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Friday, March 22, 2013


I received a very nice email in response to my post The American Diaspora:  Lobbying versus Protest pointing out a huge oversight on my part.  Today's post is dedicated to rectifying that.

When I wrote last week:  "There are American diaspora groups that are working on this. One is ACA (American Citizens Abroad). There is also the AARO (Association of American Residents Abroad). These are the two that are most widely known and both work within the U.S. system to try to effect change"  I completely neglected to mention a third organization that is also very well-known and is working hard on behalf of Americans abroad on FATCA/citizenship-based taxation and many other issues:  

FAWCO, the Federation of American Women's Clubs Overseas.  

Of the three FAWCO is the oldest (founded in 1931).  It's a worldwide network of over 75 member clubs in 40 countries with around 15,000 members.  Some examples of FAWCO member organizations:

Kenya - American Women's Association of Kenya founded in 1958
Denmark - American Women's Club Denmark founded in 1934
China - American Women's Club of Shanghai founded in 1997

(I used to be a member of the last organization which is based in Paris.)

FAWCO's mission statement:

"To serve as a resource and channel of information among its members;
To provide a voice for American women abroad and to support the rights of all Americans worldwide;
To contribute actively to the global community with a specific focus on education, the natural and human environment, multicultural understanding and international goodwill."

In 1995 FAWCO was recognized as an NGO (non-governmental organization) and has special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.

FAWCO representatives were there in Washington, D.C. for Overseas American Week this year and in past years.  They were instrumental in the creation of the Americans Abroad Caucus and, working with AARO, they launched the brilliant (and successful) Tea Bag Campaign in 1975 to make absentee voting possible for the American diaspora. 

Before that mail hit my in-box I had no idea of the scope and history of FAWCO's activities.  My heartfelt thanks to Lucy Laederich (Former FAWCO president and current president of AARO and FAWCO's U.S. Liaison) for very gently and kindly setting me straight.

A last word.  All three of the American diaspora organizations have rich histories, some notable successes and are doing all they can right now on behalf of Americans living abroad.  We can help them by supporting their activities and initiatives.  They can help us, not only through their lobbying efforts, but by tooting their own horns a bit more.  Enough of being shy and discreet, folks.  

The time has come for you and the American diaspora to ROAR.


Ellen Lebelle said...

Thanks Victoria. By the way, in DC for Overseas Week, I, from AARO, shared quarters withJ, from ACA, and M, from FAWCO. That week of concentrated effort is truly a joint effort.

Victoria FERAUGE said...

@Ellen, That is so good to hear. Makes me feel much better knowing it is a collective effort and that all these organizations are working together.

@Noble Dreamer, Makes me wonder how many other allies we have overlooked.

Unknown said...

We certainly try, Victoria... so thank you for this! Anyone (perhaps like Noble Dreamer) interested in becoming part of FAWCO might look for a FAWCO club in the neighborhood...!

Tim said...

I am increasingly beginning to think that US Persons and those of US heritage living in Europe need their own organization in Brussels to represent their interests in Brussels and/or national capitals. Of course it would be completely separate from FAWCO, AARO, and ACA and would probably be seen as quite hostile the US government. However, I believe the time has come at least in Europe.

Victoria FERAUGE said...

@That or another option, Tim, is to see if we can't start up a dialogue with other migrant rights/anti-discrimination organizations in our host countries.

Unknown said...

I nominated you for a Versatile Blogger Award ... you more than meet the definition :-)

Victoria FERAUGE said...

Thank you so much, Yvonne!

Tim said...

The comments on the House Ways and Means Committee website are really starting to pile up.

Victoria FERAUGE said...

Yes, this is a good one. I'm working on something and I encourage others to do the same. It is as ACA put it "a once in a lifetime opportunity."