TWC Hosts “Women Empowerment in the 21st Century” Seminar

Empowering Women in the 21st Century

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The Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars (TWC) hosted its second “Women Empowerment in the 21st Century” Seminar from May 14th to May 21, 2017, in Washington, D.C. In conjunction with The Advanced Leadership Foundation and the Government of Sonora, Mexico, 103 Sonoren women from different socioeconomic backgrounds, ages 21 to 65, were selected to participate in the program.


From thousands of nominations and hundreds of applications, the final participants were selected to attend the week-long seminar based on their proven commitment to improve their communities through the work they perform in their professional and personal lives.


Through several initiatives, the Mexican State of Sonora is focused on bolstering its economy and revitalizing its labor force. Consequently, Sonora Governor Claudia Pavlovich came up with a vision to build Sonora’s emerging industries while simultaneously investing in innovation and equality of opportunity for all Sonorans. In order to partner with the Governor’s plan of inclusivity and innovation, TWC specially designed this seminar to strengthen and inspire Sonora’s women. Economic success, personal and professional achievement served as the cornerstones for the seminar where women were trained and inspired to realize their full potential as leaders in the 21st century. With a clear vision at hand, the learning objectives for the participants were implemented into the seminar’s program.


The Washington Center's Women Empowerment in the 21st Century Seminar


The Washington Center’s Chief International Officer, Senior Vice President, Pilar Mendiola-Fernandez, said at the beginning of the conference, “There is no more effective development tool than the empowerment of a woman.” Subsequently, the first goal was to help the women develop self-awareness and a strong understanding of access and opportunity as it applies to women. Next, explore the challenges and barriers to women’s empowerment and learn how to effectively navigate the professional sphere as a woman in today’s world. Lastly, the women were taught to enhance personal and professional competencies such as cross-cultural understanding, personal branding, leadership, negotiation, social responsibility, innovation, problem solving, critical thinking, persuasive communication and networking skills.


The seminar included multiple panels, presentations, hands-on workshops, and visits to the World Bank and the Organization of American States. Although the seminar only lasted a week, the “Women Empowerment in the 21st Century” seminar was designed to have a lasting impact on not only its attendees, but also the people of Sonora. Co-Founder of Fundación Cielo, Josefina Urzaiz, told participants, “Find your passion, only if you find your true passion will you persevere.” With that in mind, participants created nine projects with a focus on addressing social challenges in the State.


The Washington Center's Women Empowerment in the 21st Century Seminar


Throughout the week the women heard from more than 25 influential leaders. Speakers included the likes of World Bank officials, the Advisory Chair for the Greater Washington Women’s Network, the Chief of Staff to the Mexican Ambassador to the United States, the Director of the Workplace Equality Program for the Human Rights Campaign and several others.


During the seminar, TWC staff conducted one-on-one interviews and profiled several attendees. To read about some of those participants, please visit TWC’s Medium channel [content in Spanish].


To learn more about the seminar visit the Women’s Empowerment in the 21st Century Seminar Facebook page, and to see pictures, videos and testimonials from participants. You can also visit our wall.


For more information about participating in future TWC Seminars, contact

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