Episcopal Life Online reports that the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem and the Middle East is hosting a leadership and empowerment conference for women August 16-22, and expected among the participants are both men and women from the Diocese of Tokyo.
The inspiration for this conference, “Together We Can Make the Change,” was born when Shafeeqa Dawani addressed a gathering in Tokyo several years ago. She described the challenges Palestinians face daily in the Holy Land, recalled Dawani, who is married to Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem Suheil Dawani.
“It is a continuation of the October conference,” Dawani says, referring to the first-ever women’s conference, “Let us Growth Together Towards Unity,” which was held October 25-29, 2007 at the Schneller Institute in Jordan and which she also hosted. Included among the speakers was Her Royal Highness Princess Basma Bint Talal, the sister of Jordan’s late King Hussein and a champion of women’s empowerment.
Afterwards, Dawani organized a series of regional workshops on communications skills and leadership workshops for women throughout the diocese, which includes Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Palestine and Israel. She is planning additional regional trainings, as women comprise about half of the membership of the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East and are already filling leadership roles, she said.
“We’re empowering each other. We need this empowerment to be visible. We need to do something for the women because we are already leading, especially the wives of priests. Each is already a leader in her own community,” she said. “We are educated. We have abilities, so why not?”
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