Who we are
The International Women's Association of Bucharest
The International Women's Association of Bucharest is an independent, voluntary, charitable, non-profit and apolitical organization.
The purpose of IWA is to promote friendship amongst women of all nationalities living in Romania, and to introduce its foreign members to the life and culture of our host country.
In addition, IWA raises funds to support such charitable projects and organizations as IWA determines to be sound and worthy recipients of funding. IWA was founded in 1978 by members of the diplomatic community and local women, and became a legal association in 2000.
IWA wouldn't exist without the hard work of many women over the years. These caring volunteers from around the globe gave their time, talent and smiles in order to help other families forge connections and feel at home in Bucharest. We love you and give you our heartfelt thanks!
IWA's 40th anniversary celebration video
At a time in Romanian society, when contact and friendships with foreigners was monitored closely and generally discouraged, Evelyn Zivetz, the wife of Mr. Herman Zivetz the U.S. Cultural Attaché, wanted to make a difference in the cultural society of Romania.
In 1978, she approached the Council of Socialist Culture and Education, to request permission to form the Bucharest International Women's Association (IWA). The primary function of IWA was to provide a social network amongst the wives of the diplomats serving in Romania. It was to be an environment in which they could mix not only with each other, but also have access to Romanian Society within the tight limits that were being imposed by the Romanian government. This permission was given, however IWA would not be given legal status until 1999.
Today, IWA continues a proud legacy of cultural and charitable work in the community. The original ideals of IWA have proven to withstand the test of time; to create a safe and welcoming environment where women of diverse nationalities can find common unity in friendship, while contributing financially and voluntarily, through our charity, to their host country.
A registered association.
IWA is given legal status and thanks to the dedication of those 20 ladies at that time, IWA would flourish.
They focused on creating cultural experiences around aspects of Romanian society, they also began their charitable work.
IWA 40th Anniversary
Written for the celebration of IWA’s Pearl Anniversary, May 2008, by Renee McDannel, then volunteering as IWA’s First Vice-President
1978 was marked by many memorable and interesting events in Romania, such as the hosting of the 20th International Mathematics Olympiad, the 10th Anniversary of the 'Prague Spring,’ and the founding of the Ecologist Party. Nicolae Ceaușescu and his wife Elena were invited in 1978 to Britain to meet the Queen. This groundbreaking move marked the Romanian attempts to break free of Soviet control.
Today, IWA continues this proud legacy of cultural and charitable work in the community. The IWA membership ranks have swelled to over two-hundred and charitable contributions under the auspices of IWA have judiciously found their way into Romanian based charitable organizations. There original ideals of IWA have proven to withstand the test of time; to create a safe and welcoming environment where women of diverse nationalities can find common unity in friendship, while making charitable monetary and volunteer service contributions to their host country.
IWA Volunteer Board
Past Presidents since IWA was registered in 2000:
2021-2022 Samantha Petcu (Guyana / United States)
2020-2021 Liana Minasyan (Armenia)
2019 – 2020 Terry O’Donnell Parsons (United States)
2018 – 2019 Gladys Abankwa-Meier-Klodt (Ghana / Germany)
2017 – 2018 Ximena Alexandra Reyes (Chile / Sweden / Ecuador)
2015 – 2017 Terry O’Donnell Parsons (United States)
2014 – 2015 Jessica Townsend (United States)
2013 – 2014 Urga Denize (Mongolia)
2012 – 2013 Patti Golden (United States)
2011 – 2012 Anne Hutton (United Kingdom)
2009 – 2011 Erzsebet Bajtai (Hungary)
2008 – 2009 Irina Budrina Geets (Russia)
2007 – 2008 Tesca Barnett-Osman (United Kingdom)
2006 – 2007 Omaima Goher (Egypt)
and Josy Van der Stock Verrijt (Netherlands)
2005 – 2006 Peggy Bates (United States)
2003 – 2005 Sharah Shelee (United Kingdom)
2002 Nevena Milkova
2001 Mavis Mitchell
1999 – 2000 Ursula Groeger (Austria)
IWA became a legal voluntary, charitable, non-profit, non-political and non-religious organization at the turn of the century thanks to the dedication of:
Ursula Groeger (Austria)
Ruth Collins (Canada)
Bonnia Bezmalinovic (Croatia)
Angelika Kraus (Germany)
Heinze Kirtcheva (Germany)
Graf Heike (Germany)
Petra Mueller Demary (Germany)
Antoinette C. E. Moorrees (Holland)
Georgiana Pogonaru (Romania)
Lucia M. Ban (Romania)
Daniela Kammrath (Romania)
Melike E. Roman (Romania)
Iris I. Pungan (Romania)
Diana L. Zotescu (Romania)
Gertrude Stefan (Romania)
Marie Jeanne Joseph (Switzerland)
Sheilah Kast (United States)
Jemma V. E. Marlor (United Kingdom)
Joy P. Croome (United Kingdom)