What Does it Mean to be a Member of International Neighbors in Ann Arbor, Michigan?

Updated: Nov 5

Dear IN members:

As we continue our journey through 2022 let us as think about why we joined International Neighbors. What does it mean for each of us to be part of this 63-year-old group of women?

Every country has its heroes and heroines that tried to teach us acceptance, honor and respect for humans, nature and wildlife. From Jane Goodall to Greta Thunberg:

https://www.ourendangeredworld.com/eco/environmental-leaders/#Top_International_Environmental_Leaders

Martin Luther King Jr.: https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/peace/1964/king/biographical/

Malala Yousafzai: https://www.biography.com/activist/malala-yousafzai

and a local hero who just passed away on January 1st, 2022, Jim Toy https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Toy

The list of heroes and heroines is endless and growing from each country. Let us be part of that list in any way we can, large or small.

When Esther Dunham and her neighbors discovered that wives and children of graduate students from other countries faced difficulties adjusting and were lonely, they responded by hosting monthly tea groups where they taught the ladies everything from how and where to shop to learning the English language. They founded International Neighbors. They never considered race or religion to be an obstacle to friendship. That has not changed.

You are all part of an amazing organization that makes a difference in hundreds of women’s lives every year. We do not consider race, sexual identity, politics or religion, we consider only the woman. Her thoughts, her needs, her culture, music and food.

International Neighbors is committed to inclusion and learning. We depend on you, our members, to help the board and the president find new directions and take new steps so that we do not fall short in representing our members. You are the reason we exist.

I would like us all to ask ourselves what we as a group and as individual women can do this coming year to improve our community here and abroad. How can we be an example for others? It doesn’t matter what topic you choose, be it the environment, civil liberties, or any other issue you feel worthwhile. What’s important is how can we make a difference?

Let us all commit to reaching out to others to really learn from each other and to accept people as they are. Together we improve our mental well-being and become partners in survival.

We have each other. We are powerful, smart and by the way, very fun. Here is to 2022, the year we make it great through the choices and differences we make!

With respect and sincere hope,

Andra Bostian Ferguson, President,

International Neighbors

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