Global Woman's Leadership brings women from around the world to South Bend


20 undergraduate women from different countries in the Middle East have come to South Bend.

Women have come from Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, and Tunisia to take part in the Global Women's Leadership Institute at Saint Mary's College.

They are learning about the United States, building leadership skills and life-long friendships.

"People were very welcoming to ask, that I didn't expect before. Especially that I’m a Muslim girl. So I felt like maybe it's afraid for me to wear my hijab, but when I come to here it wasn't,” said Bnar, from Kurdistan.

Bnar wants to be neurosurgeon someday. She says she wanted to do the program because she wants to help solve some of the serious problems women in her country are facing.

Even though St. Mary's College student, Alex Morales, is from the U.S. she can relate to these international students. Morales also wants to help empower women.

"You can't advocate and be a global women's leader without trying to be a leader and advocate for everyone else and people rights. Especially vulnerable populations in the community. I think that's part of being a women's leader,” said Morales.

23-year-old Noor is studying software engineering in her home of Jordan. She says through this program she learned to never give up.

Noor says despite the current political climate in the U.S. she never hesitated in participating in the program.

"I never judge countries by their government or they're political faces, otherwise you wouldn't accept any country in the world because all country leaders have their pros and cons,” she said.

There are similarities and differences between these women-- but they all agree that if women want equal rights then it's something they have to fight for.

"My message for girls to always feel they are strong. They can do whatever they want to do. They are the ones that can make their community a better place,” Bnar said.

The girls have been here for about two and a half weeks. They’ve gotten to visit many different cities.

They say they love the nature here and how green everything is. They like getting to interact with different people and one even said South Bend feels like home.

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off