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Events 2011-2012

  • Thursday, March 29, 2012 6:02 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Boston Restaurant Week is a great time to try a new restaurant for a good price.  The IWCB Lunch Bunch took advantage of this opportunity to try Haru Sushi on Huntington Avenue.

  • Sunday, March 11, 2012 5:41 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    A group of members and their partners and friends attended Boston Ballet’s Performance  “Play with Fire” on Sunday, March 11th.

    Before the performance, they met for lunch next door at Salvatore Restaurant.

    “Play with Fire” is a trio of contemporary works — Sharp Side of Dark features large-scale architectural sets and a haunting lighting design; Bella Figura is tangibly sensual in its adoration and reverence towards the human body and contains partial nudity; Rooster is a hugely popular work by British choreographer Christopher Bruce, set to 8 classic Rolling Stones songs.

    Thank you Leona for organizing.

  • Thursday, March 08, 2012 9:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Maria V describes the fascinating life stories of her heroines from Spanish History in her own words below:

    “Spain has always been said to be a country of contradictions and paradox, and in this matter it definitely was. In early 1931, Spanish women had been granted the right to be candidates in elections, but amazingly they did not have the right to vote.

    In this scenario, two women were chosen representatives for the Chamber of Congress in 1931: Clara Campoamor and Victoria Kent.

    Clara Campoamor

    Clara, was born in 1888, was one of the first women to go to University (Access for women to University was open in 1910) – she studied Laws – and one of the first lawyer women. She was also a writer and finally she got involved in politics.

    When she was elected for Congress, she devoted herself to obtain equal rights for women and the right to vote. She had to put up a very difficult fight, not only against the men in Congress, but also against the one she thought would be her only ally, and turned out to be her worst enemy instead: Victoria Kent.

    Clara was asking for the long delayed right to vote to be effective immediately. On the other hand, Victoria, said that most women were not prepared or ready to vote wisely yet, so the right should be postponed. As you can imagine, this was a terrible hinder in the way: the image of the 2 only women in Congress disagreeing about  such a basic topic for women, was not exactly helping Clara convince the Chamber.

    But, the hidden reason was that Victoria was put there by her political party with the purpose of having a female voice opposing Clara, so it would appear, that she was not representing all women. Being politically left winged, she feared that women, being very influenced by church in the strongly catholic Spanish society, would choose a conservative vote, therefore to the detriment of the socialist and communist parties.

    But Clara was a very brilliant woman and never gave up. With a series of superior speeches, she unveiled all hidden reasons, and got what she wanted. She used to say that there is one thing that only one of the genders can do, and that is to give birth. All the rest, we can do both. Unfortunately after this milestone, things got difficult for Spain, as we were approaching a dark history time.

    It was the second Republic, our King Alfonso XIII was exiled in Rome, and there was a military insurrection, after which General Franco proclaimed himself dictator after a civil war. He was dictator for over 30 years.

    Before his death, in 1975, our present King was crowned and named head of State, parliament was restored, and we peacefully transitioned to a democratic system. At this moment women retook the process of gaining their rights, and that year they were granted full legal capacity, not subject to their husbands anymore, and total equal rights were detailed in the Constitution of 1978.

    The following is an introduction to some of my favourite female characters of the history of Spain.

    Elizabeth I

    The first one goes 600 years back in time. Elisabeth I of Trastamara was marrying Ferdinand II of Aragon in 1469. They were given the title Catholic Monarchs by the Pope Alexander VI, who was Spanish too. With this marriage, the crowns of Castile and Aragon merged, and for the first time we have a united Spain.

    Elisabeth was a very strong willed woman and was directly in charge of every matter: economic or politic. She even went to all war campaings. She was there in the siege of Granada, the last city still occupied by the Arabs, whom Spain had been fighting for 800 years. There, the last of their kings: Boabdil finally was defeated and had to hand out the keys of the citadel.

    Also, she played a prominent role in sending Columbus to America, which triggered the expansion of the Spanish great Empire, in which we say that the sun never set, which lasted till the XVII century. She was the most powerful queen, in totally equal terms to her husband.

    The coat of arms depicted the symbols of both names, and the kingdom motto was a very famous one: ‘Tanto monta, monta tanto, Isabel como Fernando’, which means that both had equal power and authority. This sentence is commonly used still nowadays to refer to whatever things are exactly the same.

    Isabel was a person eager for knowledge and culture, and with that in mind, trying to have access to more reading, she hired as her Latin teacher, a young woman aged 20, called Beatriz Galindo.

    Beatriz Galindo

    Beatriz was an expert in Latin studies and widely acknowledged in Madrid by intellectuals of her time. She was commonly known as ‘La latina’, the latin one. (Have in mind Rome and the Latin language, not South America, which came much later)

    So, she became Queen Elisabeth teacher and, soon, due to her sharp mind and common sense, she became also her personal counselor, and dear friend.

    She was concerned about social contribution, and she founded a hospital in Madrid, for people without economic resources. The hospital became so popular that it was exclusively sustained only by donations of the ladies of the high society. The hospital had a name but nobody knows what it was, because it was known of course, as ‘the hospital of la Latina’.

    And, when, after the years, it finally disappeared, the name remained for the whole neighbourhood. This district in Madrid is still called the suburbia of La Latina. Those who have been in Madrid may have heard of it, or been there, as it is quite known for its night life.

    Eleonor of Castile

    Now, I want to go back in time even further, year 1254 to another wedding: the wedding of Eleanor of Castile and the king of England Edward I. She was 13 when she got married and he must have been around 16. It was an arranged marriage for political reasons like most in that time.

    The reason why I like her so much is because she managed to have an incredibly happy marriage, against all odds. They had 15 or 16 children.

    She was said to be very beautiful and refined, and our history says that the English people loved her very much. Definitely her husband did and she loved him dearly too, to the extent that she went with him everywhere, even when he went to the crusades. The 8th one.

    There is a story about this journey, in which Edward got poisoned either by a poisoned arrow, dagger or snake. The details are not clear.

    However, what all the stories say is that she saved his life by sucking the poisoned blood at the risk of her own life. I used to love this story when I was little. I thought she was so romantic and brave.

    When she died at 49, Edward ordered to build 12 crosses on every stop that the funeral procession made from Lincoln to London. She is buried in Westminster Abbey. Now only 3 crosses are still standing: Geddington, Hardinstone (Northampton) and Waltham.  The last cross, that was in London was south of Trafalgar Square and it was later destroyed, but they built a monument replica in front of the Charing Cross station.

    Also, another influence of Eleanor is the name Elephant and Castle, that you can see in many places in England, for areas, or pubs, or inns, an underground station. There is not total agreement in the origin of such a strange name, and many people confuse her with another Infanta of Castile that married years after, but most historians coincide that the name derives from Eleanor of Castile: ‘La Infanta of Castile’ (the royal child of Castile), which was corrupted over time to become Elephant and Castle.

    **(The pub-restaurant in Boston with that name is in 161 Devonshire St, Boston, MA 02110, USA)

    Now we go forward in time 500 years and we are fighting France. Napoleon Bonaparte who was trying to invade Spain. England was an ally at that moment, and Lord Wellington came to help us. One of his campaigns was to liberate the city of Badajoz, which they did.

    Juana de Leon

    The city was dangerous after the fight, and it happened that 2 sisters, went to the English camp asking for protection. They had lost their family in the fight and their house had been destroyed.  The smallest one was 14 years old and was called Juana de Leon. They were actually members of a noble family, the daughters of the regent of Badajoz and descendants of Ponce de Leon, the explorer who conquered and was first governor of Puerto Rico in the 1400 and first explorer of Florida.  One of the lieutenants was called Harry Smith, and he took care of the girls and fell in love with Juana, marrying her after a few days.  And this is when she joins my club of favourites, because she had the chance to go safely to England with his family, but she decided to follow him till the end of the war and ever after. She had great charm and courage and was highly esteemed by the troops and Lord Wellington.

    Harry served in Waterloo and other destinations, had a brilliant career and was made Sir and governor of Cape Colony in South Africa. Juana kept her origins and identity even there in South Africa and always wore the classical Spanish shawl called ‘mantilla’ and the hair ornament called ‘peineta’, for all official receptions. She had great influence in the society of Cape Colony and had a town named after her: Ladysmith.

    And this town has a twin town in Canada, in the isle of Vancouver also named Ladysmith after the one in Africa in memory of a siege that it suffered around 1900.  If we stay at the same time – 1808, same war, we can meet a heroine of my club, this time in Zaragoza, capital of Aragon, which was being sieged by the French.

    Agustina Aragon

    A group of soldiers were guarding one of the gates of the city, the gate of Portillo and a young artillery man was in charge of the cannon. The French army chose that gate to break into the city and attacked. At that precise moment, the wife of the artilleryman, arrived to the gate to take some food to his husband, and found every soldier either dead of injured. She saw the French soldiers coming in through the breach and without hesitation, she took a torch and fired the cannon. The French troops fearing an ambush, retreated while more defenders came to help, so she saved the city at that moment.

    She was called Agustina and was 22. At the battle field, she was appointed first artillery women in the army and from then onward she was known as Agustina of Aragon, and became an icon of bravery and an inspiration for the resistance, with which she continued collaborating after the final liberation.The Spanish painter Goya depicted her portrait firing the cannon and Lord Byron made her a poem.

    Maria Moliner

    Finally, at present time, I would like to mention 2 last remarkable women. Maria Moliner was born in 1900 in Zaragoza, and was also one of the first women to access university. Among other things, she was a philologist and lexicologist.  She was also the Director of the Engineering University of Madrid.

    But her most popular contribution to culture was a contribution to the language. She created a dictionary called ‘Dictionary for the correct use of Spanish language’ in 1966. The use of this dictionary is so commonly spread that it is still very often mentioned and used by journalists and writers, over the official Royal Academy dictionary. It is simply known as the dictionary of Maria Moliner.

    But the real reason why she is in my club of favourites is that she worked on all this, while she was married, taking care of her 4 children, and her husband, who was blind. That is really work-family conciliation!!

    Margarita Salas

    Finally, Margarita Salas, Marquis of Canero was born in Asturias in 1938 and is now 74 years old. She was a disciple of Severo Ochoa, the Spanish Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1959 and worked with him in the United States. She is a specialist in molecular biology. Member of several Royal Academies in Spain, and member of the American Academies of microbiology and Arts of Science.  Since 2007 she is the first Spanish woman to be a member of the American National Academy of Science.

    I admire her deeply because of her professional career, and because she is a real fighter, and an indefatigable investigator. At 74, she is still actively doing research work. She has all sorts of awards and honorific titles to honour her successful professional career and her multiple contributions to science”.

  • Thursday, March 08, 2012 5:57 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    IWCB Cultural Exchange Program, Thursday, March 08, 2012
    Dear Members,
    The Cultural Meeting of Thursday March 08, 2012 fell on INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’s DAY. It was a fortunate coincidence and we took the opportunity to talk about the heroic women who paved the way for the freedoms we take for granted in our everyday life.

    The Cultural Program was attended by the following IWCB Members:

    Eileen B, Farida K, Doris C, Robin G, Maria V, Lalitha R, Sandra C, Brigitte F, Brigitte K, Marie-Alice G, Nancy S, Linda Z, Ann B.

    Marie-Alice designed an IWCB Banner.  Everyone present signed it.  It is a work in progress which Marie-Alice will continue to decorate.  She wants to include quotes that are meaningful to the members and invites you to send her your favorite quotes. The banner will be circulated and all members will have an opportunity to sign the banner at one of the event.

    The International Women’s Day Lunch as usual was an enjoyable social event. The potluck menu consisted of chicken salad & croissants, savory tofu nuggets, cocktail meatballs, toast with goat cheese & pepper jam, bagels & hummus, forbidden rice, faro salad, sushi,rice cakes, banana bread with walnuts, lemon squares, lemon poppy seed loaf, cookies and coffee.

    In honor of IWD, the program was a celebration of the lives of both contemporary and historic women who were strong outspoken leaders and influencers.

    Lalitha introduced the program by narrating briefly the history of International Women’s Day (IWD).  To get a comprehensive history of the IWD movement and its activities around the globe today, Lalitha encourages you to please visit their page.

    Did you know that since 2000, IWD is now an official holiday in Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, China (for women only), Cuba, Georgia, Guinea-Bissau, Eritrea, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Madagascar (for women only), Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Nepal (for women only), Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam and Zambia?  The tradition sees men honoring their mothers, wives, girlfriends and colleagues with flowers and small gifts. In some countries IWD has the equivalent status of Mother’s Day where children give small presents to their mothers and grandmothers.

    Lalitha then spoke of her childhood experience.  As an ex-pat child, Lalitha was born in India and raised in Europe, in a very loving but very protective patriarchal home environment.  She reflected on the constraints she struggled and grew up with just because she was a female.  She did not enjoy the same freedoms as her brothers and European and American classmates.  Today, living in the US as a self-actualized adult, she never takes for granted the liberties she enjoys, basic liberties which, in 2012, are still denied to women in many countries across the world.

    She then introduced the first speaker, Maria V.  Maria spoke about eight Spanish women in history who paved the way to equal rights in Spain. What follows are the stories of these extraordinary women who Maria admires greatly.
    1.    Clara Campoamor
    2.    Elisabeth I of Trastamara
    3.    Beatriz Galindo
    4.    Eleanor of Castile
    5.    Juana de Leon
    6.    Agustina of Aragon
    7.    Maria Moliner
    8.    Margarita Salas

    Linda Z. was the second speaker for the program.  She spoke passionately about her heroine, Eve Ensler who is an activist on a mission to end violence against women and girls.

    Thank you and see you all soon!
    Lalitha R

  • Thursday, March 08, 2012 5:56 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Eve Ensler – a woman on a mission to end violence against women and girls.

    In 1994, a play called The Vagina Monologues, written by playwright and activist Eve Ensler, broke ground, offering to the world a piece of art like nothing it had seen before. Based on dozens of interviews Ensler conducted with women, the play addressed women’s sexuality and the social stigma surrounding rape and abuse, creating a new conversation about and with women.

    The Vagina Monologues ran Off-Broadway for five years in New York and then toured the United States. After every performance, Ensler found women waiting to share their own stories of survival, leading her to see that The Vagina Monologues could be more than a moving work of art on violence; she divined that the performances could be a mechanism for moving people to act to end violence.

    On Valentines Day, 1998, Eve, with a group of women in New York City, established V-Day. Set up as a 501(c)(3) and originally staffed by volunteers, the organization’s seed money came from a star-studded, sold out benefit performance at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York, a show that raised $250,000 in a single evening.

    V-Day’s mission is simple. It demands that violence against women and girls must end. To do this, once a year, in February, March, and April, Eve allows groups around the world to produce a performance of the play, as well as other works created by V-Day, and use the proceeds for local individual projects and programs that work to end violence against women and girls, often shelters and rape crisis centers. What began as one event in New York City in 1998 today includes over 5,800 V-Day events annually.

    Linda Z was actively involved and on the Board of a group in Concord, MA which produced and performed “The Vagina Monologues.” She talked about her involvement with the organization.  She also had a table set up with a video playing, and had books and articles that described the organization and its activities.

    V-Day generates broader attention for the fight to stop violence against women and girls, including rape, battery, incest, female genital mutilation (FGM), and sex slavery. Read more about the organization, get involved or support it.
    The V-Day movement is growing at a rapid pace throughout the world, in 140 countries from Europe to Asia, Africa and the Caribbean and all of North America.  V-Day, which is a non-profit corporation, distributes funds to grassroots, national and international organizations and programs that work to stop violence against women and girls.

  • Tuesday, February 21, 2012 5:53 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    On Feb. 21, a group of Club members gathered at the Border Cafe to say goodby to Sam.  She and her husband spent 3 years in the Boston area and are now returning to Rochester, New York.  During her time with the club, Sam made nametags, helped with the Cooking Club and added a lot to the general hilarity of many events.  She will be missed, but promises to come back and visit.

    - Submitted by Joann

  • Saturday, February 18, 2012 5:51 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    It was a well attended, fun evening. Hope to see y’all in March.

  • Thursday, February 09, 2012 5:44 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Cultural Exchange Program on Thursday, February 09, 2012

    The theme for the Cultural Meeting of Thursday February 09, 2012 was
    • Cambodia – The Dances and the Culture
    • Valentine’s Day – Intercultural, cross-cultural relationships.

    The program was well attended:
    IWCB Members: Eka, Maria, Mary S.,Lalitha, Sandra, Lisa, Brigitte F., Brigitte K., Marie -Alice, Nancy, Iko, Joanne, Natalia, Stella, Mary Louise H.

    The Dancer/Artist: Mrs. Chanthey P, her daughter Kallianne, her husband Mr. Pere P

    Special Guests: Mr. Vernon K., Hattie

    Valentine’s Day Lunch:

    The Valentine’s Theme lunch included a wonderful array of foods: Vegetable Quiches,  Savory Finger Foods, Spicy Coconut Rice, Cheese Platters, hot & cold Salads, Valentine’s Day Cookies, desserts like Romanian Nalesniki (sweet pancakes) and more.
    We reversed the usual order of events to accommodate the program format. We started with the Dance Program followed by a Q & A session. We then broke up for lunch. During the lunch break some of the members joined Mrs. Chantey on the stage to learn the steps of one of the folk dances. We have some very talented members as you can see in the video clips on the Cambodian Dance page. Enjoy!

    Valentine’s Day Stories:

    During the last 20-30 minutes of the program, two of our members, Marie-Alice and Iko shared their personal stories of how they met their husbands and their experiences being part of an intercultural relationship raising a family.

    Marie-Alice spoke of how as a Belgian living in Louisiana, she and her French roommate shared the King’s Day cake and custom with their friends and a neighbor, where the person who is crowned King has to designate a Queen.  As it turned out the neighbor they had invited won the crown and he eventually asked Marie-Alice to be his Queen for life. They then lived in Iran as ex-pats where, as a young mother, she was struck by a comment made by a local woman who wisely told her that the best way to raise children in two cultures was to pick and choose the best things from each. Finally, Marie-Alice shared her favorite quote on love: “Aimer, ce n’est pas se regarder l’un l’autre, c’est regarder ensemble dans la même direction.” Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
    This translates to: “Love is not to look at each other, rather it is to look together in the same direction”.

    Iko talked about her relationship as being “inter-intelligent”, intercultural and international. She gave us an account of her life growing up in Japan in the 1940’s. Because it was wartime, even though she and her family lived in a safe zone in a valley surrounded by mountains, they had to use food stamps to get their ration of food. She still has memories of the acute hunger.  Over time, she worked for a TV station, then moved to the US and got married.

    The Khmer Dance Program:

    Kallianne did the introductions and spoke on behalf of her mother, Chanthey.

    Kallianne gave a brief description of Cambodian dance and explained how it intertwined with her mother’s life. Here is the story of Mrs. Chantey as recounted to her daughter:

    My name is Chanthey. I was born in Phnom Penh.  As a young girl, I loved to dance. I started performing since when I was 8 years old at an elementary school in Cambodia. My dance teacher was also a school teacher. She learned to dance from the Royal Palace. She had taught me and my friends a Royal Court dance named Chau Duong.

    At the end of every school year, I always competed in the dance category with other schools and won the top prize. I performed for Prince Norodom Sihanouk on a few occasions and for tourists that came to visit Cambodia.

    On April 17, 1975, the day the Khmer Rouge took over the capital city, Phnom Penh, my husband and I having only been married for a month, left our beloved homeland. Shortly after that, I was living in Mobile, Alabama and performing at the International Festival – an event which represents approximately 50 countries every year.

    In Massachusetts, I have been working for the Lowell Public School system for 10 years as a bilingual assistant. Nearly every year, I am in charge of teaching traditional folk dances to my students to perform at the school’s Cambodian New Year celebration which happens mid April.

    Following the introduction, Kallianne’s Mom performed three very popular Cambodian social dances. They are Rom WongRom Kbach, and Rom Saravan. These dances are performed at special occasions such as Cambodian New Year, wedding, birthdays, and anniversary parties. No one knows if these casual dances have any meaning. One suggested explanation on why most of the social dances are done in circles is that if there are unmarried couples dancing, there is to be no touching.
    Mrs. Chantey ended the performance by demonstrating a few parts of the classical dance, Chauv Duong.


    Rom Wong:  This is a simplified dance at a fast pace going around the dance floor in a circle.
    Rom Kbach:  This dance uses the same hand movements as in Rom Wong, but with more complex footwork involving criss-crossing the feet and danced at a slower pace. This is also done in a circle.
    Rom Saravan:  This dance is not done in a circle. The pairs dance in front of each other with feet going back and forth and the hands are curved and criss-crossed in front of the body at the hip level. The music is fast paced.

    FUN FACTS: It is an interesting fact that social dances from around the world have had an impact on Cambodian social culture include the Cuban Cha-cha-cha, the Spanish Bolero, and the Madison – a sort of electric slide type line dance well loved by young, modern adults which came to Cambodia by the French, but was originally from the U.S.-Columbus, Ohio to be exact.


    Mrs. Chanthey ended the performance by demonstrating parts of the Royal Court Ballet dance called Chauv Duong.

    Background: Royal Court Ballet, as the name suggests, began in the palace. It was originally performed as a form of religious prayer to the deities and ancestors to protect the Khmer kingdom – its people, harvest, and king. You can find evidence of this on the walls of temples in Siem Reap, Cambodia such as Angkor Wat and the Bayon. These temples were built in the 12th century.

    Chau Duong: This dance depicts maidens having fun together in a garden. While picking flowers, they build beautiful garlands and wreaths which they adorn themselves. Chau Duong is traditionally performed at important ceremonies, as well as to welcome and entertain guests. The words and gestures of the dance compare the tenderness and beauty of young Khmer women to those of nature and especially to those flowers. You will see in the attached pictorial description the meaning of some of the hand gestures in Khmer classical dance.

    This classical dance is famous for its use of hands and feet to express emotion. The dance style evokes highly stylized movement and 4,000 different gestures. These movements are used to tell a story without using any words. It is the abstract style of storytelling that stirs the imagination.

    Before every performance, classical dancers pray to the dance master spirits to give them good luck and protection.

    FUN FACTS FROM HISTORY: At the 1906 Colonial Exposition in Marseilles, France, King Sisowath’s royal court dancers performed. Auguste Rodin was captivated by the Cambodian dancers and painted a series of water colors of the dancers. Since then, Khmer classical dance has reached a growing public audience where it now remains a celebrated icon of Khmer culture, often being performed during public events, holidays, and for tourists visiting Cambodia.

    - submitted by Lalitha

  • Friday, February 03, 2012 5:10 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Iko, the Minister of Fun for our Club, prepared a lunch of traditional Japanese New Year foods . The pictures say it all.

  • Thursday, January 12, 2012 8:53 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Diana and Doris were both unable to attend and talk about the Chinese New Year festivities.
    Some interesting facts, nonetheless. It is important to note that 2012 is the year of the Dragon in China.

    Chinese New Year is the longest and most important celebration in the Chinese calendar. The Chinese year 4710 begins on Jan. 23, 2012.
    Chinese months are reckoned by the lunar calendar, with each month beginning on the darkest day. New Year festivities traditionally start on the first day of the month and continue until the fifteenth, when the moon is brightest.

    Breathing Fire into the New Year: Legend has it that in ancient times, Buddha asked all the animals to meet him on Chinese New Year. Twelve came, and Buddha named a year after each one. He announced that the people born in each animal’s year would have some of that animal’s personality. Those born in dragon years are innovative, brave, and passionate.
    Just for fun, here are the birth years for the Dragon:

    The dragon enjoys a very high reputation in Chinese culture. It is the token of authority, dignity, honor, success, luck, and capacity. In ancient China, a dragon was thought to speed across the sky with divine power. Emperors entitled themselves exclusively as ‘dragon'; their thrones were called ‘dragon thrones’, their clothes ‘dragon gowns’.

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