In February, the Institute for Global Engagement’s Center for Women, Faith & Leadership (CWFL) launched its sixth Hybrid Fellowship cohort and third Distance Learning Fellowship cohort. The one-year fellowship programs convene outstanding women of faith leaders from around the world to build their capacity and leadership skills as they engage religious freedom, conflict resolution, and peacebuilding issues in their own contexts. Fellows learn from one another and a network of experts in order to enhance their leadership, cross-cultural communication, and negotiation skills while leveraging their expertise and networks to more effectively influence and educate multiple audiences and stakeholders.
The Hybrid Fellowship not only focuses on practical skill building, but also engages in identity reflection, community building, personal leadership planning, and research. The Hybrid Fellowship offers both in-person and online learning experiences that are built upon three core focus areas:
- Interpersonal psycho-social groups: Participants explore their identity as women of faith in a safe and supportive space. By reflecting upon life experiences, cultural expectations, religious influences, and, ultimately, the question of “Who am I?”, participants gain greater resiliency as individuals in the midst of ongoing personal and professional challenges.
- Skill-building: Training sessions focused on building leadership skills help women not only gain a seat at the table, but also utilize it to its full potential. Topics covered include negotiation skills, public speaking, networking, mentorship, and strategic planning.
- Experiential self-care: Oftentimes, women of faith leaders encounter burn-out and compassion fatigue in their professional endeavors. To address this, the fellowship teaches sustainable leadership through wellness practices such as mindfulness, yoga therapy, therapeutic massage, art therapy, self-compassionate response, and helping skills. Through these practices, we not only learn how to honor ourselves as the Imago Dei, but also learn how to pass these skills on to other women struggling to lead sustainably.
The 2022 Hybrid Fellowship cohort will meet for 10 webinars as well as two in-person workshops in June and November 2022.
The Distance Learning Fellowship was established in 2020 to broaden the reach and impact of the Fellowship to women of faith who were unable to attend in-person programming. The 2022 Distance Learning Fellowship program contains training modules similar in content to the Hybrid Fellowship and is carried out entirely online.
With the launch of the 2022 CWFL Hybrid and Distance Learning Cohorts, CWFL has now served 101 women-of-faith from around the world. This year’s fellows feature a broad range of countries represented:
- Hybrid Fellowship Cohort: Egypt, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mongolia, Morocco, Nigeria, Poland, Turkey, and the United States.
- Distance Learning Fellowship Cohort: Burundi, Canada, China, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Myanmar, Nigeria, Turkey, United States, and Uzbekistan.
In total, the 25 CWFL Fellows in 2022 come from 18 different countries. We look forward to the coming year as CWFL strives to support the leadership advancement of women of faith working for the vulnerable and marginalized around the world.