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Club History

The current Board of Directors and the IWCP members extend our gratitude to the group of pioneering women who founded the club in 1996. We hope that it continues to evolve in the same spirit of offering comfort, information and a sense of belonging for international women in Curitiba.


A word from Margaret Taylor, Founding President of the IWCP

“January of 1994, I arrived in Curitiba with my husband and five children. This was the 6th country we were to live in.

Having always looked for the American Women’s Club in the cities where I arrived, I found that Curitiba, not being a country capital, had no infrastructure where foreigners could meet.  The International School was very small at the time as well, but some ladies I met there, also had the same need for a meeting place.

I decided that, since I had the time now, to write a Newcomer’s Guide To Curitiba, based on the guides I had from the other cities where I had lived.  I shared this with some friends from ISC and formed a committee to research the information needed for the guide.

This committee was formed by Mary Louise Abou-Nader, Maria Antonia Athayde, Marta Schulmann (wife of president of Bamerindus, now HSBC ), Ana Kac, Claudia Diniz and myself.

Later that year, at a party at Joao Casillo’s apartment I met American expatriate Kate Connolly, who I found out was also writing a Guide.  We compared notes, and decided to join forces, both committees came together and we continued on the project.  Her committee was composed by Deise Gomes, Maria Donovan, Dorotka Wisniewski and Aurea Formoso. Later, Sherrie Robinson and Hanne Ericksen joined as well.

The printing of the finished Guide was sponsored by the Bamerindus Bank (now HSBC).  Now that we had completed our Guide, we were concerned with how we were to get it out to the families that needed it. For this, we met with Mr. Caron, the Minister of Tourism of Paraná, and he loved our Guide.  He asked me how the foreigners receive their guides in the other countries where I had gotten them, I told him, through the International Women’s Club.  So, he said FORM YOUR OWN CLUB! I was overwhelmed by the idea because I had always been part of the clubs as a member, but to actually go out and form a new one was scary.

Simultaneously, at another party at Ingrid and Peter ter Poorten’s home, I met Gunilla Lindstrom. She had already been here for a few years, but as she had no children at ISC, we had never met.

I told her about the Newcomer’s Guide we were printing and how important it would be to have a International Club here.  She told me she also had always belonged to these types of organizations and had been active in them. Joao Casillo was at the party as well and we asked him how we should proceed legally.

He said for us to form a committee, write the Rules and Regulations, the Mission and he would do the legal part -FOR FREE. So, that night Gunilla and I decided to go forward with the project. We spoke to Kate Connolly and she was all for it as well.  So, we formed the Founding Committee of the IWCP: myself (Margaret Taylor), Kate, Gunilla, Aurea Formosa and Connie Pisani.

We were introduced to Odone Martins, owner of Industria & Comercio Newspaper, who said he would give us all the press coverage needed for us to get known, so that any foreigners here could find out about us.

Much effort and many hours were put into building the legal and structural foundation of the club. Several months later we had our Rules and Regulations ready . We took them to Joao Casillo’s law firm and he drew up the By-Laws.

On May 30th, 1996, in the offices of lawyer Joao Casillo, and in the presence of the Governor’s wife, Mrs. Fani Lerner, and 24 guests, the International Women’s Club of Paraná was founded. The founding board was made up by Margaret Taylor, Kate Connolly, Connie Pisani, Aurea Formoso and Gunilla Lindestrom.  In October, Kate left and was replaced by Gunilla as VP and Connie left and was replaced by Hanne Ericksen.

We were now ready to open our hearts.  So we set out to invite as many foreign ladies we knew for the founding. That very day, 13 ladies signed up and paid their yearly dues, becoming the founding members of the International Women’s Club of Parana. This group was comprised of Kate Connolly, Aurea Formoso, Gunilla Lindestrom, Jennifer Hedin, Claudia Salviano, Ingrid Englund, Lisbeth Andersson, Tina Ek, Regina Casillo, Noris Bargueno, Hanne Erichsen, Miriam Machado and myself (Margaret Taylor). Before the week was over, we had 7 new members.

Our first priority was to launch the NEWCOMER’S GUIDE.  As promised by Mr. Odone Martins from Industria y Comercio, we were offered a breakfast at the offices of his newspaper on the 12th of August, 1996 and the first edition of the Guide was officially launched. The Guide was later translated into German as well.”

Margaret A. Taylor
April 4, 2007