To be a Zontian is to live first and foremost by the principles and vision of Amelia Earhart: Pursuit of one’s goals against adversity, beyond borders and obstacles of all kinds, and in the best interests of women and girls across the world.

The organization, of which Earhart is regarded as essentially a founding mother, donated an elaborate quilt depicting the emblem of Zonta International and the flags of numerous participant nations to the Amelia Earhart Birthplace Museum on Thursday.

The quilt, produced by the St. Louis, Missouri, chapter of the regional Division 7 of Zonta International — covering Kansas, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota — is to be put on display amid a recent Zonta conference held in Kansas City, Missouri.

For the unveiling of the quilt at the museum, Salla Tuominen of Helsinki, Finland, visited in her role as a Zontian and District 7 international liaison.

“Of course, Zonta International (founded in 1919) is turning 100 years old this year, and this is a very special moment for all of us,” Tuominen said. “I think really, the mission of Zonta International is what we all live for. And here, in this museum, we honor a remarkable woman, a proud Zontian, and a role model for countless girls and women.”

On Saturday at the conference in Kansas City, Tuominen presented Amelia Earhart Fellowship awards to students in the field of engineering and other technical fields; designed to advance the careers of young women studying an aerospace-related interest, the $10,000 scholarship is the largest award presented by Zonta International.

“Since 1938, we have raised more than $10 million, which has gone on to benefit more than 1,600 inspiring women,” Tuominen said after the quilt’s unveiling on Thursday. “We have other scholarship programs, but this is the largest. It is crucial for our mission to empower women and girls through service and advocacy.”

District 7 Governor Shelley Schultz said in a news release about the quilt that the event at site of Amelia Earhart’s birth and early childhood — where Samuel “Edwin” Stanton Earhart and Amelia “Amy” Otis Earhart welcomed her into the world on July 24, 1897 — was the highlight of area and visiting Zontians’ travels throughout the region amid the Kansas City conference.

“(This) historic quilt is a symbol ... of Zonta International and Amelia Earhart’s relationship,” Schultz said. “We are very proud to have had her as a member of our organization.”

For more information, contact aemuseum@att.net, call 913-367-4217 or visit the museum at 223 North Terrace St.

Marcus Clem can be reached via marcus.clem@atchisonglobenow.com

or @AdAstraGorilla on Twitter

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