In late 1958, the late President Dwight D. Eisenhower presented his initiative, “People to People,” with the intent of promoting international peace through the development of personal relationships across international borders. In response, Marian Adair, wife of a US Congressman from Indiana, launched a grassroots organization which quickly spread across borders and became known as Welcome Clubs International.
Marian founded the Welcome to Washington International Club (W/W) in 1959. As the wife of a Congressman, Marian attended many diplomatic functions. She quickly realized that diplomatic wives lacked exposure to American culture and society. Welcome to Washington was chartered to fill this gap.
Many international members thought the concept of W/W very appealing. Upon returning to their native countries, many women founded local clubs in W/W’s image. As the number of clubs grew, a need arose for an organization to promote closer ties and encourage communication among member clubs. This requirement was fulfilled in 1986 with the founding of WCI.
WCI’s purpose is to bring together international women’s clubs throughout the world, acting as a forum for the exchange of ideas. Our goal, to promote friendship and understanding among women of all cultures, is ESSENTIAL. WCI promotes relationships free from political, cultural and religious differences.
WCI is growing rapidly in size and management, continuously expanding its services to members. Communications have improved substantially. Our newsletter grew into a biennial magazine, theLINK (formerly the “Worldwide Link”). Our website offers immediate access to WCI activity reports and sponsored publications. Biennial Conferences, open to all club members, were established. To date, conferences have taken place in London, Brussels, Denver, Zurich, Naples Florida, Istanbul, Taipei, Washington DC, San Diego California, Porto Alegre, Brazil, Hamburg and Prague.
Marian had a vision nearly 60 years ago. That vision lives on, encompassing more than 20 clubs with individual members representing over 90 nationalities worldwide. WCI members serve as citizen diplomats in the quest to understand our cultural and social differences.