.
Local Chapters have a variety of programs. Chicago has concentrated recently on education on international trafficking of women and was host Chapter for the Libya Delegation. The Virtual Chapter has been studying Russia in connection with a Delegation recently conducted there in May, 2010.
A new Chapter may be formed and chartered with 6 members, in accordance with the organization’s By Laws.
The Board meets in 4 various regions in the U. S. each year. This is done to encourage member attendance at Board Meetings. All members are welcome at all Board Meetings. Educational programs associated with the Board Meetings are open to members and non-members alike.
The promotional “HIGHLIGHTS from AWIU’s International Women of Courage Celebration” is published once a year, following our signature event.