“I am so happy to be a part of this. I think we make a huge family. It is a beautiful environment where you can share and learn to respect other people’s points of view. I know that we are constantly growing.” —Elizabeth Acosta, Paraguay
At first, Elizabeth Acosta was just another face on a computer screen full of young women when she first decided to join an online program for the Global Peace Women Leadership Academy. What she didn’t know then was that she had just begun her journey to discovering her new family and many amazing women that were changing the world, one community at a time.
The Global Peace Women Leadership Academy (GPWLA) has been a signature program of Global Peace Women (GPW) since 2017. Global Peace Foundation is a proud partner of GPW, which has worked to advance women’s leadership in peacebuilding worldwide. For more than six years, GPWLA has helped empower women like Elizabeth to foster confidence and skills to become moral and innovative leaders our world needs.
Elizabeth was nervous when she first signed up for the program.
“I was scared to talk in public or interact with other people I was unfamiliar with. This was especially so when the official communication language was English,” said the Paraguayan student. “My mind would go blank during the GPWLA Enrichment Program, but Dr. Kang and other participants would encourage me to share.”
Dr. Soonok Kang, the President of GPW during Elizabeth’s GPWLA experience, had come to visit Paraguay when the two met. She was the one who first encouraged Elizabeth to apply for the GPWLA. Elizabeth was excited when her application was accepted a few months later.
The GPWLA introduced her to a vast family that fostered mutual respect and understanding of different people’s thoughts and views. She fondly remembers the moments of encouragement from women who had just met her. The program has been an essential chapter in Elizabeth’s life and leadership journey. She grew and met so many inspiring women. She made friends and developed her public speaking, communication skills, and confidence to do much more for her community and country.
Her ongoing engagement with GPWLA has increased her capacity and expanded her perspective. She learned the process, sequence, and importance of recognizing problems in one’s community and country before helping others.
Before her journey in GPWLA, Elizabeth preferred working alone and thought she didn’t need help. However, she now understands the importance of collaboration and synergy in attaining goals. She has learned strategies to keep team morale high and work towards a common goal. The GPWLA experience has helped her see the bigger picture and understand how a team creates a circle of interdependence where everyone works together closely, supporting each other to make up for shortcomings.
Elizabeth recommends the program to her friends and anyone who wants to practice leadership and wants to make friends from different countries. We can already see her grow and are proud of her achievement.
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