Friday, 25th July, 1986 saw the birth of The Intercultural Women’s Association now officially known simply as IWA. Founded by Nirmal Seshadri and Nancy Stempel (Wife of the American Consul General), IWA has grown from 7 founding members to a vibrant organization of almost 300 members from all over the world.

IWA is a multi-cultural organization whose objectives are to promote learning and friendship and a greater understanding among women of different faiths, cultures and countries. IWA provides a platform for the exchange of ideas and the celebration of diversity. IWA is a non-profit organization not actively engaged in fund raising.

The structure of IWA – with a ratio of at least 1 Non-Indian to every 3 Indians – promotes a genuine diversity and international flavour – a mixture of cultures and customs – a lively melting pot!

The meetings are conducted under 8 different disciplines, or Activities, as they are called

Well known artists and craftspeople offer a look into their world of intricate artistry, creativity, and amazing talent.

Some of the famous speakers in this Activity are Pupul Jayakar, Thotta Tharani, S.H.Raza, A.V. Ilango, Jayashree Kumar, Sabyasachi Mukherjee, Seema Kohli, Rajshree Pathy, SG Vasudev, Hafeez Contractor, Abhishek Poddar, Dr Usha Balakrishnan, Kavita Singh, Meera & Muzaffar Ali.

Avid readers get together to discuss stimulating and intriguing books every month. IWA has been addressed by many famous authors and poets over the years. Poetry and play readings are also presented.

Prominent speakers in this Activity are William Darlymple, Vikram Seth, Amitav Ghosh, Dhritiman Chatterji, Tishani Doshi, Timeri Murari, Amish Tripathi, Alka Pande, Perumal Murugan, Keshav Desiraju, Ranjitha Ashok, Nirupama Subramaniam, Chitra Bannerjee Divakaruni, Jairam Ramesh.

Cookery meetings have wafted in flavours from many lands. The spices of India, the herbs of the West, and the mysteries of the Far East. All these and more have also come together in the IWA Cookbook, with recipes from our members.

Popular speakers in this Activity are talented chefs from many 5* hotels, Sanjeev Kapoor, Rashmi Udaysingh, Shvetha Jaishankar, Chandri Bhat, Revathy Shanmugam, Karin Reiter, Kunal Vijaykar, Payal Kapoor, Rohini Rana, Reva K Singh.

Topics of immediate interest are analyzed by knowledgeable speakers. From wars to water problems, business ethics to better investment practices – experts in their fields enlighten members with their acumen and insight.

Well-known speakers in this Activity are N. Ram, Vijay Amritraj, Kiran Bedi, Dr. Karan Singh, M.S. Swaminathan, P. Chidambaram, Ranjani Manian, Gopal Krishna Gandhi, Sashi Kumar Menon, Devdutt Pattanaik, Shekar Dattatri, Gurcharan Das, Suhel Seth, Vanitha Mohan, Allister D’Souza, Guilia Ambrogi, N Parthasarathi, Letika Saran.

Good health has become a prime concern, with threats to it abounding everywhere. Fitness tips and home remedies are shared. Talks on the arrest of environmental degradation and on health foods and diets are regular draws.

Authoritative speakers in this Activity are Dr. S. S. Badrinath, T V K Desikachari, Dr. Girinath, Dr. Mathew Kalrickal, Dr. B. Krishnarao, Drs Kamala & Priya Selvaraj, Dr. E.S. Krishnamoorthy, Dr V Mohan, Shiny Chandran, Sheela Rani Chunkath, Prashant Gade, Supraja Dharini, Sarath Champati, Dr R V Ramani, Dr Uma Nambiar, Prasiddhi Singh.

From Mohenjodaro to Mars – our members are treated to information on every place under the sun! Films and slide shows of locations and civilizations are brought to IWA by historians and archaeologists. Annual tours to far flung and neighbouring places of historical and cultural interest are a popular activity. The annual Endowment lecture at the Government Museum attracts a large, erudite audience.

Eminent speakers in this Activity include Professor Romila Thapar, Dr Upinder Singh, Prof A R Venkatachalapathy, Sujatha Shankar, Arun Krishnamurthy, V Sriram, Jonty Rajagopalan, Dr Ramachandra Guha,Ashdeen Lilaowala, Hormazd Sorabjee, Ameeta Mehra.

Artistes of international repute, several of whom are IWA members themselves, have performed or spoken at our meetings. International Music Day on 1st October celebrates the memory of Founder President, Nirmal Sheshadri. A corpus fund has been set up and an upcoming young artiste in music is honoured each year.

In-house productions of Cats, My Fair Lady and other popular shows have been well appreciated by members. Distinguished speakers in this Activity are Vaijayanthi Mala, Alarmelu Valli, Astad Deboo, Sonal Mansingh, Usha Uthup, T.M.Krishna, Sriram Parasuram, Aruna Sairam, Shobana, Priyadarshini Govind, Parvathy Baul, Dr Padma Subrahmanyam, Dr Sudha Ragunathan, Ganjong Deoghar, Priya Krishnadas, Sachin Das, Viji Krishnan, Shanmukhapriya & Haripriya.

Members of many religious faiths explore the differences and yet the essential sameness of all beliefs. Discussions on philosophical issues contribute to the well being of the individual. The joy of Diwali, Christmas and Id and many other National and international festivals are celebrated.

Renowned speakers in this Activity are the Dalai Lama, Prema Pandurang, Ms. Sunandaji, Dr. Subramaniam, Revathy Sankaran, Geetha Iyer, S Anwar, Zia Mody, Dr Uma Shankar, Princess Aswathi Thirunal Lakshmi Bayi, Sara Mathew, Dr Hanne de Bruin

IWA thanks all these and many more generous speakers, who have given us the benefit of their time and knowledge over the years.