Yale visit to Ethiopia focuses on supporting women leaders

YALE University Vice President Pericles Lewis addressing the Women Leadership Forum in Ethiopia

This month Pericles Lewis, Yale University’s Vice President for Global Strategy and Deputy Provost for International Affairs visits Ethiopia. During his visit, Lewis provided welcoming remarks at a Leadership Forum for Strategic Impact event. The forum – supported by La Fundación Mujeres por África (the Women for Africa Foundation) and Banco Santander – aims to amplify the effectiveness and influence of women in African governments. It is a keystone of the Yale Africa Initiative (YAI), an ongoing effort by Yale to prioritize and expand upon its collaboration on the continent.

During the event Lewis was joined by María Teresa Fernández de la Vega, president of the Women for Africa Foundation, in welcoming participants and attendees and providing remarks about the Leadership forum program. Following their remarks a session titled, “My Journey to Leadership Personal Testimonials,” was conducted. The facilitated discussion was moderated by: Beth Negash, GM Verdant Frontiers; & Mefthe Tadesse, Country Director Tecnoserve.

Session participants included:
* Hon. Meaza Ashenafi, President, Supreme Court of Ethiopia
* Hon. Shitaye Minale, Deputy Speaker of the House of Peoples Representatives, Ethiopia
* Hibaaq Osman, Founder & CEO, El-Karama
* Kah Walla, President, Cameroon People’s Party

The Leadership Forum for Strategic Impact is a keystone of the Yale Africa Initiative, announced by Yale President Peter Salovey in 2013 to further engagement with Africa, foster new directions in research, identify new partnerships with those on the continent, and strengthen Yale’s recruitment efforts, all while emphasizing teaching and learning. Ultimately, the forum aims to develop a network of empowered African women who will have a multiplier effect across the continent, not only among program participants themselves but also among their peers – both men and women – and among the younger generations they mentor.

“The forum not only enables African women to strengthen – and share – their understanding of the challenges facing their societies, but also helps them develop the tools, networks, and policies to address them,” said the program’s director, Emma Sky, an expert on Middle East politics, senior fellow at the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs and director of the Maurice R. Greenberg World Fellows Program.

“The Leadership Forum for Strategic Impact empowers women to contribute to their full potential for the betterment of their societies,” said Sky. “We are grateful to the Women for Africa Foundation and Banco Santander for their support of this important initiative.”

María Teresa Fernández de la Vega, president of the Women for Africa Foundation, says “In this change of era we are living, it is particularly important to foster women’s leadership, a transforming leadership that brings new perspectives to solve new problems,” said “The Leadership Forum has become a reference for African female political leaders who have the opportunity of meeting, sharing reflections, and shaping a network of empowered women committed with equality, governance, respect for human rights and improving democracy.

“I think that it is about a democratic necessity. You can’t deal with the problems of the world if you don’t take into account the input of over half the citizens, the women,” she adds.


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