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Newsletter Winter 2023

Updated: Mar 28, 2023

We wish we had never been through this terrible winter 2023, when on 6 February at 4:00 a.m in the morning, an earthquake of magnitude 7.8 struck the south of Turkiye on a scale similar to the size of Denmark causing extensive damage and killing thousands of people in the affected areas.

I would like to kindly ask you to observe a minute's silence for the victims of this human tragedy.

International support and expression of solidarity have poured over Turkiye. The governments of the world have responded immediately by sending aid and rescue teams.

In Ankara, the seat of Diplomatic missions, life has changed a lot after this disaster. Many displaced persons having lost everything are trying to settle down in our capital. We, spouses of Ambassadors and Representatives of International Organisations accredited in Ankara, are aware to collect more information about the needs of the people hosting in our city with the aim of easing their burden by providing them with donations according to our means.

The SHOM group sincerely hopes for the earliest possible recovery of the affected areas.

Thank you for your attention,

Mediha Nami de Martinez,

President of SHOM Ankara

SHOM Coffee morning in remembrance of the persons who were affected by the earthquake, Residence of Mexico, 20 March 2023

The first SHOM reunion after the earthquake took place at the President of SHOM's residence. Mediha Nami de Martinez invited the wife of Ankara mayor, Nursen Yavas, and three distinguished guests to share their experience helping the victims who have been displaced to Ankara.

Melek Gunden Cinar, from Ankara Municipality, explained that more than 200.000 persons moved to Ankara following the earthquake. The Municipality is helping them in many ways. Donations and basic necessity kits are welcome. A bazaar will be organized soon to do fundraising for the earthquake. SHOM will be informed about it and is welcome to join.

Sebnem Akçapar, the new elected DMEDD President, spoke about her association of spouses of Turkish ambassadors, and the upcoming activities they will be conducting and would like to do with SHOM.

Zeynep Erkan, co-founder of "Music Life around Us", presented the activities they are currently conducting and emphasized that the concert they organize on 22 March will be in recognition of the countries that supported the rescue teams. She was accompanied by co-founder Zeynep Ersavci.

On the occasion of this gathering, we were pleased to welcome 2 new members: Evelina Prosper, from Rwanda, and Runa Mahzabeen Ahmed from Bangladesh.

SHOM members initiatives in support of the victims of the earthquake

As soon as SHOM members heard about the earthquake, they got organized to help.

SHOM Board: Members fees in donation to AFAD and Turkish Red Cross

On the day following the earthquake, the Board agreed to send the money it had collected from members fees, a total of 35.000 TL, to the two main organisations operating in the field: AFAD and the Turkish Red Cross.

Regional group initiatives

The Africa group ASHOM sent on 10 February a donation consisting of blankets for adults and minors, thermal socks, thermal wears, thermal shawls, towel and water to the Ministry of social affairs.

Uruguay, Paraguay, The Dominican Republic, El Salvador and Guatemala donated food, clothes, personal care and hygiene products on 9 February to Cankaya municipality.

Many embassies and International Organisations provided direct support and donations.

Carmen Wijnands, spouse of the Netherlands Ambassador, giving flowers to women in need in Ankara.

But let's not forget the good moments we had just before the earthquake, with so many activities happening only in the first weeks of the year!

Members news


We wish a warm to welcome Joanna Lang, spouse of the Ambassador of Poland, Evelina Prosper, spouse of the Ambassador of Rwanda, Precious Sikazwe, spouse of the Ambassador of Zambia, Lourdes Victoria Marin Romero, spouse of the Ambassador of Peru, and Runa Mahzabeen Ahmed, spouse of the Ambassador of Bangladesh.


Congratulations to Beatriz Garlaschi, spouse of the Head of mission of the IFRC (International Federation of the Red cross), who will start working for the Spanish Red Cross in Madrid in April.

Programs and Events

Coffee morning at the Residence of Ireland, 26 January 2023

Feilim MacLaughlin did an excellent presentation of his country, using beautiful pictures, mentioning touristic places, what to do and where to go, catching the attention of all present members. At the end, many asked questions about visiting Ireland and the best season to go there.

SHOM Board gave him a beautiful bonsai as a present.

On behalf of the Charity group, Celestina Diaz presented the new recipe book which is about salads. More than 20 countries and international organizations spouses shared their favorite salad recipe and stories about them. It is a unique souvenir about our time in Turkiye, and an excellent opportunity to make a difference for only 300 TL. The money raised will go to a project in support of the victims of the earthquake who had to move to Ankara. Please contact Celestina Diaz or your group coordinator if you want to buy some.

Concerts by "Music Life Around Us"

French Embassy, 24 January

Maria Magro, spouse of the French ambassador, invited 11 young piano students from Prof. Sanem Berkalp to perform in front of SHOM audience. Zeynep Ersavci, co-founder of "Music Life around us" reports: "The event was like magic at the beautiful French residence, the warm afternoon light and French composers' impressionistic music felt like a "mid-winter Daydream". The students were very excited but also proud to have the opportunity to perform on the French soil. The reference letters provided will motivate them even further and will be of great importance on their CVs."

Rehearsal at the Presidential Symphony Orchestra CSO, 10 March

On the occasion on International Women's Day, the Presidential Symphon Orchestra (CSO) hold a concert under the young conductor Can Okan. SHOM members were invited to the rehearsal in the morning, and could share a private moment with the young conductor and Zeynep Erkan, founder of the association and violinist at the CSO.

Museum of Anatolian Civilisations, 22 March

Mr. Erkan Tarhan, director general of Fine Arts Dept of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism organised a concert in cooperation with Music Life Around Us in support of the victims of the earthquake and appreciation of the national and international rescue teams. The programme, by "MUZED Muammer Sun-Polyphonic Choir" with Director Dr. Atilla Cagdas Deger, took place in the center hall of the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, surrounded by Neo- Hittite reliefs and statues. Among the invitees, two Deputy Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador M.K. Bozay and Ambassador Burak Akçapar were present. An experience we will all remember!

Group Activities

Book Club

12 January at Beatriz's

The first reunion of the year took place under Spanish auspices. Beatriz Garlaschi, spouse of the Head of Mission of the IFRC, invited us to discuss a book written by the Spanish writer Irene Vallejo: Papyrus. The lively discussion was followed by a invitation to share a home-made paella!

3 February at Anita's

On the first Friday of February, we met at Anita Robert's house (spouse of the UNHCR Head of Mission) to discuss the turkish saga of the Shakir Pasha family "A Turkish Tapestry", by Shirin Devrim. Thanks to our dear Turkish friends in the group, some of whom knew members of that family personally, we could hear all about this amazing dynastie and how they made their way through from the Ottoman empire to the new Republic.

2 March at Zeynep's

Zeynep Ersavci, spouse of a former Turkish Ambassador, received us on a cold March morning to discuss the Italian bestseller "My brilliant friend" by Elena Ferrante. The atmosphere soon became as warm as an italian summer, and lasted until the beginning of the afternoon.

Green group

Lecture on how to reduce our carbon footprint by Ross Sinclair, New Zealand spouse

New Zealand residence, 20 January 2023

Ross Sinclair shared with us his passion for the planet by explaining, in a very didactic way, how each of us can have a positive impact on climate change. He gave us very practical every day tips to reduce our carbon footprint, such as turning off our computers and phone chargers, avoiding elevators, drive slowly..

His lecture was translated into Turkish and Ross shared it with 120 children from a Turkish school. He can share the translated PowerPoint to anyone interested.

Lecture and lunch on Organic Farming hosted by Sharmila Singh-Wimmer, residence of Austria, 2 February 2023

The father of Astrid Skjonsberg, spouse of the Norwegian Ambassador, is an Austrian citizen who has written a lot about organic farming. In a country where 27% of the agriculture is organic, most Austrian know the basics. But for us coming for all over the world, it was an eye-opener! Thank you Arthur Schnizer for your wonderful presentation, and Sharmila Singh-Wimmer for a delicious lunch!

Cooking Club at the French residence, 23 January

The spouse of the French Ambassador, Maria Magro, spoiled us with a wonderful "Galette des rois" cooking lesson on 23 January.

In early morning, we entered through the back door of the beautiful residential palace directly into the kitchen. There, the Chef and his staff were waiting for us to teach us how to make the traditional galette des rois, a marzipan pie which is always on the table in France all through January.


April Coffee morning will take place on 18 April. Astrid Skjonsberg will welcome us at the residence of Norway.

On 6 April, the book club will meet at the residence of Albania to discuss "Palace of Dreams" by Ismail Kadare, and on 4 May it will discuss "Daughter" by Ukrainian writer Tamara Duda.

In May, SHOM Spring tea will be hosted by Yasmina Mimouni at the residence of Algeria.

To keep posted on our activities, please register to our Whatsapp group SHOM EVENTS, and to our website

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