AWLC - The American Women's Literary Club 

learn, care, share  


Every month, from April through November, we feature a Guest Speaker. 

If you would like to suggest an interesting speaker, please email us at 





Monsignor Hirst, known as Padre Pépe, provided an overview of the program at Casa Hogar. He explained that the children living there are 5 - 10 years of age and the goal of the program is to gently instll hope in their otherwise difcult lives. Padre Pepe gave each AWLC member a colorful rosary bracelet made by the children. This was a touching gesture, which was appreciated.


Mark Mishkin, a graduate of University of Southern California, spoke at our August general meeting. He works for the State Department and has served tours in India, Mexico, and now Peru. Mr. Mishkin spoke about Antebellum America, the year period leading up to the Civil War. We learned about the changes in industrialization, taxation, the constitution, and state regionalism that marked that time. There were unmistakable parallels to current day issues.


Ronald Elward is a Dutch writer and researcher with a passion for
genealogy. He moved to Peru in 2008, because he wanted to solve the
mystery of the descendants of Inca emperors: had they all disappeared?
What started as a purely genealogical research project became the biggest
inves ga on ever done on Inca the descendants in Peru today. Part of his work has been published by El Comercio, Peru’s main na onal newspaper. At the moment he is working toward a Masters degree in History at the University of San Marcos in Lima, with a thesis trea ng the Inca descendants in the 19th century. In 2014 he was invited by Canning House, in London, to talk about his ndings. Previously, he was publisher of the leading architectural magazine in The Netherlands, De Architect. At 21 he wrote his rst book on historical houses in his na ve Friesland.



Audiences are often amazed that the diminutive Irene Shashar is so full of life, and so ready to celebrate it even as she shares the pain and tragedy that filled the first part of her life. Irene was only a year old when her family was herded into the Warsaw Ghetto. When she was six, her mother smuggled her out through the sewers, and found refuge with “kind souls” as they navigated the dangerous corridors of Europe. Tragically, her parents did not make it, but Irene survived the greatest genocide in history.

The stories she has lived through may be painful, but Irene’s ultimate message is about celebrating life. If you look for her personal motto, mantra, or motif, you will find her repeating for all to hear: “Life is a gift, not to be taken for granted.”

Our May Program included a short film, “Seeking the Light,” a doumentary directed by Delia Ackerman about survivors of the Holocaust who settled in Peru, which was followed by a conversation with Irene, who answered questions from the audience.



Co-founder Alberto de Cárdenas talked to us about how This organization develops children’s leadership qualities and provides scholarships for grades 4 to 11. As of 2016, it has 2,000 children enrolled. 

We were thrilled to see current program participants perform a duet on the violin, sing "a cappella" and finish with a wonderful northern "marinera" dance. 


Mark Mishkin, a career diplomat and Officer of the US Embassy, talked to us about the US Presidential Elections. 

We all enjoyed the fun trivia quiz which set the tone for the presentation.  Mark  provided a historical view of the election process and the challenges that lie ahead.  We learned about the major parties, the electoral vote, and how the whole process works from the Primaries up to the General Elections. 


The World Wildlife Foundation (WWF) Director for Peru spoke to us about Peru’s Natural Heritage, how it is so bountiful but vulnerable at the same time.

We learned about the greenhouse effect, the need to focus on our marine ecosystems and fresh water preservation in Peru as well as the numerous WWF activities focused on promoting Peru's and the Earth's sustainability.  Thank you Patricia for a lively and inspirational talk.


Charles Miro-Quesada, Chief, Cultural Activities at ICPNA and PhD in Philosophy from the University of Pennsylvania, spoke to us about a very relevant topic:  “Feminism and Post-Feminism in Art.” 

We learned that the first female artists surfaced during medieval times and that their art has evolved through the ages and is now more daring and open to exploration beyond the original feminist art.


A group AWLC members, part of the Lima Women's Chorale, opened this patriotic  celebration, which included Americana songs that got everyone singing.  Other AWLC members practiced hard for months and delivered a fun dancing review that covered different epochs and included the Charleston, Jitterbug, Twist and Line Dance.  Everyone joined in to learn to line dance and then enjoyed a cookout fare, courtesy of Otto Kunz.  What great fun we had.  


Inspired on Tal Ben Shahar's Positive Pscyhology, Patricia Canepa, a member of AWLC, captured our attention with her uplifting presentation on the topic of "Happiness" and some of the common sense ways that it can be achieved.  She made everyone feel, well, happy.  


Caballo de Paso breeder and expert, Ismael Noya, talked to us about the history of these beautiful soft-saddle horses, part of Peru’s cultural heritage.

As the talk on thir history, characteristics, track and outfits progressed, Ismael transformed into a “Chalan”, poncho and hat included, to the delight of our members. 


On the eve of Peru's presidential election, Claudio Herzka, renown economist, Past President of IPAE and consultant to international organizations, talked to us about the process to elect a president and members of congress.  This differs considerably from that of the U.S. and other countries, and Claudio gave us a wonderful historical and current perspective of the Peruvian electoral process.  We were thrilled to have him speak to us.



Franco Mosso, co-founder of Enseña Peru, talked to us about how they help improve education while generating leaders.  

Young professional volunteers face challenges in real life classroom situations, including modern management, obtaining infrastructure and improving the quality of education.  


What fun we had with the Floralies presentation, celebrating the garden Club's 50th year anniversary.  

Gloria Nichtawitz, AWLC member introduced the presentation, which was followed with an entertaining flower arranging demonstration by the Floralies President and two of AWLC's most talented members, Alicia Fermi and Carla Bentin. 


President and Founder, DBPerú

After being struck by the lack of access to health care during a visit to the Amazon, Diana eventually founded a nonprofit that brings medical supplies and services to native communities in the area, six times a year.  For the past 14 years, DBPeru has provided dental care, HPV testing, and other services with the help of medical and non-medical volunteers from around the world.



Jason Sherrill, from the Fulbright Commission, and Kelly Villanueva, from Education USA spoke to us about their work in assisting students with entry into the US or Peruvian culture as part of the Fulbright program. They discussed and compared the structure of US and Peruvian education, and compared the admissions, government and social processes and structures of both countries.


Geologist and engineer; and, strategic planner and economist for mining, petroleum and energy companies; respectively. 

These exceptional mining experts delivered an excellent presentation on the myths, risks, potential  and realities of mining in Peru, the 7th mining country in the world.


Musician and Philosopher

What a lovely, musical afternoon.  Tomas  gave us an enlightening presentation on the most notable examples of classical music composers by era and performed some of the greatest musical compositions. Thank you Tomas for sharing such a special moment with all of us!


Headmistress, San Silvestre School

It was a pleasure to hear Rina Bayly's presentation on the benefits of an all girls' education in the XXIst century.  

Many of our members who have either attended San Silvestre, or have daughters or grand-daughters at the school, were delighted to chat with Rina.

Guest Speakers 2014


Chairman and CEO of Inkaterra

Mr Jose Koechlin, founder of Inkaterra, talked to us about their history and their pioneering work in ecotourism and conservation.

The Inkaterra group is known for its excellent service and for promoting the sustainable use of natural resources in Peru. 


Ambassador to the Republic of Poland

Twenty five years of freedom.  The young Polish Ambassador generously shared a quick review of fascinating Polish history and especially how they fueled the impressive economic growth of the past 25 years.  We were intrigued and the Ambassador did not disappoint us! Now we want to visit Poland.


Musican and Engineer

It was a thrill to have our XI Noche de Música performer come to talk to us about the program for our keynote event in September, which includes a secret piece by a Classical peruvian composer.


Patrimonio Peru

Noted architect, restoration expert and President of Patrimonio Peru, Patricia has given lectures at the Getty institute and the University of Vermont and completed several restoration projects in beautiful Baroque chapels all over Peru.


Author, Marque La Diferencia

Patricia's talk  "To be, or Not to be...Digital" enlightened and energized us to become more internet savvy and activate our "Digital Wizards" interest group.

The LHH I DBM Director, spoke to us about our personal brand on-line, different social media, and shared useful applications that will make our busy lives a whole lot easier.


Mayor of Miraflores

We were delighted to hear Jorge Muñoz, a truly impressive leader, share some of the history of the transformation of Miraflores and plans currently in development.   

Our featured Artist of the month was Dr. Alfonso Montagne, who shared beautiful photos of Miraflores, from his private collection.  


Member, CARE Peru

Eleanor, who recently attended the Women in the World Summit in New York, has an extensive knowledge on women´s issues which she generously shared during our May tribute to women.  

We complemented Eleanor´s talk with a musical presentation by a female vocalist/violin assemble from Colegio Roosevelt.  Thank you all for making this such a special meeting!


Entrepreneur and Philanthropist

A modern day success story, Tony has influenced the world in many ways.  One of his many achievements is his successful cookbook "The Art of Peruvian Cuisine" which hits close to our hearts. 

We were delighted to have Tony share some insights from his work, the cookbook; and, especially his family's long history with the AWLC--his mother is a current member, and his grandmother and great grandmother were 2 of the 18 original founders of the Club in 1922!