Alliance of Pan American Round Tables

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Alliance of Pan American Round Tables (also known as the Alizanza de Mesas Redondas Panamericanas, 1916-) is a women's organization which was founded to create networks among the people of the western hemisphere and represent each republic within the Americas. Initially a local organization, founded in Texas, it spread to statewide chapters with a parenting body in 1921. In 1944, with expanded international ties the Alliance was formed to unite the outreach of the various chapters. The non-partisan, non-sectarian NGO provides educational and cultural outreach programs.


The Pan American Round Table (PART) was founded by Florence Terry Griswold in San Antonio, Texas on October 16, 1916. The impetus to found the organization was Griswold's concern for women and children refugees of the Mexican Revolution and the need to help them and better understand their lives. She believed that an apolitical and nonsectarian, with no commercial purpose nor alignment with any national government could help build bridges between nations that businessmen and politicians were unable to foster due to their motivations. If women could develop an understanding and cooperation among themselves, on the concept of the Round Table equality, she thought that they could influence men to do the same. Calling the inaugural meeting at the Menger Hotel, the charter members, besides Griswold were Mary Burleson Bee (Mrs. Carlos); Ella Dancy Dibrell (Mrs. Joseph Burton Dibrell); Anna Hertzberg (Mrs. Eli Hertzberg); Olivia Nolte (Mrs. Walter Nolte); Mary Pancoast (Mrs. Aaron C. "A. C." Pancoast); among others.[1][2]

Griswold served as the first director and in 1921, the second chapter opened in Laredo[1] and later that same year, Eugenia Schuster opened the branch in El Paso.[3] In 1922, the chapter in Austin,[1] as well as the state organization were founded. Griswold founded the state organization and became the first State Director to coordinate the activities of the various branches.[2] Round Tables in other countries followed with the first branch established in Mexico City in 1928.[1] In 1936, Ángela Acuña de Chacon founded the first branch in Costa Rica at San Jose and the following year, the Dallas chapter was founded by Katherine S. Robinson (Mrs. Stone J. Robinson).[2]

In the early 1940s, Emma Gutiérrez Suárez joined the Mexican branch. She would later become the chapter's National Director.[4] Upon Griswold's death in 1941, Robinson became the State Director and Nolte proposed that a scholarship, named in Griswold's honor be granted annually for young Latin American women wanting to further their education in the United States to enable them give back to their home country upon completion of their schooling.[2] In 1944 the international body, the Alliance of Pan American Round Tables (Spanish: Alizanza de Mesas Redondas Panamericanas) was founded in Mexico City[1] with Robinson as the first international Director General. By 1946 a Cuban branch had been formed and by the time of the organization's fiftieth anniversary, there had been chapters created in all of the countries of the Americas except, Canada, Haiti and Venezuela.[2]

The Alliance's "Director Generals"[edit]

Alliance of Pan American Round Tables Director Generals
Years of Service Image Name Countries Notes/ Details
1944–1947[5] Katherine S. Robinson United States United States elected in Mexico City[6]
1947–1951 Mrs. Maurice V. Hugo (Mary Lois)[7] Mexico Mexico elected at the Havana, Cuba Convention of 1947[5]
1951–1953 Olimpia Varela y Varela Panama Panama elected at the Dallas, Texas Convention of 1951[6]
1953–1955 Dixie E. Waltrip United States United States elected at the Monterrey, Mexico Convention[6]
1955–1958 Ola C. Hendrix United States United States elected at the Porto Alegre, Brazil Convention[6]
1958–1962 Ottilia de Oliveira Cháves Brazil Brazil elected at the El Paso, Texas Convention of 1958 and reelected at the 1960 Guatemala Convention[6]
1962–1966 Emma Gutiérrez Suárez Mexico Mexico elected at the Mexico City Convention of 1962 and reelected at the 1964 Lima, Peru Convention[8][6]
1966–1968 Madeline Clark Nelson United States United States elected at the San Antonio, Texas Convention of 1966[6]
1968–1972 Carmen de Recalde Nicaragua Nicaragua elected at the Managua, Nicaragua Convention of 1968 and reelected at the 1970 Mexico City Convention[6]
1972–1976 Carmen Luz Calero de Barrionuevo Peru Peru elected at the Panama City, Panama Convention of 1972 and reelected at the 1974 Albuquerque, New Mexico Convention[6]
1976–1978 Maxine C. Guerra United States United States elected at the Lima, Peru Convention of 1976[6]
1978–1982 Ruth García Barna de del Puerto Mexico Mexico elected at the Fort Worth, Texas Convention of 1978 and reelected at the 1980 Acapulco Convention[6]
1982–1984 Esperanza Bermudes de Morales Nicaragua Nicaragua elected at the El Paso, Texas Convention of 1982[6]
1984–1986 Sara R. de García Jaramillo Peru Peru elected at the McAllen, Texas Convention of 1984[6]
1986–1988 Helena Torres Muga Richards United States United States elected at the Cancun Convention of 1986[6]
1988–1990 Rebeca Osuna Westrup Mexico Mexico elected at the Guadalajara Convention of 1988[6]
1990–1992 Mila de Coquis Peru Peru elected at the Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia Convention of 1990[6]
1992–1994 Gladys N. Simpson United States United States elected at the Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic Convention of 1992[6]
1994–1996 Delia Pérez de Plata Mexico Mexico elected at the Miami, Florida Convention of 1994[6]
1996–1998 Ursula Wille Bolivia Bolivia elected at the Puebla, Mexico Convention of 1996[6]
1998–2000 Carmen Robinson Guerra United States United States elected at the Lima, Peru Convention of 1998[6]
2000–2002 Luchy de Elias Dominican Republic Dominican Republic elected at the Puerto Rico Convention of 2000[6]
2002–2004 Fabiola García de Steffanoni Mexico Mexico elected at the Monterrey, Mexico Convention of 2002[6]
2004–2006 Norma Ríos de Flores Peru Peru elected at the Cordoba, Argentina Convention of 2004[6]
2006–2008 Peggy Lasater Clark United States United States elected at the Corpus Christi, Texas Convention of 2006[6]
2008–2010 Martha Ofelia Martínez de Calderón Mexico Mexico elected at the San Jose, Costa Rica Convention of 2008[6]
2010–2012 Ana Maria Acuña de Macedo Argentina Argentina elected at the Mérida, Mexico Convention of 2010[6]
2012–2014 Elsie Perez United States United States elected at the Buenos Aires, Argentina Convention of 2012[6]
2014–2016 Maria Eva Muñoz de Manzarraga Mexico Mexico elected at the Lima, Peru Convention of 2014[6]
2016– Nhury Gutiérrez Vilches Chile Chile elected at the San Antonio, Texas Convention of 2016[9]

Modern organization[edit]

The present day organization has around 1,400 chapters with each operating as an autonomous entity with their own governing documents. Most chapters provide educational programs and financial aid packages for Latin American students, as well as cultural programs. In 1991, the Florence Terry Griswold Endowment Fund was created to maintain its scholarship program in perpetuity.[10] The 100th Anniversary of the organization was held with their biennial convention in San Antonio, Texas from October 26 to 29, 2016.[11]

Archival records[edit]

The archival records of the organization were housed in Mexico City until the 1970s. In 1977, the member of the Mexico City PART chapter who was housing them at her home, brought a discussion for a permanent archive. Because the Bylaws of the Alliance required that Mexico City was required to maintain the archive, formal amendment of the governing documents had to occur. In 1978, the proposal to found a permanent archive was suggested at the convention held in Fort Worth, Texas and approved. In 1979, the records were transferred to the University of Texas at Austin library.[6]



  1. ^ a b c d e Frantz 2010.
  2. ^ a b c d e Trotter 1967.
  3. ^ The El Paso Herald-Post 1976, p. 6.
  4. ^ Ruíz Ibañez 1966, p. 73.
  5. ^ a b Wallace 1948, p. 20.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac Alvarez 2015.
  7. ^ Carroll, H. K., ed. (1951). Anglo-American Directory of Mexico. Mexico City, Mexico: Talleres Tipográficos de "Excélsior". p. 105. OCLC 1481159.
  8. ^ The Deming Headlight 1962, p. 13.
  9. ^ Panamericana Texana 2016, p. 4.
  10. ^ Rosales 2006, p. 340.
  11. ^ Valenzuela 2016.