IIE Blog Opening Minds
IIE Blog Opening Minds

HER Girls Meet Ethiopian Woman Leaders

By: Edie Cecil on Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Every year in March, IIE celebrates International Women's Day by sharing about the bright young participants of IIE's Center for Women's Leadership Initiatives.

As part of IIE's Higher Education Readiness (HER) program, which provides young women in secondary school from underserved communities with a pathway to university, our team in the Addis Ababa office is organizing inspirational speakers to meet with the girls several times each semester. The speakers are Ethiopian women who have, despite challenges in their lives, become leaders in their field. The speakers are wonderful examples for the girls on what they could become if they focus, stay in school, and follow their dreams.

Ms. Selome Tadesse speaking with HER girlsRecently , Selome Tadesse, the first General Manager of the Ethiopian Radio and Television Agency and Founding Executive Director of the Network of Ethiopian Women’s Associations, spoke to the HER girls at Fitawrari and Addis Ketama. The girls were provided her profile prior to the meeting and came ready to ask Ms. Tadesse questions. The girls were interested in knowing what kept Ms. Tadesse focused and motivated despite the many hurdles that she had to overcome. They also wanted to know much more about the current work that she is doing as an advocate for women's rights. As Ms. Tadesse told the girls, "… excellence comes with passion. If I could get a chance of winding back my life to your age, I would ask myself: What motivates me? What do I most to talk and think about? If you know this, excellence will come."

The HER girls were thrilled to have the opportunity to meet and spend time with Ms. Tadesse. They were energized and the discussions reaffirmed why they were HER girls and had to continue to focus on their studies and self-development.

The HER program provides 100 girls entering the 11th grade with scholarship support combined with innovative leadership and life skills training to help them complete their secondary education and equip them with the tools needed to continue on to university. The program recently awarded its second round of HER scholarships to 11th grade girls from Fitawrari and Addis Ketema schools.

Here at IIE, we have a strong commitment to providing access to education and training for women across the globe. Through our Center for Women's Leadership Initiatives, IIE provides opportunities for women worldwide to participate in cutting-edge professional development, exchange programs, and pursue higher education.


Sunday, March 8 is International Women's Day, and IIE is partnering with the United Nations Women for Peace Association to promote an international social media campaign called #IWalk4Women. We invite you to join the campaign to end violence against women by marching with us in New York this Sunday.

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For more than nine decades, the Institute of International Education has been at the forefront of international education. The Opening Minds blog is IIE’s take on how this field continues to change. Here the Institute’s leaders will explore international educational exchange, global student mobility, institutional partnerships, international development, and other topics and trends that are shaping higher education around the world.

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