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 friends and family ask me what WCI is all about, I answer with one word. Friendship. What a beautifully simple and meaningful concept. Marian Adair knew from the start that each of us is in it for the same reason – we enjoy each other immensely.
Through a focus on relationships, Welcome Clubs International has grown to where we are today. The United Nations has seen it in us. We have much to share with the world, and after a long, venerable history, it feels in some ways like we are just getting started.
Now we are at an exciting crossroad. It will be up to us to decide how we develop our relationship with the UN over the coming years. Our organizational values of friendship and understanding will guide us. There will be new educational opportunities for our members, new partnerships with organizations similar to ours in their worldview of cultural understanding. There is much to look forward to. Our future is bright.
I’ve had the privilege to be mentored by several past WCI presidents. Their advice to me? Build on the work of previous presidents and keep moving forward one small step at a time.
It is a great honor to take on the presidency of an organization that has given me so much. I am looking very much forward to being part of WCI’s history and working together with you to create our shared future.
Welcome Clubs International