IWA (www.iwachicago.org/ is an educational organization that welcomes women from around the world to the Chicago area by offering education, support, and services. It promotes cross-cultural dialogue and friendship.
Thornburg, 90, has led IWA for 34 years. Her supporters say she has touched the lives of thousands of foreign women living in the Chicago area, as well as American women who have international connections. The organization now has 500 members who represent 60 different countries. Along with providing support, IWA is also an advocate for human rights, especially for women and children.
Thornburg's vision for IWA happened in 1978, while she was serving Chicago's International Visitors Center. At that time, she saw a need to focus exclusively on women and decided to start IWA.
Over the years, Thornburg has been recognized for her international work. Thornburg was honored when Britain's Queen Elizabeth took note of her untiring efforts to improve relations between Britain and the U.S., and awarded Thornburg an "Order of the British Empire."
Friends tell ABC 7 that Thornburg celebrated her 90th birthday in August, but they say she "shows no signs of slowing down! She is the most dynamic and youthful 90-year-old in Chicago and is a stellar example of the spirit and vitality of the city of Chicago."