Horizon Summit

Global Women's Gathering on Leadership and Networking

In conjunction with CSW61, WFWPI and WFWP, USA organized the Horizon Summit, a global women's gathering on leadership and networking, with three separate events over a period of four days from March 16 to 19.


On Thursday, March 16, Dr. Thomas Ward, Co-Chair of the Research Institute for the Integration of World Thought, Member of the Executive Committee of the World University Federation, and Dean at the University of Bridgeport, gave presentations on strategic planning and peace studies. He walked the participants through the strategies used by the Women's Suffrage Movement to organize themselves and accomplish their goals and how these practices may be applicable to the development of WFWPI.

On Saturday, March 18, participants gathered at a lovely private estate in Irvington, New York to hear from several speakers. Angelika Selle, International Vice President of WFWPI and President of WFWP, USA, began with introductory remarks. She emphasized the importance of being an example at home by practicing leadership through serving others and developing a parental heart. She urged participants to strive for a new paradigm of leadership in the world, which begins in the hearts of every person.


The next speaker was Dr. Rima Salah, a former Deputy Assistant Secretary General of the UN, as well as former member of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's High Independent Panel on Peace Operations. Dr. Salah made several important points on how NGOs need to work with governments, as they can have a profound impact on decisions affecting society. Participants were inspired by Dr. Salah's charisma and passion. An intimate discussion with the participants followed where Dr. Salah gave further insight and advice on how women can work together on the grassroots level and specifically in certain regions of high tension.   


Dr. Karen Judd Smith, Co-Chair of the Alliance of NGOs on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, and Founder of the NGO Academy, gave a talk on advocacy, sharing key insights from her work with the United Nations and from her Amazon Bestseller United Nations Unlocked. Dr. Smith mentioned that one important approach for success is a mindset of ongoing self-reflection for self-improvement. She asked the audience whether they see challenges as barriers or great opportunities and to question whether their motivation comes from taking from or giving to others. Dr. Smith emphasized how these assumptions and motivations are key for success and prosperity in the type of work WFWPI does.

Dr. Thomas Ward concluded the day's program with an interactive exercise that explored the concept of making mutually beneficial decisions between nations, both for the prosperity of the nation as well as for that of the world. 


A brief discussion followed among the younger generation of participants on the takeaways from the day and their own role in advocacy. The general consensus among the group was that they felt a deep need to become experts in their various fields in order to influence policies and bring about the change they wish to see.


The summit continued the following day with an educational trip to the FDR Presidential Library, and the Val-Kill National Historic Site, in Hyde Park, New York to explore Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt's contribution to the founding of the UN and Eleanor Roosevelt's important role in the creation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Throughout the tour, the striking images of and quotes by Eleanor Roosevelt represented her lifelong work as a diplomat, activist, journalist, educator, party leader and "First Lady of the World." Participants left with a deeper understanding of the foundation upon which the UN was established.


New York, UN NewsMikka Cruz