International Affairs

Legislative Chair: Senator Pam Roach (WA)


Overview of NFWL's International Affairs Policy Committee

The National Foundation for Women Legislators (NFWL) is a registered Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) with the United Nations. NFWL's International Affairs Policy Committee is a forum in which American elected women join together to find ways to collaborate with leaders across the globe, increasing women's political participation and leadership abroad as well as establishing stronger economic and cultural ties between the United States and other countries. In addition, NFWL seeks to expand mutually beneficial economic, educational and political relationships and to expose rising world leaders to other perspectives in the global equation.

NFWL's International Affairs Policy Committee focuses on policy initiatives aimed at expanding the experience and exposure of elected women from all levels of government to international affairs and organizes educational trips for women from the U.S. to travel to other nations and grow professionally and personally through interaction and dialogue with women leaders in other countries. This two-tiered approach, supporting and empowering women both domestically and abroad, is key to the long-term success of women leaders globally and to ensuring that women have the experience, knowledge and credibility to gain a stronger voice in representative democracy.

Overall, NFWL's international activities focus on building trade and economic relationships, promoting credible and fair elections, empowering and supporting women in positions of political and community leadership, and building relationships that allow for mutual trust and understanding.

NFWL works with the U.S. Department of State, American and foreign NGOs, and foreign embassies to provide educational programming for women leaders who travel to the U.S. With the aim of educating, inspiring, and establishing international bonds of cooperation, NFWL arranges educational meetings, trips and networking events for visiting foreign women leaders with their American women counterparts. Whereas many other organizations are limited to purely theoretical and academic training of women leaders, NFWL's network of experienced elected women can identify with emerging women leaders across the globe and share insight and advice gained from years of public leadership. Starting with Costa Rica in 1993, NFWL has worked with the U.S. Department of State and the embassies of foreign nations to travel to countries around the world including Guatemala, Mexico, Czech Republic, Honduras, Bahrain, Taiwan, Iraq, Jordan, and India.

Working With India to Promote Economic Growth

In January 2011 NFWL sent a delegation of six elected women leaders who are working to promote economic development within our nation's borders, to India.

NFWL was invited by M. Sahu, Principal Secretary for the Industries & Mines Department, Government of Gujaratm in India, to bring a key group of elected women from the United States to India to attend the "Vibrant Gujarat 2011" Conference he hosted, to encourage dialogue that would allow for entities in the United States and India to work together to promote economic growth and development within both nations. NFWL partnered with the Alliance for U.S.-India Business (AUSIB) to organize a small delegation of women leaders from across the United States to travel to India. This trip provided key leaders in both Gujarat and the United States with a unique opportunity to strengthen ties and promote increased dialogue, economic growth, and build strong relationships.

The trip was a great success and allowed NFWL to facilitate lasting partnerships between business and government entities in both nations. The elected women who served on NFWL's Delegation to India continue to maintain the valuable relationships that they forged on this trip and hope to return to India for a follow-up visit.

NFWL Delegation Members Who Traveled to India in January 2011 Include:

  • Senator Swati Dandekar, (IA)
  • Councilwoman Joyce Dickerson, (SC)
  • Representative Nita Hutter, (LA)
  • Representative Juanita Head Walton,(MO)
  • Councilwoman Tina Ward-Pugh, (KY)
  • Christyl Johnson, Deputy Director, Science & Technology, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Pictures from NFWL's 2011 Delegation to India

American Women Leaders Support Democratic Elections in Iraq

In March 2010, a delegation of U.S. elected women from across the nation, selected by the National Foundation for Women Legislators (NFWL) in conjunction with the U.S. Department of State, traveled to Baghdad to oversee the historic Iraqi elections.

NFWL was one of only two groups of Americans that were invited to oversee the Iraqi elections that took place on March 7, 2010. The other group that accompanied NFWL's delegation included former Members of Congress. Women leaders were invited to join this delegation to lend their integrity and experience to a process that is new to the citizens of Iraq. They were asked to monitor the elections and mentor women leaders.

There are over one million widows in Iraq, many very highly educated, and there was a requirement that 25% of the candidates on the ballot be women. NFWL was charged with bringing a calm and credible presence to the elections while advocating the importance of free and fair elections to the stability of Iraq and the United States' national security.

NFWL's Delegation of Election Observers Included:

  • Representative Maria Chappelle-Nadal (MO)
  • Representative Bette Grande (ND)
  • Representative Gayle Harrell (FL)
  • Representative Helene Keeley (DE)
  • Representative Susana Mendoza (IL)
  • Representative Debbie Riddle (TX)
  • Representative Diane Winston (LA)

Photo Galleries from the Iraq/Jordan Trip:

Stopover in Amman, Jordan

Election Day in Baghdad

Meeting Iraqi Women Candidates

Dinner with U.S. Soldiers in Baghdad

Iraq and Jordan


Growing Support for Taiwan

The National Foundation for Women Legislators has worked in support of maintaining a diplomatic relationship with Taiwan. NFWL members travelled to Taiwan in 2008 and in 2005 to meet with government leaders to discuss trade and economic policy. The trips afforded them the opportunity to learn firsthand a great deal about Taiwan's strong friendship with the United States and their need for US support in the global community.

The members of NFWL's Delegations to Taiwan experienced the Taiwanese people's remarkable perseverance and ability to remain positive about a democratic future.

NFWL's 2008 Delegation included:

  • Senator Linda Coleman (AL)
  • Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava (NY)
  • Senator Martha Scott (MI)
  • Representative Lana Gordon (KS)
  • Senator Peggy Palmer (KS)
  • Representative Fran Amos(MI)
  • Representative Phyllis Katsakiores (NH)
  • Representative Annie Mobley (NC)

NFWL's 2005 Delegation included:

  • Senator Irma Clark-Coleman (MI)
  • Representative Faye B. Culp (FL)
  • Representative Lynn Finnegan (HI)
  • Representative Pamela Gorman (AZ)
  • Representative Joni Jenkins (KY)
  • Representative Mary Lou Marzian (KY)
  • Representative Judy Morrison (KS)
  • Senator Rebecca Rios (AZ)
  • Representative Juanita Head Walton (MO)
  • Representative Diane Winston (LA)

Exploring Growth in Trade with Bahrain

In 2004, a Delegation of NFWL's leaders travelled to the Kingdom of Bahrain to observe the cultural, economic and political climate of this Middle Eastern country. This trip was conceived to give American political leaders a "hands on opportunity" to meet with the people of Bahrain and to evaluate the reforms the government was advocating.

Items on the delegations agenda included: visits with the King of Bahrain; interviews with the Finance and Business Ministers; opportunities to engage in direct conversations with ordinary Bahrain citizens; and visits to local organizations and institutions designed to bring about social and economic reforms.

Delegation members were particularly impressed by the role of women in modern Bahraini society, noting that many women had achieved laudable positions within business and government, such as the Minister of Health.

Members of this Delegation Included:

  • Representative Catherine Ceips (SC)
  • Representative Faye Culp (FL)
  • Senator Eileen Daily (CT)
  • Dr. Sandra Dowling, Superintendent, Maricopa County Schools (AZ)
  • Representative Gayle Harrell (FL)
  • Lieutenant Governor Carole Hillard (SD)
  • Secretary of Agriculture Patty Judge (IA)
  • Representative Jane Powdrell-Culbert (NM)
  • Senator Martha Scott (MI)
  • Mary Wilson, Founding Member of "The Supremes"
  • Representative Diane Winston (LA)
  • Ambassador Sameer Zakhem (US)

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