On February 25, 2020, the Institute for Global Engagement’s Center for Women, Faith & Leadership (CWFL) launched the 4th cohort of its flagship fellowship program. The one-year fellowship advances the leadership and skills of women of faith working in the fields of advocacy on behalf of the vulnerable and marginalized.

One of IGE’s goals is that the fellows gain not only tangible skills for their leadership development, but also a valuable platform and safe space from which to gain greater connection and self-care.

The 2020 hybrid fellowship consists of 10 women of faith from Australia, Malaysia, Myanmar, USA, India, and Palestine. Participants represent women of Christian, Buddhist, and Muslim faiths, and come from professional sectors spanning religion, education, media, mental health, medicine, development, and social services.

The 2020 hybrid fellowship cohort will engage in a series of online learning sessions as well as in-person workshops in the U.S., Myanmar, and Vietnam.

The 2020 hybrid Fellowship offers both in-person and online learning experiences with three focus areas:

  1. Interpersonal psycho-social groups: These groups offer a safe and supportive space for participants to explore their identity as women of faith. By reflecting on life experiences, cultural expectations, religious influences, and ultimately the question of “Who am I?”, participants gain greater resilience in the midst of ongoing personal and professional challenges.
  2. Skill-building: Training sessions focused on leadership skill building help women not only gain a seat at the table, but also make the most of their voice and influence. Topics include negotiation skills, public speaking, networking, mentorship, and strategic planning. 
  3. Experiential self-care: What is the use of advancing the leadership of women of faith if they quickly suffer from burn-out and compassion fatigue? The Fellowship also teaches wellness practices such as mindfulness, yoga therapy, therapeutic massage, art therapy, self-compassionate response, and helping skills. Participants also learn how to pass these skills on to other women struggling to lead sustainably.

IGE also launched its inaugural CWFL Distance Learning Fellowship cohort in January 2020 with 20 women of faith from around the world. Overall, IGE’s CWFL fellowships have impacted 56 women of faith from 25 countries to date.