Vital Voices Announces its 2023 Cohort for VVEngage, the Nonprofit NGOs' Signature Fellowship Program for Outstanding Women Political Leaders

More than two dozen women from over 20 countries spanning four continents have been selected for the competitive fellowship program

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 16, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Vital Voices Global Partnership is proud to announce its 2023 cohort of VVEngage Fellows, our signature fellowship program supporting outstanding women political leaders who are influencing policy across the globe.

More than two dozen political leaders from over 20 countries spanning four continents have been selected for the competitive fellowship program, which offers strategic training sessions from Harvard University professors from The Kennedy School of Government and also connects them with current and former female heads of state through the Council of Women World Leaders.

“This year’s VVEngage Cohort brings together a diverse group of women political leaders who are already making a huge impact on their communities,” said Manira Alva, Vice President of Issue Advocacy at Vital Voices. “We are excited to work with these incredible women as they continue their political leadership journey, work to advance the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and create lasting change in their organizations, communities, and the world.”  

A goal of the program is to increase the capacity, decision-making power and effectiveness of women leaders in politics and government in an effort to shift culture around women’s public leadership.

The outstanding women selected for the 2023 VVEngage Cohort are as follows: 

  • Abby Finkenauer, Special Envoy for Global Youth Issues, U.S. Department of State
  • Alba Rueda, Special Representative on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Alena Popova, Public Policy Fellow, Wilson Center
  • Alexandra Ames, Secretary for Social Management and Dialogue, Presidency of the Council of Ministers
  • Angélica Flores, Director of Climate Affairs, Fundacion Ciudades Resilientes
  • Annah Shiri, President, National Council of Disabled Persons of Zimbabwe
  • Catherine Nakhabi Omanyo, Member of Parliament
  • Chantel King, Member of Parliament
    South Africa  
  • Fatoumatta Njai, Member of Parliament
    The Gambia  
  • Gehad Hamdy, Founder and Manager, Speak Up
  • Helen Hayden, Executive Member for Infrastructure, Leeds City Council
    United Kingdom  
  • Janice Allen, Senator, House of Parliament
  • Joanne Ascencion Valdez, City Council Member, Candon City Local Government
  • Maria Rivera Espinosa, Founding Team and Director of Partnerships, onepoint5
  • Maryann Okon, Political Editor/Correspondent, Plus TV Africa and Nigeria Info FM
  • Miliswa Mamba, Mayor, Ezulwini Municipality
  • Nigina Anvari, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Agriculture
  • Nisreen Eisay, Adviser for Women and Youth, Presidential Council in Libya
  • Nurhayati Ali Assegaf, President, Nuraa Women’s Institute
  • Quincia Gumbs Marie, Minister of Sustainability, Innovation and the Environment
  • Roxy Ndebumadu, District 4 Coucilmember & Mayor Pro Tem, City of Bowie, Md.
  • Sabina Kamuhia, Deputy Minority Whip
  • Shah Gul Rezaie, Women and Human Rights Activist
  • Simina-Geanina-Daniela Tulbure, Member of Parliament
  • Anonymous, Women's Rights Activist  
  • Anonymous, Women’s Rights Activist and Political Leader   

The yearlong Fellowship launches today, May 16, 2023. Fellows will convene online for training and discussions throughout the program. Visit VVEngage online to learn more and follow the program on social media using the hashtag #VVEngage.  


About Vital Voices 
Now celebrating more than 25 years, Vital Voices Global Partnership has directly invested in more than 20,000 women leaders across 184 countries and territories since its inception in 1997. Driven by the universal truth that women are the key to progress in their communities and nations cannot move forward without women in leadership positions, Vital Voices has provided early support for leaders who went on to become Nobel Peace Prize Laureates, U.S. Youth Poet Laureates, prime ministers, award-winning innovators, pioneering human rights defenders, and breakthrough social entrepreneurs, including Amanda Gorman and Malala Yousafzai. In an effort to advance and expand this work, in 2022 Vital Voices opened the doors to the world’s first global embassy for women, the Vital Voices Global Headquarters for Women’s Leadership. It is a first-of-its-kind space that allows for convening, innovation, planning, and action—all in the pursuit of serving women leaders who are taking on the world’s greatest challenges. 


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