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Foundation for International Cooperation

Regional Contacts - Chicago, IL

From the Summer 2015 NewsNotes

The Chicago Chapter held its annual meeting in January. About 25 members attended the dinner and heard a speaker tell about South Africa. Needless to say those who had recently traveled there with FIC were able to interject many additional comments. The new chapter president, Christine Provost, was introduced to the membership.
The Great Decisions program is underway in its usual annual form. This year there are 11 members who alternate homes for dinner and discussion each of the 8 weeks. The topics are very timely, since the book is not fully compiled until the end of December each year. Members are also able to submit answers on-line to the end of chapter questions.

In true FIC fashion a group of members attended a Korean Day, organized by Pat Michalski. It consisted of a visit to the Korean Cultural Center where information was shared about the whole Korean body of people living in and about the Chicago area. A lovely Korean lunch (really a dinner) was enjoyed at a typical Korean restaurant, and the day ended with a visit to the Korean Buddhist Temple. There is so much to be learned in the Chicago area. How grateful we are!
Niagara Frontier

Our February get-together featured a famous Buffalo fish fry followed by a performance of the Hound of Baskerville. In March a group of us worked on the flower bouquet sale for Hospice, our annual outreach activity. We will soon plan our spring Soup Supper and welcome back our snow birds who fly to Florida each year.
Of the 12 (so far!) FICers on the upcoming Danube trip, seven will be from our chapter.
We look forward to our October visit to Niagara-on-the Lake.


From the Winter 2015 NewsNotes

by Eileene Woods
Wisconsin Weekend , September 12-15, 2014
The arrangements were made by Marc O’Brien, who spends some time at their farm near Monroe, Wisconsin every summer.
We had a small group, and a wonderfully art-filled trip. We drove up to Monroe. Marc met us at the Laughing Trout restaurant.
After lunch we visited a cheese factory, Imoberetag. These people came from Switzerland many years ago. They have been making thousands of individually molded cheeses every day from the milk of local dairy farms (which has to meet rigid standards).
We went to the Milhous Brewery to hear about the beer making process and to sample the merchandise, after which we went to the Monroe Art Center now housed in a former church. We drove out to the O’Brien farm for dinner.

In New Glarus, we enjoyed seeing the decorated cows along the main street on our way to Dodgeville to visit Pendarvis, a historic area featuring the story of the Welch miners who immigrated here after the lead mines “played out” in Wales. They built houses from the native stones. There were several buildings, including a restaurant famous for pasties and figgy pudding. We went to a restaurant to have the pasties (a hot meat pie).

We visited three potters, who were very willing to share their techniques with us. The most interesting motel was here in Dodgeville. The House on the Rock décor of antique sailing ships hanging from the ceiling of the lobby was pretty unique.

We went to Spring Green the following day for a tour of the Frank Lloyd Wright architectural school/ studio, student dining room and auditorium, all recently refurbished. They had fourteen students in residence at the Architectural School. The tuition is $14,000 per year and they all have to work at the maintenance of the studio. We saw them sweeping, as we viewed the studio. On October 15, they leave for Arizona.

The play we saw at the Globe Players was George Bernard Shaw’s; “The Doctor’s Dilemma” was excellent, but outdoors, and very cold. Julie Dwyer had a shower cap in her purse, which she put on to, keep her head warm.

On Sunday, we visited Marian Nelson, a dealer of artifacts from Indonesia and India. She had a five-story barn filled with artifacts. She was a most interesting person! She had twelve cats, one in her house/barn and 11 out in other buildings of her property. She, too, leaves for Indonesia on October 15.

We went home via Madison, where we visited the Botanic Gardens , an outstanding way to end a great weekend in Wisconsin.

(From the Summer 2014 NewsNotes)

The Chapter’s Annual Meeting was held in January at a restaurant in Oak Park with a program by Nathan Delack, Grandson of Eileene Woods. It was well attended in spite of our heavy snowy weather. (Dog sleds and snowshoes were in order all winter long!) The Great Decisions, a current event discussion program, continued for the 8 Sundays of February and March. This is an exciting program sponsored by the Foreign Relations Council, which gives the members much food for thought and discussion. The group of about 12 members meets at members’ homes for libations and dinner prior to the discussions.
Summer activities are presently on the planning board.

(From Winter 2014 NewsNotes)

FIC members began the Holiday Season with their annual attendance at the superb Christmas Concert at Wheaton College. The dinner following was a great way for friends to get caught up with news and exchange holiday greetings. Even the weather cooperated making the evening a pleasant one.

Now we are looking forward to the Annual Illinois Meeting in January with dinner and a program by Nathan Delack. Following this on the FIC agenda will be Great Decisions, the current events discussion program that has been popular with the Chapter for about 20 years. As far as meetings go, there is never a problem getting people together in our beautiful city of Chicago with its many activities.

We thoroughly enjoyed our fall program which took us on a tour of the historic Driehaus Museum right off the Magnificent Mile in downtown Chicago. Of course FICers always enjoy breaking bread together after all the events. Another fun time was held in Dwight, Illinois for its fall festival. Our welcome mat is always out for FIC visitors.

Recently, we enjoyed a small reunion with guests from Louisville when Ceelie Chilko and a travelling friend, Susan Wettle, came. The Christmas season usually is a festive occasion to celebrate with friends.

Many of you will remember our friends the Curleys and the Websters who also revisited recently.



On Sunday, May 20th, 2012, FIC members going to Laos, Cambodia and Viet Nam were treated to a day of Southeast Asian Culture. The day started with a guided tour in the Cambodian Museum on Lawrence Avenue in Chicago. Following the museum, the group had reserved seating in the Vietnamese restaurant named Pasteur. Here we met the owner of the restaurant (a Vietnamese refugee) and had two speakers to acquaint us with the proper etiquette in the countries we will visit. Very helpful information was given. Our thanks to Pat Michalski for arranging these personal contacts and for our introduction to the South East Asian experience.
Picture above: Jackie Conley (president of Board of Directors, Vietnamese American Community of Illinois) Mary Spradlin, Ed Spradlin, Eileene Woods, Harry Michalski, Pat Michalski and Carole Bilbo.

Picture above: Guide, Annette Houy, daughter Mialeah, musician Song San, Mary & Ed Spradlin, Carole Bilbo, Pat & Harry Michalski,


A Report from Chicago Chapter President Eileene Woods

(September, 2010)

The Photo above was in front of the 23-foot Eiffel Tower."

The two pictures above were from the Chicago Chapter's recent visit to the Cantigny Gardens in Wheaton, Illinois, the home of Robert McCormick, former publisher of the Chicago Tribune. The occasion was "French Connection Day, which featured a French Open Air Market, wine tasting and French food at Le Jardin Restaurant. McCormick's home is now a First Division Museum. It includes a photo display of Cantigny, one of the battles in which Colonel McCormick fought in the 1st World War. The day included a Jazz Concert.

Diane (Murphy) Cihngir, and her son, Evan joined us for the picnic. Diane's parents are Marge and Fran Murphy from the Rockford Chapter. They are long-time members of FIC whose lives were most changed by their affiliation with FIC. They had at least one hundred foreign students for long stays or short stays throughout the years. All of their children married persons from other countries. Her brother and four sisters were there at the picnic. Her parents called from Sun City by phone to talk to everyone at the picnic



The Chicago Chapter covers the whole Chicago area and its suburbs. It has 60 active households.

The chapter holds about 4 or 5 meetings during the year. These consist of discussions with speakers of various cultures; get-to-gethers with visitors from other lands; ethnic dinners and shopping excursions, and other international awareness activities.

Each year members participate in the Great Decisions program sponsored by the Foreign Policy Association. These consisted of eight weekly discussions of current events. Resource guests - familiar with the topic at hand - are invited to each meeting. The group also preceeds each meeting with a pot luck dinner at members' homes.

A number of members have hosted foreign visitors from Eastern European countries.

Study tours to Turkey in 1999 and and to Ecuador for the millenium celebration were led by two members of this chapter.

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