Building Bridges of Friendship
In late 1958, Marian Adair, the founder of Welcome Clubs International (WCI), launched a grassroots organization to bring together international women to exchange ideas and to promote friendship and understanding. The club was named Welcome to Washington International Club (WTW).
Women who participated in the Washington-based club enjoyed the experience so much so that upon returning to their native countries, many of them founded local clubs in WTW's image.
Twenty-eight years later, in 1986, Welcome Clubs International (WCI) was created. The aim was and still is to join together the various international women's clubs in their effort to build bridges of friendship, understanding, and education, without regard to political, cultural, or religious differences.
Welcome Clubs International (WCI) is a corporation, not an individual club. It is an all-volunteer non-profit organization. WCI does not fundraise or promote any charity, and it is secular and apolitical.
WCI acts as a forum for its member clubs and their individual members to communicate with each other. Member clubs are autonomous, but they all share WCI's guiding principles of being non-political and secular. Some member clubs are involved in community activities and charity work. Individual clubs have their own organizational structures.
WCI Board of Directors: A Board of Directors consisting of the President and a WCI Liaison of each member club governs WCI. Each member club has one vote on the Board. The Board sets the course for direction of the organization. The Board of Directors meets annually.
WCI Executive Committee: The Board of Directors elects the WCI President. The President appoints an Executive Committee to assist her during the term of her presidency. The WCI President has the overall responsibility for directing WCI day-to-day operations and ensuring fulfillment of WCI's goals. Both the President and the Executive Committee sit on the Board of Directors. The Executive Committee meets twice a year. The President and Executive Committee serve for a term of two years, commencing July 1 through June 30.
All member clubs of Welcome International Clubs (WCI) are autonomous and operate according to their own bylaws.
Clubs having a similar mission as Welcome Clubs International (WCI) may become affiliate members.
Associate members of women's clubs may join as associate members.
Affiliate members are individual international women's clubs:
The President of each club is a member of the WCI Board of Directors.
Individual members of each club are invited to attend WCI's biennial conferences.
Individual members of each club are eligible to serve on WCI's Executive Committee.
Each club has one vote.
Associate members are associations representing a group of international women's clubs:
Clubs belonging to an associate member are invited to attend WCI's biennial conferences.
An associate member club does not have voting rights.
Any individual club belonging to the associate member can apply for affiliate membership in WCI, at which time all affiliate member rights apply.
When women of diverse backgrounds and cultures determine to work towards a common goal, something very tangible materializes. Our organization is a global one comprised of forward-thinking leaders and women from diverse cultures and backgrounds who value friendship and cross-cultural education, and who acknowledge the enduring rewards they bring. There is much to learn from one another and a very good argument for why our organization and its member clubs deserve to thrive and flourish. Our mission of promoting friendship, understanding, and cross-cultural education becomes that much more potent when we pool our creative resources and focused intention to pursuing our shared goals.
I believe that Welcome Clubs International (WCI) can serve as an example for international organizations and communities on how to successfully integrate and work together across cultural lines and diverse regions. WCI is uniquely positioned to participate in helping to bridge cultural gaps that exist in our wider global community. Never before has the need to proactively pursue friendship and understanding across cultures been more urgent and necessary. We will continue to carry the torch our founder, Marian Adair, so timely lit in forging meaningful friendships between women of all walks of life to impact our societies and foster a peaceful environment.
There is much to do collectively, so much to learn, and much to celebrate as we work towards our common goals, together.
To enduring friendships,
Welcome Clubs International