One of YWCA Princeton’s many awesome interns, Aneeqah, recently participated in the Girl Up Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C. We’re proud to work with dedicated interns who take initiative to learn more about leadership and empowering women. Aneeqah wrote about her experiences at the summit:
Starting Monday, July 15, Girl Up held its 10th annual Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C. Girls all over the world came to the nation’s capital to participate in the summit, which lasted for three days. Thirty countries and twenty-five states were represented. Girl Up is a campaign started by the United Nations Foundation which works to empower girls globally and inspire them to take action against gender inequality.
I had the privilege of attending the summit, and to be honest I was nervous at first. There were going to be over 400 girls there, and I barely knew anyone else. My fears didn’t last long, though. The first day was a little bit overwhelming, what with seeing so many new faces and listening to so many stories. But I walked out the Ronald Reagan building that afternoon unable to wait for the next day of the summit. Those first two days, I got to listen to councilwomen, activists, and entrepreneurs speak about hardship, adversity, and pain. I got to see not only adults, but teenagers my age walk on stage with confidence and share how they overcame, or were overcoming difficulties in their lives. Some were unknown to the world. Some were not–such as actress Monique Coleman and Olympian Ibtihaj Muhammed. But all were making a difference.
The last day of the summit, Wednesday, was the Day of Action. Prior to attending the summit, all of us had to choose an action track that we would focus on. I chose the Advocacy track, probably one of the most interactive choices there was. I got the experience of going to Capitol Hill with a group of people, most of whom were from New Jersey, and speaking to the staffers of senators and representatives to lobby for the Keeping Girls In School Act.. I even got to speak with my own representative, Bonnie Watson Coleman.
An experience that I found to be just as valuable as interacting with leaders and mentors was interacting with my fellow participants. I spoke with people from all over the country and the world, whose lives were vastly different from my own. The connections that I made and the stories that I heard were not only inspiring, but they were empowering. Every person who attended the summit left feeling like they had the ability to change the world-a true statement that I just needed a little encouragement to realize.
Aneeqah is #OnAMission and we can’t wait to see the great things she’ll be part of next!