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OWLC in Action

A World Where Every Girl Is Valued

2 months 2 weeks ago

The Chattanoogan recently covered an inspirational local school visit made by Jin In, a 2013 Omega Women’s Leadership Center (OWLC) Intensive and 2014 Women Serving Women Summit participant. 

Jin encouraged the students to vision “a world where every girl is valued and supported to realize her full potential” and “to shift fundamental mindsets and ignite tomorrow’s women leaders.”

For Jin, this is not an abstract notion but a deep call to action rooted in her own childhood, when her widowed mother moved them from Korea to the United States. Through a mentor in her youth, Jin learned that destiny is not determined by gender, but by actions. Now Jin is a mentor, spurring young women to believe that the most powerful force for change in the world is themselves.

Jin In has spoken to organizations and at conferences across the world and worked with the UN Commission on the Status of Women to promote the leadership of young women. She hopes that by speaking to young women directly, she is “passing the baton” to future leaders and change agents.

“The best foreign policy is to develop future leaders, and education is the best platform to teach leadership,” she says. 

Read the full article

 

OWLC Attends Netroots Nation

4 months 2 days ago

Omega board member, Jamia Wilson, and cofounder of the Omega Women’s Leadership Center and chief external affairs officer at Omega, Carla Goldstein, attended the 9th annual Netroots Nation conference in Detroit, Michigan. At the gathering, more than 3,000 people convened to attend over 80 panels and 40 hands-on training sessions, a film screening series, and other events covering technology, politics, and activism "designed to educate, stimulate, and inspire the nation’s next generation of progressive leaders." The speakers included Elizabeth Warren, who gave the keynote address. 

Netroots Nation aspires each year to bring "thousands of bloggers, newsmakers, social justice advocates, labor and organizational leaders, grassroots organizers and online activists together to make new connections, hone their organizing skills, share best practices, and build stronger relationships with others working on the issues they care most about."

Over the weekend, Carla and Jamia also participated in a walk to raise awareness of the ongoing water crisis for Detroit residents. 

 

OWLC Advisory Council Member Edit Schlaffer in Zanzibar

5 months 3 weeks ago

Recently, Omega Women's Leadership Center advisory council member Edit Schlaffer visited Zanzibar, the island off the coast of Tanzania in East Africa, where debates around their constitution and a referendum concerning unity with the mainland are fueling cultural and political radicalization that has especially impacted women and families. Young Zanzibaris have taken to the streets in violent protest led by UAMSHO, meaning the Awakening. Tying together her experiences there with events around the world, Edit reflects on the realities of terrorism, the fate of the Nigerian school girls kidnapped, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and makes a call to action to the mothers and women of these regions while there is still an opportunity to prevent further radicalization. 

 "We can't let the violent extremist hijack the local narrative....This is the entry point to build up the resilience in mainstream society and encourage the strength to stand up and say: 'No, your agenda is not our agenda'....We need to look at the first line of defense which are the families and particularly the mothers. The home is the place where the excitement and frustrations of the adolescents can be dealt with and channeled. This is the only safe place where early warning signs can be addressed and responded to in an empathetic and constructive way....

[Women] need to bring their voice and concerns to the fore. They need to be active in their families and communities to build resilience and create alternatives to external influences, which might lure them into divisive directions. Given their unique perspective and position in the heart of their communities, their expertise needs to be recognized and used across all levels of society both formal and informal.

This is about humanity now, it is time to stand up and defend our fabric of life. If half of humanity is left behind and left out, it won't work."

Read the full article on the Huffington Post

Learn more about the Omega Women's Leadership Center

OWLC Attends "Celebrating Women Breakfast" Honoring Gloria Steinem

6 months 1 week ago

On May 8th, Omega Women's Leadership Center director, Michele Bertran joined more than 2,000 women leaders at the New York Women's Foundation (NYWF) 27th Annual Celebrating Women Breakfast in New York City. At the breakfast, Gloria Steinem, an Omega Women’s Leadership Center (OWLC) Advisory Council member, was celebrated as the Century Award Honoree for her exemplary and lifelong human rights commitment. 

Gloria spoke about the unfinished business of the women's movement—including obtaining equal pay for equal work, ending domestic and global violence against women, and calling for a culture of equality, inclusion, and respect. Ana Oliveira, NYWF President and CEO, whose own remarks also addressed inequality and violence, talked about the forward looking and uniting work of NYWF in the coming year. She described the breakfast as "the sitting march of our movement." 

More Than 100 Walk to #BringBackOurGirls

6 months 2 weeks ago

This Mother's Day, the Omega Women's Leadership Center and a coalition of local organizations, including the Eleanor Roosevelt Partnership at Val Kill and the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce’s Women’s Leadership Alliance, held an event at Walkway Over the Hudson in support of 276 kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls and their families. The girls were kidnapped four weeks ago by Islamic extremists.

The event began on the Poughkeepsie side of the Walkway at 10:00 a.m. More than 100 women, men, and children walked in concern for the fate of the young women in Nigeria and in solidarity for an end to violence against women and girls worldwide.

"It's not just a women's issue, it's a social issue, it's a global issue, it's a human rights issue, and we can't just sit by and not say something," said Carla Goldstein, cofounder of the Women's Leadership Center and chief external affairs officer at Omega Institute. 

#BringBackOurGirls 

OWLC Attends the UN Commission on the Status of Women

7 months 3 weeks ago

Omega Women's Leadership (OWLC) director, Michele Bertran, recently attended the UN Commission on the Status of Women at the UN headquarters in New York City. This was the fifty-eighth annual session and included representatives of Member States, UN entities, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) from all over the world. This year's theme was "Challenges and achievements in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals for women and girls."

The OWLC attended a pivotal session, "Open Dialogue on Beijing + 20," a discussion about the progress made in the almost 20 years since the 1995 UN Fourth World Conference on Women held in Beijing, China. The session solidified a call to all duty bearers for unprecedented will and commitment to end gender inequality. It also highlighted UN Women's plan to create a "forward looking process that will galvanize diverse stakeholders: governments, parliamentarians, civil society, media, opinion leaders, the UN system, and the private sectors" around the following specific core objectives:

  • Renew political will, commitment, and concrete action by governments and all partners to accelerate implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action
  • Enhance social mobilization, awareness-raising, and revitalized public debate across all sectors of society
  • Strengthen evidence to increase knowledge and understanding of the structural causes of gender-based discrimination and inequality and of solutions and best practices
  • Invest in sufficient resources for achieving gender equality, women's rights, and women's empowerment
 
 

OWLC in Denver for Mediation Training

8 months 1 hour ago

Omega Women's Leadership Center (OWLC) director, Michele Bertran, participated in a conflict resolution training with InAccord Justice Centers to share information about Omega and the OWLC with others working for peaceful solutions and just outcomes. Held in Denver, Colorado, the training was attended by 22 participants from the United States and Nigeria interested in honing their mediation, arbitration, and restorative justice skills. Bertran said Omega's holistic worldview "that the well-being of each is connected to the well-being of all of us" really resonated with those who are actively working for peace and justice.

InAccord Justice Centers provides services and training in mediation, arbitration, and restorative justice through a collection of centers located globally. Their procedural conflict resolution model was developed by Mediators Without Borders. An "empirically based technique," it offers empowerment, transparency, and fairness, and incorporates research in achieving solutions to conflict.

Founder of InAccord Justice and Mediators Without Borders, Shauna Ries, organized the event and led the training. She and Michele Bertran are cofaculty for the upcoming OWLC workshop, Leading with Emotional Courage: How Empathy Can Heal, Inspire & Create Breakthroughs, from May 23-26.

Learn more about the 2014 OWLC workshops

Omega Rises for Women

9 months 6 days ago
On February 14th, the Omega Women's Leadership Center (OWLC) participated in Hudson Valley Rising's 2nd Annual One Billion Rising event at State Universtity of New York (SUNY) New Paltz. The event was held in conjunction with V-Day's worldwide One Billion Rising, calling for the end of violence against women and girls, and provided an opportunity for local students to come together with residents of all ages in the community to stand up for a common cause.  
 
Co-organizer Mary Goggin was inspired to found Hudson Valley Rising when she heard Eve Ensler's public announcement of One Billion Rising at Omega's Women & Power Conference in 2012, where Goggin was a partipant. Co-organizer Johanna Longbotham noted that the event took root in the community this year. "There were boys and men here. I feel the impact deepening."
 
More than 250 men, women, and children of all ages were in attendance. Families, coworkers, and community activists milled and danced before Goggin enthusiastically welcomed attendees. Assistant District Attorney of Ulster County Elizabeth Culmone spoke about the predicament of women and children facing domestic violence, a One Billion Rising video was played depicting global women rising in collective survival and triumph, and a flashmob of the anthem "Break the Chain" was led by SUNY Residence Life Director Corinna Caracci. Finally, Drew's Energy Dance Company from Kingston offered dance lessons and Hudson River Playback Theatre reflected on attendees' experiences of the event through improvisational theater and music. 
 
OWLC manager Sarah Urech said that in spite of "enormous piles of snow everywhere," the event was a success. She continued, "I feel so moved to be part of it, as an OWLC representative, a dancer, a supporter, and a performer with Hudson River Playback Theatre. RISING feels different than fighting, or protesting. All of these actions are important, but there is something about framing this as RISING that makes my heart sing, lifting me out of the sorrow and rage, and letting my spirit soar." 
 
 

Omega Celebrates International Women's Day

9 months 1 week ago

On March 8th, the world will once again honor International Women’s Day, celebrating women's achievements while also acknowledging the challenges that women still face. 

Calling for solidarity as women continue to work for equal rights, the Omega Women’s Leadership Center is cosponsoring the 4th Annual International Women’s Day Walk at the Walkway Over the Hudson in Poughkeepsie, New York. Organized by the Women's Leadership Alliance of the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce, the event will begin on the Poughkeepsie side of the bridge at 9:00 a.m.

Inspiring Change is this year’s celebration theme. A theme that Mecca Santana, the newly appointed New York State Chief Diversity Officer, will address in her remarks prior to the bridge walk. We invite you to join us as we walk in solidarity with women across the globe. 

Register for the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce's event at Walkway Over the Hudson

Learn more about International Women's Day 


Women & Power Participant Develops Go Beyond Greatness Programs

9 months 2 weeks ago

The Kingston Times recently featured 2013 Omega Women’s Leadership Center’s (OWLC) Women & Power Retreat participant Ashley Knox and the Go Beyond Greatness educational and empowerment workshops she was inspired to develop for both children and adults. Knox credits her time at Omega with helping her move ahead, and inspiring her to help others do the same. 

Sarah Urech, OWLC Manager, met Knox during a workshop at Omega’s Women & Power Retreat. “The retreat theme this year was Find Your Own Strength, and it inspired Ashley to offer a series of workshops to stimulate personal growth and communication skills,” said Urech. “I really enjoyed her workshop—she is so full of enthusiasm for life and belief in people’s capacity to enhance their own well-being. She skillfully guided people through a series of exercises and left people wanting more. With her natural talent for community building, I’m excited to see what she does next.”

Knox explains, “The purpose of ‘Go Beyond Greatness’ is to inspire people to bring out their best qualities to achieve personal and academic goals…Our program offers skill development training for college and career readiness with an emphasis on critical thinking and good decision-making for greater results in academic achievement and life success. [The program] specializes in leadership development, effective communication, and social awareness to motivate people to place passion, pride, and commitment toward themselves and the communities they live in.”

Read the full story

Learn more about Omega Women's Leadership Center

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