GlobeMed recently held its annual Summit ‘Leading Bravely: Finding Strength in Diversity’ on March 30 to April 1 in Chicago, Ill. It was, without a doubt, a tribute to brave leadership. With a program including speakers from 8 countries and over 20 organizations, including the founder of Amún Shéa Ron Brenneman and founder of the Kachin Women’s Association Thailand Shirley Seng, delegates were presented with an energizing array of experiences through conversation, interactive exercises, and even music!

Finding strength in diversity

The 11th annual GlobeMed Summit captured the importance of inclusion in global health, and programming changes represented the evolution of the GlobeMed community. Firstly, we created four Leadership Tracks – Build, Innovate, Awaken and Learn – to help delegates discover their own leadership approaches and capacity to deal with complex challenges.

Secondly, through daily donations and monthly giving, our donors made it possible for us to award 45 full sponsorships and a further 25 partial sponsorships to student and alumni delegates from financially disadvantaged backgrounds. This year, we also sponsored four international student participants from Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nepal, and Kenya.

Thirdly, our Alumni Association was instrumental in making this year’s Summit an inclusive and inviting space by facilitating and curating engaging workshops that centered on the skills needed to lead bravely. We are very excited about ramping up our efforts to continue supporting GlobeMed members after they graduate.

The power of women leadership

This year’s Summit showed that the GlobeMed network is still capable of finding strength in diversity, and it was no mistake that our key speeches were predominantly given by women.

We kicked off the Summit on March 30 with a performance by RAPtivist (Rap + Activist) Aisha Fukushima, who used her opening performance as an opportunity to explore how music and art can inspire collaboration, courage, and change. On March 31, US Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky reflected on her experiences leading bravely as a public servant and public health advocate, and how she takes on the United States’ most important issues with commitment, passion, and bravery.

Jane Ekayu, founder of Children of Peace Uganda, and K. Sujata, President and CEO of the Chicago Foundation for Women, presented a joint keynote on April 1, which dove into how they overcame great odds to attain power and resources to uplift other women and girls in their communities.

In concluding Summit, delegates heard from two graduating seniors, Bella Chavez from Indiana University and Juliana Madzia from the University of Cincinnati, and outgoing GlobeMed Executive Director, Alyssa Smaldino, who provided a moving closing speech about the past nine years she has spent with the organization as a student, staff member, and as the current head.

Delegates were elated. Summit provided example after example of how women — and specifically women of color — represent the positive impact of diversity through creative performance, activism, innovation, and in politics.

“My highlights of Summit were Aisha [Fukushima]! Jane [Ekayu]! All of the speakers! They were so incredible, so passionate, and it was very inspiring to see how so many different people contribute to this concept of global health and social justice.” – Ally Malecha, GlobeMed at the University of Denver

Daily actions towards making a change

The 2017 GlobeMed Summit was more than we could ever have hoped for, and the support of our donors and delegates has made us want to work even harder. We are truly amazed by how far we have come, and feel so grateful for partners like Conveners.org whose faith in our mission for social justice continues to drive us. After more than a decade of helping develop 21st Century leaders in global health, GlobeMed is not slowing down.

This post was contributed by Balungile Belz, ‎Director of Communications at GlobeMed. If you’d like to contribute to the Conveners Blog, please email us at blog@conveners.org.