Orange County

AWIU Chapter for Orange County, California

Sharon Kolby

Chapter Co-Chair

Latest Activities

American Women for International Understanding Orange County Chapter Meeting: July 1, 2017:

Orange County Chapter Meeting was held July 1,2017 in Irvine. Rupsi Burman spoke about work done by her NGO Hope in Life Foundation.

American Women for International Understanding Orange County Chapter Meeting: June 12, 2016:

Author, Rina Tham spoke at the Orange County Chapter meeting. The proceeds from the sale of her book,  “LUCKY Number 9” will be donated to AWIU’s Grant Committee.

American Women for International Understanding Orange County Chapter Meeting: January 22, 2016:

AWIU Orange County Chapter members meet on January 22, 2016. The Orange County Chapter meeting had a special guest speaker Prakash Bista.  Prakash Bista is a student at Soka University of America and Founder/Director of Modern Model Residential School chains, the service-oriented low cost non-governmental elementary schools for the impoverished communities in remote villages of Nepal. In these schools, parents with jobs or secured means of income contribute $100 a year; whereas others volunteer 30 days a year for their children’s education. Orphans and students who come from critical family backgrounds get all expenses paid by the school. To cover these expenses, each school has local businesses like – goat farming, copy center and stationery center. Also Prakash Bista was enlisted as Orange County’s 100 Most Influential People 2014 by Orange County Register. Model Residential School received a grant from AWIU.


American Women for International Understanding

Orange County Chapter

Holiday Luncheon Meeting

Monday, December 16th

11am to 2pm 

Location:  Villa Park, CA  

RSVP:  Diane McGlinchey (Chapter Chair)

 (Guests Invited)

American Women for International Understanding
Orange County Chapter

Yearly Report

Members of AWIU’s Orange County Chapter continued its mission of “Building Bridges of Understanding” with women worldwide, as we began celebrating AWIU’s 45th Anniversary. Throughout the year Chapter members and guests gathered for Chapter luncheon meetings; a retreat in Santa Barbara; several conferences; Regional meetings; as well as our signature event, the International Women of Courage Celebration held at Washington, D.C.’s National Press Club. A late summer Chapter luncheon was highlighted by an informative overview of AWIU’s 2012 Delegation visit to the Balkans. In late September we accepted a luncheon invitation from Great Britain honoring Baroness Jill Knight of Collingtree, a member of the House of Lords, formally chairman of the British Inter-Parliamentary Union, who spoke glowingly of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, as well as the close relations hip between our countries. December found OC members gathering once again to celebrate Christmas Holiday Traditions Around the World. Throughout 2012-2013 AWIU has focused its attention on the tragedy of Human Trafficking. Therefore OC hosted a March luncheon featuring Ms. Link Tran, Southern California’s Human Trafficking Administrator, addressing the perils of this ever advancing worldwide problem.

Our season will reach a crescendo on June 24th, as the Orange County Chapter is recipient of an invitation from the Whizen Center for Continuing Education, American Jewish University, to attend a special evening Reception and Lecture, with Hillary Rodham Clinton. This will be an incredible finale to a most informative and enjoyable OC Chapter year, as well as attendance at gatherings held by AWIU itself. Won’t you plan to join us for future events?

International Women of Courage, Washington, D.C.

In March several members of the Orange County Chapter gathered at the National Press Club in Washington, DC as AWIU honored the Department of State’s 2014 International Women of Courage. During this week celebrating our 45th Anniversary, AWIU was hosted by HE Ambassador Ritva Koukku–Ronde at the Embassy of Finland. Additionally, the Library of Congress hosted AWIU members, presenting informative talks. US Foreign Affairs chairman, Speaker Honorable Ed Royce welcomed us in the House Foreign Affairs Chambers. A House tour-lunch was also offered. California native, Marie T. Royce was presented AWIU’s 2013 Internationalism Award.

Thank you.

Diane McGlinchey, AWIU

Orange County Chapter Chair


MARCH 23:Joint Meeting with the International Visitors Council of Los Angeles 2011 Citizen Diplomacy Summit 5:30 Reception

Chapter Email:

Go here to read the Orange County Chapter Blog for information about Chapter activities.

July, 2012 Balkans Delegations Members, Kathleen Hunt and Sharon Kolby reported on 21days of meetings with women’s groups, ngo’s, universities, embassies and politicians. You can see pictures of the trip here and read the Balkans Journey to Understanding blog. Learn what they learned about this historic and troubled region.

REGISTER with AWIU to received periodic information about AWIU and the Orange County Chapter Come and join us...

SEPTEMBER: Bus trip to the United Kingdom’s LA Consulate. Meet consulate staff. Learn of Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee celebration, the Summer Olympics and the role women play in Great Britain.


March, 2012

Following AWIU’s International Women of Courage “Celebration” in DC members, Chapter Chair Diane McGlinchey visited the US Institute of Peace. The meeting there featured Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton; China’s Foreign Minister, Yang Jiechi; Dr. Henry Kissinger; Dr. Zbignew Brzezinski, as well as other speakers, panels and sessions, discussing the opening of China to the US In 1972 and the Future of US – China Relations, as well as the role played by the women of China.

MEETING REPORT: February 20 2012

Dr. Georgy Gounev presented an INSIDER’S LOOK AT THE BALKANS to Orange County members meeting in Laguna Nigel.

Born in Bulgaria, Dr. Gounev has spent a lifetime an accomplished educator, writer, and lecturer. Duran his recent visit to the Balkans Dr. Gounev interviewed Bishop Artemje of Kosovo as well as lectured at the University Climent. He presented members a birds-eve-view of the Balkans. His presentation complimented the study of the AWIU Delegation to the Balkans in June.

His biography is below.

June Balkan Delegation Trip

Biography Dr. Georgy Gouney

Dr. Georgy Gounev was born in Bulgaria and educated in Sofia University. He obtained his PhD from Moscow Institute of International Relations in history. In 1988, after teaching at Sofia University and publishing four books, he left Bulgaria as a Fulbright Scholar and taught in the University of Ohio.

Dr. Gounev presently teaches Comparative Russian and American History and International Studies at two Southern California Colleges. In addition, he lectures extensively at various political clubs, churches and other organizations. His first book in English is entitled “Fighting Evil with the Help of Satan.” The book is an historical analysis of the strategies of Stalin, Hitler, Roosevelt and Churchill during World War II. Gounev has just completed work on a book entitled “The Dark Side of the Crescent Moon.” This book presents a compelling argument that the US and Russia will become strong allies as Europe comes under the Muslim influence. Gounev travelled to Europe and the Balkans in the fall of 2009 to conduct one-on-one interviews as part of his research. Amongst prominent persons he interviewed was Bishop Artemije of Kosovo. In addition, he was the main speaker in a one hour radio interview in the capital of Sofia where he also lectured at the University of Climent to an audience of about 100 students and faculty.

American Women for International Understanding
Orange County Chapter

Summer / Fall Lecture – Luncheon Series:
“Global Exploration”

October 30, Education Forum, Women in Afghanistan

Members of AWIU recently participated in a roundtable discussion addressing the needs and challenges of education for women in Afghanistan.

The discussion, “Perspectives from Kandahar: Challenges in Promoting Education Amidst the Taliban and Foreign Forces,” was hosted Oct. 30 at the Khyber Pass Gallery in Laguna Beach. Topics included the need for education to help Afghan society combat threats of terrorism and extremism, and the obstacles inherent in that goal.

The special guest speaker was Farzana Ebrahimi, an Afghan woman whose nonprofit provides literacy and vocational training for women in Kandahar city.

Read the full report on the AWIUORANGECOUNTYCHAPTER BLOG 



May, 2011:

Bowers Museum Regional Meeting (O.C. Hosting Committee.  Speaker Dr. James Coyle, Chapman University, Director of Global Education.

*  July, 2011:

The Honorary Consul for the Republic of Latvia, Jurrs Bunkis extended an invitation to attend the dinner reception honoring Latvia’s Prime Minster, Honorable Valdis Dombrowski (Speaker).

*  August, 2011:

Speaker:   Ms. Patricia English – Author, former US Department of Defense European expert. “Today’s Europe” with emphasis on Great Britain.

*  October, 2011:

Invitation from Brazil’s Consul General, Honorable Jose Alfredo Graco Lima to attend an afternoon at Brazil’s Los Angeles Consulate learning of “Today’s Brazil”.

* November, 2011:

Education Forum, Women in Afghanistan (Hostess, Mariam Nawabi)

Speaker: Farzana Ebrahimi, Afghan woman whose nonprofit provides library and vocational training for women in Kandahar city.

* December 2011:

“The Christmas Holidays as Celebrated Around the World”

Speaker: Marilyn Rossow, Educator

(Home of member Patricia Burnes)