Northern Ireland Day 1
Zoe Dean-Smith, Senior Director, Global Programs
This is my fifth Global Ambassadors Program mentoring forum and each time we bring together a new cohort of Global Ambassadors and mentees, we know that it will be a week filled with collaboration and inspiration that will both stretch and inspire the participants.
This morning at the Culloden Estate in Belfast we heard from our eight extraordinary mentees who are involved in both for-profit businesses and non-profit organizations in sectors ranging from providing shelter to refugees, to providing healthcare services to each level of society, to high-end tourism and from countries including Rwanda, Croatia, Libya and Northern Ireland.
What we’ve seen already at this early stage, as each mentee introduced herself and her work, is that despite the geographical and
|Nurlan Silitonga, Zoë Dean-Smith, Dr. Deqo Aden Mohamed|
cultural differences, there are so many common challenges as well as examples of best practice that can be shared. Through this week, we look forward to observing the shared learnings that will take place, for example, between Nurlan Silitonga from Indonesia and Dr. Deqo Aden Mohamed from Somalia as they discuss their respective health facilities and the scope of services that they are able to offer within their communities.
Nurlan, director of medical services non-profit Angsamerah Institution, talks about challenges in keeping everything running in times of financial instability. “As an NGO, it is very hard to say no to money.”
Deqo runs the Dr. Hawa Abdi Foundation to support a sprawling camp and free medical clinic for nearly 100,000 Somalis displaced by war and conflict. “I want to see a sustainable Somalia.”
Rigorous strategic planning and financial management workshops built in to the program will be invaluable for mentees like Nurlan and Deqo, who will go home supported by critical mentorship, but also equipped with practical tools they can put to use at their organizations right away.
A highlight of our week will be the International Business Women’s Conference (IBWC 2014), a gathering of forward thinking businesswomen and men playing their part in Creating a New Economy, the conference theme this year.
Tying into this theme, this morning we also heard from local Global Ambassador Geraldine McAteer who brings a wealth of experience in community and cross-community development, talking about her role over the past 27 years in the economic, social and physical regeneration of Belfast during peacebuilding.
“We are an emerging democracy and we need to ensure that the government delivers to the people on social and economic terms,” says Geraldine. “Our peace must be underpinned by social and economic development.”
As we listened, it was very clear that a number of the mentees will be ensuring that they take advantage of this opportunity to learn from Geraldine’s experiences and hard lessons in navigating the reconstruction of Northern Ireland’s economy and social structure.
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Photography: David Hume Kennerly