Latin American Women Scholars Gathered in Perú
by Mary Beth Coudal
Recently, a year after her election as congresswoman of the Republic of Perú, María Cleofé Sumire de Conde, talked about politics and faith to a group of Latin American women scholars. Ms. Sumire is a Quechua indigenous leader from Cuzco, in the Andean highlands, an attorney, and Methodist Church member.
Among the 21 women at the gathering, two had received scholarships from the Women's Division international ministries committee and the rest from the Crusade Scholarship/Leadership Development office of the General Board of Global Ministries. The scholars represented Perú, Argentina, Honduras, Uruguay, Brazil, Nicaragua, Ecuador, and Colombia.
"We want to be open greater possibilities for leadership development and empowerment – putting people together, facilitating the space for them to be heard, facilitating the creation of networks so that people can collaborate, can exchange ideas and experiences, and so they won’t exist alone… These represent some of this office’s motivation for supporting an event such as this. And I hope we can expand it through other gatherings in other countries," said Lisa Katzenstein, scholarship office, Global Ministries.
Katzenstein emphasized the possibilities for even greater global communication between scholars funded by Global Ministries and other United Methodist agencies. She cites the creation of a scholars' chat room as one such venue for connection and collaboration.
“Let’s put people from around the world together who have been funded through Global Ministries. Let’s open the door for nuts and bolts discussions on issues such as sustainable development, HIV/AIDS work, grass roots sanitation programs in poor communities, on gender issues, on the reintegration of child soldiers into community life, on pastoral care in post-war countries... What a great way to spark new ideas, to share successes and set-backs, to get new approaches,” said Katzenstein.
The Perú gathering of Latin American women scholars was organized by the Rev. Rosangela Soares de Oliveira, an international missionary with women, children, and youth, in coordination with and support from the scholarship office of Global Ministries. Rev. Oliveira is originally from Brazil and is assigned by the General Board of Global Ministries to Women's Leadership Development in the Latin America region.
According to Rev. Oliveira, several of the goals of the conference were: to affirm the value of women's education; to breaks cycles of discrimination; and to support women as leaders. Most significantly, the conference aimed to build mutual support among Latin American women scholarship recipients.
To learn more about Rosangela Soares de Oliveira, visit her missionary biography.
To find out more about the grants and scholarships offered by Global Ministries, visit http://new.gbgm-umc.org/work/education/scholarships/
To read more about the political rise of a Methodist and Quechua indigenous woman, visit Maria Sumire: Woman of Faith and Strength .
Mary Beth Coudal is staff writer for the General Board of Global Ministries.
Date posted: Aug 31, 2007