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Go JO girls: a blog by Maddie Handler

August 13, 2019

Maddie HandlerThis blog post was written by Arizona State University student Maddie Handler. Read her first blog post "The economic x-ray of Jordan" and her second post “Unveiling Syrian Refugee Camps.” Handler is the first intern for The Alchemist Lab, founded by 2018 WE Empower Challenge awardee Hadeel Anabtawi.

As I reflect on my time in Jordan, I have been fortunate enough to accomplish more in three months than most do in a few years. I have traveled to 12 cities, attended U.S. Embassy events, met prestigious business leaders and joined a global women’s network. The most rewarding, challenging and enlightening experience of all, has been teaching (and subsequently learning) from the girls at our Go Girls boot camp.

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Unveiling Syrian Refugee Camps: a blog by Maddie Handler

July 23, 2019

Maddie and the leaders of the refugee Girls Empowerment Programs
Me with some of the team members that run refugee Girls’ Empowerment Programs
This blog post was written by Arizona State University student Maddie Handler. Read her first blog, "The economic x-ray of Jordan." Handler is the first intern for The Alchemist Lab, founded by 2018 WE Empower Challenge awardee Hadeel Anabtawi.

When I first arrived in Jordan, all I really knew was that I wanted to learn about human development and helping people effectively so that it really causes an impact. I wanted to meet real people who wake up every day knowing that their job is making someone else’s life just a little better. This is why I was thrilled for the opportunity to work with WE Empower winner Hadeel Anabtawi and her Go Girls campaign.

I had this passion to learn, first-hand, what it was like to improve education, empower women, and meet refugees. As Hadeel had taught me very early into my journey, this internship was what I was going to make it. Jordan has an astounding number of human development workers, and I was determined to learn from the best. This is how I (lovingly) inserted myself into the lives of some of the head coordinators for youth programs at the Syrian refugee camps. Not only have these people become some of my close friends, but they worked tirelessly to get me access into the refugee camps where they work.

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The economic x-ray of Jordan: a blog by Maddie Handler

July 5, 2019

This blog post was written by Arizona State University student Maddie Handler.

About Maddie:

My name is Madeline (Maddie) Handler and I am the first intern for The Alchemist Lab, founded by 2018 WE Empower Challenge awardee Hadeel Anabtawi. ASU's Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute Of Sustainability co-leads the WE Empower UN SDG Challenge and this year I served as a first round student judge. I am finishing my Master's degree in global affairs and management from Thunderbird School of Global Management (ASU) in Phoenix. I met Hadeel through my mentor Amanda Ellis, who recognized that as Thunderbird's Net Impact Chapter President I had a passion for social impact, specifically U.N. Sustainable Development Goals four (access to education) and five (gender equality).

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ASU leading role in global consortium to support gender equality

June 30, 2019

Amanda Ellis (far left) with delegates and Women Political Leaders Global Forum founder & former vice-chair of the European Parliament, Silvana Koch-Mehrin (third from left)
The Women Political Leaders Summit is the “foremost global gathering of female political leaders,” according to their website. Every year, more than 350 female political leaders from around the world convene to exchange ideas on best practices around the globe concerning leadership and legislation, and embark on a political agenda setting that would create change in society.

In 2019, the summit was held in Tokyo, Japan and was co-hosted by the House of Representatives. It was the first worldwide gathering of female politicians on the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals and participants came from 87 countries. Senate presidents, House speakers and former Prime Ministers such as New Zealand’s Helen Clark and Portugal’s Jose Manuel Barroso also attended the summit.

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Changemakers for Sustainability Series: Gender, Tech and Transformation

June 12, 2019

On June 11, the WE Empower UN SDG Challenge group held the second Changemakers for Sustainability Event Series — a luncheon and panel with a gender and technology focus — at the Arizona State University Barbara Barrett and Sandra Day O’Connor Washington Center. The second of the series featured 2018 Asia Pacific WE Empower Challenge awardee Hadeel Anabtawi, founder of The Alchemist Lab, an organization providing education to over 25,000 children in cities, remote villages and refugee camps in Jordan. Anabtawi has also launched several initiatives such as “Go Girls!,” a program encouraging STEM-style thinking in young girls.

The event kicked off with opening remarks from United Nations Foundation CEO and President, Kathy Calvin, on the UN SDGs and the importance of gender equality from the UN perspective. Calvin highlighted the role of SDG5 in helping reach goals set in the others.

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WE Empower Challenge awardee visits Hawai'i to present and collaborate

June 3, 2019

Marine biologist and engineer Shimrit Perkol-Finkel was in Hawaii May 28-June 2 en route to the Women Deliver conference in Vancouver, where Amanda Ellis and Perkol-Finkel are both speaking on the same panel.

Perkol-Finkel is an inaugural awardee for the WE Empower UN SDG Challenge headlined by the UN Secretary General and President of the World Bank last September. We are so pleased Hawai'i Green Growth is a dissemination partner. Perkol-Finkel is co-founder of a company creating "ECOncrete" as a positive response to marine climate change.

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WE Empower holds inaugural Changemaker Series event in Washington

April 26, 2019

On April 25, the WE Empower UN SDG Challenge held its first Changemaker Series event at the Arizona State University Barbara Barrett and Sandra Day O'Connor Washington Center. This event celebrated Habiba Ali, the competition’s 2018 winner, who founded a Nigerian company called Sosai that brings renewable energy technologies to the most rural of users, improving access to clean, affordable energy and providing clean water and better health outcomes.

At a related event the evening before, Ali was awarded the 2019 Economic Empowerment Award through Vital Voices’ Global Leadership Awards Honoree Program. Vital Voices and ASU's Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability are lead partners of the WE Empower Challenge.

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Sustainability scholar presents at Davos

January 25, 2019

Amanda Ellis, executive director of Hawaii and Asia Pacific in the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability at Arizona State University, was part of a panel discussion at the 2019 World Economic Forum Annual Meeting held in Davos, Switzerland. In the discussion, titled “Women Leaders and the SDGs – How can women achieve the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals?,” Ellis showcased the WE Empower U.N. SDG Challenge, a program that celebrates extraordinary women entrepreneurs advancing the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Photo: Ellis (third from left) poses with the other panel speakers Márcia Balisciano, head of sustainability at RELX Group and board member of the Ban Ki-Moon Centre for Global Citizens; Sanjeev Khagram, dean of Thunderbird School of Global Management; and Alyse Nelson, president and CEO of Vital Voices Global Partnership.

Sustainability scholar presents at RELX Group SDG Inspiration Day

November 28, 2018

Amanda Ellis giving presentationThe first RELX Group SDG Inspiration Day in San Jose, California featured a talk from Amanda Ellis, executive director of Hawaii and Asia Pacific in the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability at Arizona State University. Ellis’s talk, titled "The Diversity Dividend — Technology to Advance the SDGs," focused on inspiring stories of how women are making the world a better place through innovative ideas and businesses. Stories included some of the WE Empower U.N. SDG Challenge awardees who run sustainable businesses. Ellis also discussed how Hawaii, where she lives, is committing to ambitious sustainability goals.

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A life-changing journey to the United Nations

View Source | October 5, 2018

Arizona State University Juris Doctor candidate Ember Van Vranken traveled to New York for the U.N. Global Engagement Summit as part of her volunteering as a student judge for the WE Empower U.N. SDG Challenge, a global competition supported by ASU's Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability. After a whirlwind week with the 2018 WE Empower Challenge awardees and ASU faculty, Van Vranken shared a first-person account of her experience with ASU Now.

Photo: Ember Van Vranken, right, with Amanda Ellis, ASU Wrigley Institute director of strategic partnerships, at the UN Solutions Summit

Female entrepreneurs strengthen sustainable businesses through WE Empower Challenge

View Source | October 4, 2018

WE Empower UN SDG ChallengeAwardees of the inaugural WE Empower UN SDG Challenge — a global business competition for female entrepreneurs who are advancing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals — recently spent several days in New York City for the U.N. Global Goals Week.

The WE Empower Challenge was initiated by Amanda Ellis, executive director of Hawaii and Asia Pacific for the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability at Arizona State University. Ellis attended Global Goals Week with the five awardees, who represent each of the U.N. regions, as did ASU student Ember Van Vranken from the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, who helped screen the applicants and was randomly chosen to join the group in New York.

During their time in New York, the awardees were featured at a high-level session at the U.N. General Assembly with the U.N. secretary-general, the president of the World Bank, five female presidents and the U.N. high commissioner for human rights. They participated in leadership trainings including blockchain and a number of networking opportunities, and had their work highlighted by the U.N. Foundation. Among their activities was a meeting with Lauren Gula, the U.N.'s senior manager of gender equality, to sign the Women's Empowerment Principles.

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How to improve economic growth? Empower women

View Source | September 28, 2018

A high-level panel event at the 2018 United Nations General Assembly discussed the importance of gender equality to the world economy. Empowering women, the panelists said, would contribute 28 trillion dollars to the world economy over the next seven years.

At this event, the five 2018 WE Empower UN SDG Challenge awardees were honored for their ongoing entreprenurial commitments to gender equality and advancing the Sustainable Development Goals.

Read more about the event in "Gender inequality costs trillions to the world," an article by the Council of Women World Leaders.

Five women entrepreneurs win first WE Empower UN SDG Challenge

July 27, 2018

Woman weaves at traditional loomThe Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability at Arizona State University, along with Vital Voices, the United Nations Foundation and many other partners, announce the winners of the inaugural WE Empower U.N. SDG Challenge. Five women entrepreneurs, representing each of the five U.N. regions, were selected to attend the United Nations Global Goals Week in September and to receive training and support for their efforts to empower women and improve sustainability in their fields.

The winning submissions are diverse and innovative:

    Habiba Ali, Africa - Ali founded Nigerian company Sosai, which brings renewable energy technologies to the most rural of users, improving access to clean, affordable energy and providing clean water and better health outcomes.

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United Nations 2018 women's economic empowerment event

March 15, 2018

Women represent half the world's population but still experience significant discrimination and violence that harbor their potential. António Guterres, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, has stated that "achieving gender equality and empowering women and girls is the unfinished business of our time, and the greatest human rights challenge in our world."

In an effort to address this, the U.N. in 2015 included the goal of "achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls" among the 17 sustainability goals enacted. The Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability is proud to be a lead partner in the WE Empower United Nations Sustainable Development Goal Challenge.

In addition to the U.N., there are several other organizations that are determined to tackle gender inequality, one of them being the Women Political Leaders. According to their website, they are the "global network of female politicians" and their mission is to "increase both the number and the influence of women in political leadership positions." Below is a three minute video that describes the costly effects of gender discrimination. This video was shared at the Women Political Leaders Summit in Tokyo.