Paraguay/Brazil Delegation Tour Group Selected–Registration will open July 1

June 29, 2011

June 23rd MEETING:  Tour operator selected.

The June 16th meeting, reviewed the delegation itinerary.  Two tour operators were reviewed.  The delegation will finalize the trip using Global Exchange.  Global Exchange was less expensive and has extensive experience working with NGO’s and social and political and economic issues.

Beginning July 1, AWIU will open the application process.
The delegation is open to all AWIU members.  The cost of the Land and “in country” airfaire is $3100.  Each delegation member will provide their own airfare to Paraguay and back from Brazil.

NEXT MEETING:  July 7, 2011.  Future meetings will focus on the specific meetings with ngo’s and political organizations–first for  Brazil.  Paraguay meetings are being organized by Cynthia Bendlin, International Women of Courage awardee 2008.

All interested parties whether members of AWIU or not are welcome.  See, Virtual Chapter 2 for details of meetings.


Sao Paulo Chosen as Brazil Anchor City

May 27, 2011

At the Meeting on the 25th, Sao Paulo was selected as the Anchor City for the Brazil part of the delegation. 

At the meeting, Joan McEachern and Robin Winter Odem gave an encompassing description of Sao Paulo from its founding in 1554 by Catholic missionaries to its current role as the largest city in Brazil and the seventh largest city in the world.

They recommended that those interested in participating in the trip should learn more at See a detailed description of the history and current status of this vibrant city. 

Binka Le Breton (contact of Robin Winter Odem, Chicago Chapter Chair) is a resident of Brazil and has volunteered to be involved in the event planning for our group in Brazil.  She is a well known author of four books reflecting Brazilian history and life style.  Her husband is an international agricultural economist and some twenty years ago they established The Iracombi Rainforest Research Center on a farm in Brazil.  Her most recent book “Where The Road Ends:  A Home in the Brazilian Rainforest” is a description of that achievement.

After discussion, the Chapter approved an October  delegation of 12 days including travel days from the United States.  The cost is estimated to be $3500 to $4000 including airfare from the United States.  The Pre and Post Trips are an additional cost.

HERE IS THE PROPOSED ITINERARY:  This trip is awaiting AWIU Board Approval on June 3.



DATES:  October 16, 2011- to 28, 2011.  With potential Pre and Post Trips

PRE TRIP       October 14-15, 2011       Pre Trip—Iguazu Falls

OFFICIAL DELEGATION  October 16-20, 2011        

                        PARAGUAY   16                   ANCHOR CITY                                                                                            Asuncion Paraguay

Orientation/Tour Asuncion

                                                Focus:  Women and Their Lives


                                                            In Polititcs

                                                            Medical Care


                                                           Economic Situation                                                                                                                                                                                                           Environment

            17-18                                    Meetings NGO’s and Women                                                                Leaders

            19                                           Meeting Embassy

                                                            Final Review

Travel to Brazil

                        BRAZIL                     ANCHOR CITY Sao Paulo

                        October 21-27, 2011        

                                                Focus:  Women and their lives


                                                            In Polititcs

                                                            Medical Care


                                                            Economic Situation


            22-26                         Meetings NGO’s and Women                                                                Leaders
            27                                Meeting Consulate

                                                Trip Review

            28                               Delegation ends

                                                Post Trips available

October 28-30, 2011        Post Trip1—Rio De Janeiro  OR

                                                 Post Trip 2    Brasilia

Cynthia Bendlin Outlines Possible Paraguay Meetings

May 11, 2011

Cynthia Bendlin, 2008 Secretary of State’s International Women of Courage awardee attended the May 11 Virtual Chapter Meeting.  She has been working with a number of contacts in Paraguay who will meet with the Delegation in October.

The organizations she proposes are wide ranging including politicians, women’s advocates, anti trafficking groups and cultural associations such as orchestras.  More details will be developed in the next few months.

At the next meeting on May 25th at 2:00 PM Pacific Time, a final decision will be made on Brazil destinations.  Three cities are under consideration, Curitiba in Southern Brazil, Brasilia, the Capitol in West Central and San Paulo which is the largest city in the Western Hemisphere and the 9th largest city in the world,

Here are links which will provide the background information for the next meeting.

Brasilia images from Google
Wikitravel on Brasilia
Wikipedia on Brasilia
CURITIBA INFORMATION  Anne has some contacts here that could be developed.
google images
wikipedia San Paulo
Anyone who is interested in this information may attend the meeting.

We Plan Our Itinerary – April 25, 2011

April 28, 2011

Overview:  Here is some information for those following the delegation planning.  It is in bullet point format.  Be sure and look at the CIA Factbook links at the end of this post to learn more about Paraguay and Brazil.  If you would like to be involved, please join the next meeting.  Visit the Virtual Chapter 2 Page at for more information.  


 Tentative Delegation Outline for October, 2011:

October 14,15 Pre Trip: Iguazu Falls, Brazil


  October 16-20 – Asuncion, Paraguay (5 hour bus trip)

  October 21-28 – Brazil  (possibly Brazilia)

Post Trip: October 29-31-  Rio de Janeiro

Other areas under consideration: Visit to Tri-Country Area – Paraguay,   Southern Brazil, Northern Argentina.

 Contributors to Delegation:

Cynthia Bendlin –   

2008 U.S. State Department’s International Woman of Courage , Paraguay – with special interest in trafficking of persons.

Anne Tonks          – Coordinator. Contact with Cynthia Bendlin

Kathleen Huston –  Communicating with contacts in Western Brazil

Marilyn Kinney    – Exploring tour operators

Robin Winter Odem -Contacting Friendship Force

Jane Wetzel          –  Contact with resource who is daughter ofa former member

Suggested Agenda

Meet with local women’s groups

Visit Ambassadors and Embassies

Meet with significant NGOs

Focus: Women                                   Education

             Trafficking                              Economic Situation

              In Politics                               Environment

              Medical Care


Next Meeting:

May 11,  (Wed) Noon PDT

Robin Winter Odem will present an overview of Brazil

Cynthia Bendlin will be invited to attend

Web Links:

CIA Fact Book










April 3, 2011

Today was the first meeting of Virtual Chapter 2 which is a chapter forming.  Six AWIU members and approval of the Board are needed before we will become a formal chapter.

This chapter has two audiences

1.  AWIU members in the Western and Mountain Time Zones who do not have easy access to a physical chapter.

2.  Any AWIU member who would like to do a course of study with the chapter.  They can join this chapter or just visit as a guest.  Non Member may visit and learn along with others to be come familiar with AWIU programs.

The Chapter has an agenda for the next seven months to plan and execute an AWIU Delegation to Paraguay and Southern Brazil.  The nature of the trip will be refined over the next several months.  Preliminary planning including itinerary will be completed by the end of May.  Then the study phase would begin to plan a meaningful and educational experience in country.

The primary interest in Paraguay is the study of trafficking of Persons with the assistance of Cynthia Bendlin a Secretary of State’s International Women of Courage awardee in 2008.

The Brazil portion of the trip is more open.  Today we explored four cities–Curitiba, Brazilia, Sao Paolo and Rio as the centerpoints to learn more about all or some of the following 1.  Trafficking, or 2. the political status of women in Brazil. In Brazil this is particularly interesting since their new President, Dilma Rousseff, is first woman President of Brazil.

Other interests in Brazil are 3. the economic situation and 4. eco initiatives.

In both countries a focus will be the relationship between the country and the United States.

The Next Meeting will be April 25 at 12 PM Pacific Time.

Call in number 1 605 715 4900  password 988993#

Several of those at today’s meeting will report on cities and distances and potential contacts in Brazil.

Overview on both Paraguay and Brazil will be found at the following links

A good place to start our study are two reliable sources–we won’t have time to go into depth here–this is just for “thinking” purposes.
The CIA Fact Book  Our government spends millions and millions on the research behind this–let’s get some of our money back.
And on the lighter side Wiki Travel

We are looking for interesting contacts in either country.  Please post a comment if you have ideas to make this Delegation a meaningful contributor to improved understanding among and with those we meet on our trip.