THE LEGACY CREATED BY LUCRETIA LOUISE DEL VALLE GRADY
As a diplomat’s wife, Lucretia Grady first became acquainted with foreign cultures when her husband, Henry Grady, became the first United States Ambassador to the newly-independent India in 1947. When Henry Grady was appointed Ambassador to Greece in 1948, Lucretia became the first woman to be named an honorary citizen of Athens. It was at this time that Mrs. Grady, U. S. Secretary of State George Marshall, and the history of AWOG became entwined. On a visit to Greece to follow up on the relief aid given to Europe after World War II, Secretary Marshall met with Ambassador and Mrs. Grady. It was during this visit that she conceived the idea of bringing together the women of the American community to study their international role in Greece. When she presented her thoughts to Secretary of State Marshall, he agreed that an organized group of well-informed women would be effective “Ambassadors of Good Will” to their host country. Thus, it all began. The American Women’s Organization came into being.
As times changed, so did AWOG. In 1952 AWOG became a member of the Federation of American Women’s Clubs Overseas (FAWCO) and continues to participate actively in the projects of this organization.
AWOG’s goals expanded to include philanthropy and helping institutions here in Greece. In 1962 AWOG realized how vital and dynamic the organization would become if women of other nationalities were included in the membership. Non-American English-speaking members were then welcomed into the group.
In December 1993, under the presidency of Rena Sarzetakis, AWOG was recognized by the Greece state as a cultural non-profit organization with the name of “Enosi Amerikanidon Ellados.” Since then two constitutional changes were made in 2013 and 2015 in order to keep current with changing laws and the dynamics here in Greece.
In the 73 years since AWOG’s conception, many things have changed, but our goals remain strong:
- To commit ourselves to helping the community through financial and volunteer support of non-profit, non-political Greek institutions.
- To welcome newcomers, helping them to acculturate into their new environment by establishing friendships, by becoming involved and by sharing experiences in small neighborhood groups, as well as through our monthly meetings and activities where members from all over Greece can meet and mingle with each other.
- To offer members a variety of activities such as fine arts visits, evening events, lectures, special activities and fundraisers.
From our first Honorary President—Mrs. Grady in 1948—until today in 2021—with Mrs. Mary Pyatt, every wife of every American Ambassador to Greece has been the Honorary President of AWOG. What a wonderful legacy for us to continue!