On the eve of International Women’s Day 2017, IGE’s Center for Women, Faith & Leadership (CWFL) announced a new cohort of Fellows for its flagship Fellowship Program. The CWFL Fellowship is an innovative 2-year program that offers women of faith the opportunity to increase their capacity and leadership skills in conflict resolution and religious freedom promotion. The 2017-2018 cohort of Fellows includes 8 professional women of faith representing leadership within the academic, non-profit, development/relief, and government sectors. These women are from Muslim and Christian (Protestant & Catholic) faith backgrounds. Eight countries are represented in the cohort—Burundi, Syria, Nigeria, Mexico, Canada, the Philippines, China, and the U.S. Photos and biographical information about these impressive women can be found here, with more updates added to the website regularly.

In 2017 and 2018 CWFL will bring together these women of faith for leadership advancement workshops and online webinar trainings. The workshops and online webinars will introduce various frames and approaches of leadership, including those that integrate both faith and gender in unique and powerful ways. As a function of Fellows’ exploration of their own leadership strengths and styles, they will specifically learn how to craft and present purposeful narratives, and pursue strategic mentorship/mentee relationships that can support them in furthering their leadership development. Through the sessions, Fellows will be equipped to understand and influence decision making processes and agenda setting at the policy level; develop new networks of support and advocacy across faith, political, cultural and geographic lines; and, gain access and connections with women of faith in leadership roles from across all sectors operating at the highest levels of advocacy, policy, and decision making. Sessions and interactions within the Fellowship are meant to be both responsive and collaborative in nature.

Over the course of the Fellowship, Fellows will explore and shape their Personal Leadership Development Plan, which will be a living document, tying together all CWFL Fellowship workshops and trainings, and serving as a personal reference for Fellows as they progress through the Fellowship. At the end of the 2-year Fellowship, Fellows will tangibly apply their leadership and skills to address a current issue of conflict through a capstone project.

CWFL first launched its Fellowship Program in 2015. The first cohort included 10 women of faith who were chosen from among 50 applicants by the CWFL Advisory Council. The tangible success of the first cohort of CWFL Fellows affirmed the effectiveness of equipping them to move to higher levels of decision making, while supporting them in the exploration of their leadership identity as women of faith. Over the course of their Fellowship, Fellows cited that due to the program they achieved • 11 appointments to advanced positions of leadership; • 7 invitations to policy discussions; • 30 acts of thought leadership, including publications of articles & books, trainings, and mentoring relationships; • 5 peace awards; and • 35 invitations to present at global conferences.

Ultimately through the CWFL Fellowship program, IGE is building an alumni network of women of faith who are connected through their shared Fellowship experiences, and who are equipped to advocate holistically and collaboratively for conflict resolution and religious freedom in their home countries and around the world.

For more information regarding the CWFL Fellowship program, or to be added to the CWFL email newsletter, please contact Kristen Lundquist, CWFL Program Director at klundquist@globalengage.org.