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In 1978, three American expatriate women founded the non-profit organization WICE. Back in the States, the women’s liberation movement was in full swing and women were joining the workforce in droves. Paddy Welles, a psychologist, Linda Kofmehl, a Merrill Lynch banker, and a third associate, found themselves living in Paris and realized that there were many women who had been either raising children, being moved around as expats, or both, who did not have access to opportunities that had benefited their counterparts in the U.S. The WICE mission back then was to provide assistance to English-speaking women in Paris who wanted to enter or re-enter the workforce. Programs such as How to Write a C.V., How to Conduct an Interview in an H.R. Department, How to Look For a Job… were among the courses that WICE first offered, as well as courses aimed at revealing individuals’ talents. Jill Bourdaise, a current board member who has been serving the WICE community since the first year of operation, explains “Certainly things like cooking, which put women back behind the cook stove, were totally shunned.” A few years later, courses of a more academic nature were added and the program has continued to evolve throughout the years to suit the needs and interests of its members.

Wice2Thirty-seven years on, WICE now welcomes English-speaking men as well as women. It provides courses on everything from developing language, cooking and wine tasting skills to walking tours of Paris, holding true to the organization’s original mission of empowering its members by helping them discover and develop their talents and passions. WICE comprises approximately 500 members and 700 volunteers in an active community of English- speakers, open to anyone looking to find mutual support as they develop their interests.


WICE is organizing an open house on Tuesday 22nd September, from 1:00-5:00pm, to whet the appetites of those interested in taking courses in the upcoming academic year. Representatives of each of the course groups will be present: Art of Living in France, Creative Writing, Languages, Paris Walks and Visits, Cultural Studies, and Visual Arts. Visitors will discover the details of each course on offer and will learn how they can discover and develop new and past interests. The open day will be an opportunity to meet current members, to enroll in courses and to learn more about the many ways one can contribute as a volunteer. The open house is free of charge but those who pre-register at www.wice-Paris.org will be enrolled in a raffle to win a one year membership and those who enroll in a course at the event will receive 50% off their membership fee. All are welcome to partake in this lifelong learning community, which provides support and encouragement to discover and develop hidden talents that have been just waiting to be realized.

Open Day Information

Date: 22nd September
Time: 13:00 – 17:00
Entry: Free
Address: Dorothy’s Gallery,17 Rue Keller, 75011
More Details:  www.wice-paris.org/openhouse

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