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A Brief History of Open Door

The idea of Open Door was started in IWC Stockholm by Elisabeth Sammann, in 1980. Whilst travelling abroad with her husband, a Rotarian, the hospitality extended to him by fellow Rotarians in foreign cities impressed her so much that she thought this could help members of International Women’s Associations have a similar reciprocity in "opening their doors to each other" when visiting or moving to a city or town in another country.

"OPEN DOOR" was born starting with nine International Women’s Associations, each agreeing to nominate an International Coordinator to welcome IWC members to their Clubs as guests at monthly meetings, and other Club activities as well as occasionally exchanging Club Newsletters and correspondence. At the same time Ismelda Pellet, Vice-President of IWC The Hague, had also started a network of Associations with the aim of forging closer links of friendship through exchanges with International Women’s Associations worldwide.

By the end of 1983, Elisabeth had a total of eighteen Associations and Ismelda had twelve when they came in contact with each other and decided it would be a great idea to join forces. The Aims and Objectives were formed and financial support was provided by IWC Stockholm due to the high charges for international bank transfers leaving many Clubs unable to make contributions.

In 1988, Open Door had a membership of 33 Associations when Elisabeth moved back to Chile with her family and Ismelda took over as Open Door Chairman with the kind offer from IWC The Hague to continue providing the financial support.

Since then, Open Door has grown thanks to the very kind and generous donations over the years from IWC Amsterdam, Bordeaux Women’s Club, LIA Munich and IWC The Hague to help cover the stationery, printing and postal expenses for this service to be available to all member Clubs worldwide.

In 2018, following health issues, Ismelda was no longer able to spend the time and dedication to keep Open Door running smoothly and Marja van Loopik, also member of IWC The Hague, took over as Chairman from Ismelda.

Generous and regular donations for this service to be available to members of Clubs worldwide have been made by ACCESS, IWC Amsterdam, Bordeaux Women's Club, IWC The Hague and LIA Munich.

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