Advancing Female Changemakers at JDC’s 2nd Int'l Women’s Leadership Workshop

Seventeen high-profile female NGO and civil society leaders are taking part this week in JDC’s 2nd International Women's Leadership Workshop in Israel, whose opening was featured in eJewish Philanthropy. The intensive five-day seminar was organized and implemented by our International Development Program (IDP), which is responsible for JDC's disaster relief and global development work in places like Japan, Haiti, Turkey, South Asia, and Africa.

Representing 13 countries, including Argentina, Bosnia, India, Indonesia, Russia, Serbia, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, and the U.S., the group includes women who have established or run major social change organizations and have been key partners with JDC in responding to crisis over the past few years.

“One of the most powerful trends we see in humanitarian work today is the unparalleled role of women as trailblazers and forces for good in communities worldwide,” said JDC CEO Alan H. Gill. “We’re very proud to have these leaders join us and be enriched by JDC's global expertise. This is an important opportunity to further cultivate a growing network of women who can connect across borders and during times of crisis.”

The Workshop provides educational, networking, and professional development opportunities in global development and disaster relief.

Beyond JDC’s women’s initiatives that empower females to improve their own lives and that of their families and communities, the Workshop targets already empowered women who seek peer support to help them surmount the enormous challenges they face in changing their societies while at the same time juggling their personal responsibilities as mothers, daughters, and wives.

"This has been a huge learning experience for me … an opportunity to learn both about myself and about how influential and powerful women are throughout the world,” said Lejla, a research officer at Sarajevo University’s human rights center in Bosnia. “In coming together, despite our differences in culture and background, we find that we face similar challenges in our work…. This process has also helped me distinguish between 'leadership' and 'authority', and has enabled me to analyze challenges from a completely different perspective.”

The Workshop features a forum on Adaptive Leadership with Professor Marty Linsky of Cambridge Leadership Associates, and site visits to program models developed by JDC in Israel that focus on people with disabilities, education, employment, and community development.
 
Participants are able to hone their skills in resource development, partnership building, impact measurement, and public speaking at sessions run by JDC experts. “I see this workshop as a rare opportunity to 'train the trainers' so to speak, to give those of us in leadership positions very important skills development, which is something we cannot easily access in our regular professional lives, but is so important,” said the representative from Indonesia. “It also gives us an opportunity to learn that some of the challenges we face in our countries are actually global challenges.”

Underlining that last point, as a follow-up to the Workshop, all of the participants have undertaken to establish similar networking and peer support opportunities in their own countries when they return home.

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