Young Women Rising

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For the past few years the American Women for International Understanding (AWIU) and the U.S. Department of State have jointly held what is known as Career Opportunities in International Relations (COIR) at the State Department in Washington, D.C. This past week AWIU and the DOS held the event in the Harry S. Truman Building with a reception later the same day at the Meridian House.

The whole purpose and mission of the event is to expose young women in high school, college and post-college to current career opportunities with the government in International Relations.

As a new member of AWIU, I had the opportunity to serve as the moderator for the reception at the Meridian House where we had a panel of three distinguished women, Ambassador Swanee Hunt (Eleanor Roosevelt lecturer, Public Policy, Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and author); Dr. Louise Shelley (Professor, Omer L. and Nancy Hirst Endowed chair, Scyhar School of Policy and International Affairs, George Mason University and author); and Sabrina Hersi Issaa, (CEO, Be Bold Media, Award Winning Human Rights Technology). The 2018 Impact Awards were also presented to five young women that were nominated by various individuals across the country. Forgiving For Living was proud to have one of our girls, Amaya Neely, from Los Angeles (now attending Cornell University) to participate and to be one of the five young women honored.

Oftentimes our girls are left out of being exposed to these opportunities and it is important for us that have access to make sure they are not only in the room, but also at the table. AWIU members such as president Maria Schory, Diane Mitchell Henry and Heather Joy Thompson from the DOS, among others, are making sure as much as possible that no girl is left behind on their watch. With the current climate of the world, we have to empower our young women to understand their worth and strength more than ever. There’s an African Proverb that says, “If you educate a man you educate an individual, but if you educate a woman you educate a nation.”

As a coach I work with people regularly who “don’t know what they don’t know.” Life and opportunities are so much about who we know, what we know and what we are exposed to. The events this past week at the Department of State and the Meridian House talked about the importance of being and having a mentor. I also think it is important for us to be and have a sponsor. The difference a sponsor brings to the table is that they are invested in your success. We have to share knowledge and information when we know it can help open doors for others.

Eleanor Roosevelt said, “you must do the things you think you cannot do.” I am blessed to be involved in many different organizations and groups, and I am determined to make sure young girls and women know their full potential and achieve the unimaginable. If all of us are willing to do the same, there will be many “young women rising!”

Healing Without Hate: It’s a choice. It’s a lifestyle. Pass it on!

By Wendy Gladney

Visit and Wendy is a coach, consultant and speaker. You may email her at

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