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Colorado Welcomes Women Leaders from Across Globe

A new summer institute launched by the University of Denver is part of an effort to create a global women's leadership network. (Rhododendrites/Wikimedia Commons)
A new summer institute launched by the University of Denver is part of an effort to create a global women's leadership network. (Rhododendrites/Wikimedia Commons)
August 29, 2017

DENVER – From record-breaking crowds at the Women's March, to ongoing protests in Venezuela and sustained mobilization in Zimbabwe, women are driving movements to resist authoritarianism and create progressive social change.

Erica Chenoweth, a professor at the University of Denver's Korbel School of International Studies, brought 17 leaders from across the globe to Colorado this week for a three-day event.

"What's really unique about this institute is it's bringing these women together to basically talk with one another about what they've learned from these really difficult grassroots struggles that they've been involved in - and what's particularly unique about leading such struggles as women," she explains.

She says in addition to sharing challenges and success stories, activists will have access to advanced training from leading experts on waging effective nonviolent campaigns. Chenoweth says after the women head back home, the Inclusive Global Leadership Institute will create a communications platform to help leaders stay connected.

Jeanette Vizguera, a leader with the Denver Metro Sanctuary Coalition - who herself took sanctuary this winter from the Trump administration's crackdown on immigration - met with women working on issues including tax justice in Kenya, gender rights in Pakistan and LGBT protections in Tunisia.

Chenoweth points to Black Lives Matter 5280 and the Safety Pin Box's anti-racism work as examples of local efforts fueled by strong women leaders.

"There are all kinds of different actions that women basically have been key in organizing and sustaining that affect us all where we live here in Colorado," she adds.

Chenoweth says the goal is to expand this year's pilot class of 17 to 40 or 50 in future years and hopes the institute eventually will lead to a global women's leadership network that can share best practices and mobilize resources and support.

Eric Galatas, Public News Service - CO