Thursday, January 18, 2018

East Hampton Resident Wins Peconic Bay Zonta ESL Scholarship

Photo by Paul Turano
Ana C. Aucapina Tigre of East Hampton won a $300 scholarship from Peconic Bay Zonta, a service and advocacy group that works to improve the status of women. Peconic Bay Zonta Co-president Diane Greenberg (left) gave Aucapina Tigre her award at Suffolk County Community College’s eastern campus, where she has been taking the school’s English as a Second Language (ESL) courses to improve her language skills. The local Zonta group awards the scholarship biannually to a female student in an ESL program who is studying to achieve an educational goal.

Aucapina Tigre came to the U.S. from Ecuador nine years ago. She works as a line cook at Page 63 Main in Sag Harbor. She would like to improve her English and earn her General Equivalency Diploma so that she can progress in her career and perhaps eventually become a sous chef or executive chef. She said that she strives hard to learn English and advance her education for her 11-year-old son, who is still in Ecuador. She has not seen him in nine years, but she talks to him every day and hopes some day he may join her in the U.S.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Doing Business: Planning Fundraising and Service Projects for 2018

Peconic Bay Zonta members (from left) Kathy Walker, Annika Shapiro, Liala Strotman, Betsy Kaplan and Linda Rundlett (along with Diane Loffredo and Diane Greenberg, not shown) held their monthly meeting at Annika's house on December 13, which is Saint Lucia’s feast day in Sweden. The popular event in Sweden is also known as the Christian festival of light.

Annika, a native of Sweden, greeted guests with a delicious hot mug of glogg, a Swedish spiced wine drink, as they came in from a freezing cold night. Club members discussed fundraising and service projects planned for 2018 as they enjoyed a potluck dinner.

After dinner and dessert, Kathy and others stayed on to wrap 50 journals for donation to girls in the Butterfly Effect Project. This nonprofit community group based in Riverhead, New York, works to empower young girls by giving them tools to help them achieve academic success and an emotionally stable and self-confident future.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Zonta International Signs Open Letter to Support Women

Charo Mina-Rojas, an Afro-Colombian human rights defender, speaking at the
UN Security Council Open Debate on Women, Peace and Security

Zonta International is one of 391 organizations to sign an open letter in support of women and women’s organizations from conflict-affected countries, calling for “political and financial support from the international community, not empty promises.”

This action was taken on October 16, 2017, just days after the United States government enacted the Women, Peace, and Security Act of 2017, which was signed into law by President Trump on October 6, 2017. The bipartisan act will strengthen efforts to prevent, mitigate, and resolve conflict by increasing women’s participation in negotiation and mediation processes. 

Here are three things to know about the new law:

It recognizes the critical link between women’s participation and peace – The Women, Peace, and Security Act reflects the growing body of evidence confirming that the inclusion of women in peace processes helps to reduce conflict and advance stability. The participation of women and civil society groups in a peace negotiation makes the resulting agreement 64 percent less likely to fail and 35 percent more likely to last at least fifteen years. Research shows that higher levels of gender equality are associated with a lower propensity for conflict, both between and within states. And data from countries around the world demonstrate that women’s inclusion in peacekeeping units, police forces, and the security sector improves accountability and decreases abuses against civilians.

It requires a U.S strategy to grow women’s participation in security efforts – To improve American peace and security efforts, the Women, Peace and Security Act mandates the creation of a government-wide strategy to increase the participation of women in peacekeeping and security operations, due to Congress within one year of its enactment, and again in four years. The law requires training for diplomats, development professionals, and security personnel to support the inclusion of female negotiators, meditators, and peacebuilders around the world.

It reflects a growing global movement to advance women’s inclusion in the security sector – In recent years, as the evidence of women’s contributions to peacemaking and peacekeeping has grown, women’s role in conflict resolution and security has received greater international attention. Since 2000, the UN Security Council has enacted eight resolutions to promote women’s participation in conflict resolution and reconciliation processes and address issues such as conflict-related sexual violence. To date, sixty-nine countries have launched National Action Plans to increase women’s participation in security processes and improve women’s protection from threats of violence, from developing nations like Afghanistan and Kenya, to high-income countries like Japan and the UK.

You can read the open letter here. Scroll down to see all 391 signatures, listed alphabetically with Zonta International as #391. It’s an impressive list of organizations across 98 countries!

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Soup's On!

From tomato dill to beef barley with lemon, five delicious soups were on the menu at Annika Shapiro’s kitchen on a brisk fall day. A Peconic Bay Zonta member, Annika held a soup-tasting fundraiser for sixteen women 
at her home.

Annika put the finishing touches on the five soups, answered everyone's questions about soup making, and passed out the five recipes, plus a recipe for homemade bread, which she served with the meal.

Peconic Bay Zonta co-president Liala Strotman helped with the soup preparation, and her counterpart, co-president Diane Greenberg, gave a short talk about Zonta. Together with fees for the tasting, donations and proceeds from a raffle of a soup tureen, the event raised $1,070.

Thanks to a generous donation from Diane Giardi of East End Arts, who also helped with serving the soups, each of the participants took home a beautiful ceramic bowl made at Greenport Pottery as part of an “Empty Bowls” project. As part of this hunger-fighting program, each guest chooses a bowl to keep as a reminder that there are always empty bowls in the world. In exchange for the bowl, the guests give a minimum donation to feed the hungry. Thus, part of the soup-tasting proceeds will go to Island Harvest, a food bank for Long Island.

Photo credits: top, Bill Greenberg; bottom, Liala Strotman

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Local Zonta Volunteers Feed the Homeless

Peconic Bay Zonta members Liala Strotman of Wading River (left) and Mary Ann Miller of Hampton Bays pack up a home-cooked Thanksgiving meal for the homeless.

Liala Strotman, co-president of Peconic Bay Zonta (second from right), and her volunteer helper Betsy Kaplan (second from left) join volunteers from Maureen’s Haven to feed the homeless at  the Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church in Cutchogue.

Members from Peconic Bay Zonta prepared a Thanksgiving meal for approximately 30 homeless adults on eastern Long Island. Club members make a turkey dinner with all the fixings as a yearly volunteer service project. Peconic Bay Zonta is a local chapter of Zonta International, an organization that works to empower women and girls worldwide through service and advocacy.

The project was accomplished in cooperation with Maureen’s Haven, which provides support and compassionate services to homeless adults on the East End of Long Island. Peconic Bay members brought food to the Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church in Cutchogue to be served to those in need by volunteers.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Peconic Bay Zonta Wins 2017 Second Place United Nations Achievement Award

Surrounded by members of Peconic Bay Zonta, Suzanne Scalcione, Area 1 Director, displays the 2017 United Nations (UN) Achievement Award, Second Place, which the local club won from Zonta District 3 for promoting the mission and objectives of Zonta International in an outstanding manner.  Zonta International works to empower women worldwide through service and advocacy.

While Peconic Bay Zonta represents eastern Long Island, Zonta Area 1 encompasses Long Island, New York City, and the Hudson Valley. Zonta District 3 consists of clubs in New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland, the District of Columbia, and portions of New York and Pennsylvania. This is the second consecutive year that the local club won the UN award, taking first place last year.

During June 2016 to May 2017, Peconic Bay Zonta focused on the district goal of promoting events to increase international awareness, developing meetings and programs to highlight the cultural traditions related to the role of women in Sweden and China.

Annika Shapiro (standing, far right) hosted the club’s December meeting in her home by preparing a special Swedish holiday dinner. Annika, who grew up in Helsingborg, Sweden, described Swedish life and traditions related to women’s role in society. The club members learned, for instance, that Sweden offers parents of newborns or adopted children liberal paid parental leave.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Peconic Bay Welcomes Christine and Diane!

Peconic Bay Zonta welcomes Christine Killorin (above, left) and Diane Loffredo (below, left) as new members in the new Zonta year, June 2017 through May 2018.

Diane was drawn to Zonta because “women’s issues” are important to her. Likewise, Christine cites an interest in “women and girls’ empowerment.”

Peconic Bay is a local chapter of Zonta International, which has 30,000 members in 66 countries. More about Zonta:


Zonta International is a leading global organization of professionals empowering women worldwide through service and advocacy.


Zonta International envisions a world in which women’s rights are recognized as human rights and every woman is able to achieve her full potential.

In such a world, women have access to all resources and are represented in decision making positions on an equal basis with men.

In such a world, no woman lives in fear of violence.
– Photos by Diane Greenberg