23 VVEngage Fellows Explore the Moments that Pushed them into Public Service
November 2019 – Some are grassroots activists, some are Members of Parliament, some are journalists and some are changing the world through sports, but all of the VVEngage Fellows who attended our first in-person gathering of the 2019-2020 cohort know the value of setting an example for the next generation.
During a week of intensive, rigorous sharing, training and workshopping, the VVEngage Fellows peeled back the layers of their public personas to reach and understand the heart of their personal missions. Thanks to our public narrative trainers from leadership expert Marshall Ganz’s team at the Harvard Kennedy School, Fellows each explored how to better build stories in which they could share their authentic selves, relate that authentic self to a community, and encourage that community to act.
The VVEngage Fellows each opened up their hearts, minds and lives to delve into the defining moments that moved them to act, gave them hope and put them on the path they are on today so that they can better relate to themselves and others. But the trainings went even further, deeply exploring and unpacking why those moments moved them, arming them with the tools to bring that emotion to a community to not only mobilize others, but really organize others to confront an important challenge.
Seeded within each powerful story and moment shared was the drive and commitment to creating a better world for children – theirs or otherwise. Whether it was Immacuate Nalwadda from Uganda, using sports to empower and strengthen girls and promote gender equality, or Oana Bîzgan from Romania, speaking out against online and physical threats of violence to fight a culture where girls tolerate online harassment, each woman expressed their devotion to building a more gender equal future.
And the VVEngage Fellows already started to put that urgency into action: realizing the strength and power of the community they’re building, the women began discussing what they can do to not only further gender equality and women’s leadership in their countries but also, together, around the world. We can’t wait to see all that this group will do!
Thank you so much to our incredible public narrative trainers, Sarah ElRaheb-Dagher, Rosi Greenberg, Aditi Parekh, Megan Bock, Miya Cain, Andrea Ornelas and George Dagher.