It is with regret—but also optimism for the future—that Global HERizons will be putting a pause on this year’s Call for Proposals, until autumn 2020. We know that the world needs smart, visionary women—perhaps now more than ever. But we also recognize that those young women need to be present during this global moment, and are focusing on the wellbeing of themselves, their families and local communities. It is a lot to ask young women to envision their contribution to building a better future when the future is unclear right now, and while they are grappling with the day-to-day realities of the global COVID-19 pandemic.
We want to encourage young rural leaders to be present to this moment— it is a time for deep personal reflection and for deep inspiration. As this pandemic unfolds, if all you can do right now is keep your head above water, then that is perfect, and exactly what you need to be doing. And as the situation evolves in the coming months, visionary thinkers and doers will be needed — YOU will be needed.
THERE IS A NEED FOR RURAL/LOCAL LEADERSHIP: This pandemic has shown us just how interconnected we all are as people and as a planet. Rural communities have an intimate understanding of human interconnection, and we know the important role that people, community and connection play in human flourishing.
THERE IS A NEED FOR A GLOBAL VISION OF THE FUTURE: This understanding of—and appreciation for—human interconnection is at the heart of a global vision for a post-COVID-19 future. Canada is already investing in building our collective future, and there will be lots of opportunities to help shape the evolution of our response and impact as people and as a country.
THERE IS A NEED FOR WOMEN LEADERS: Women scientists and researchers are at the core of Canada’s national response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and their expertise and leadership is paving the way for more young women to step in and step up to create positive change. The world is inspired by inclusive approaches to feminist leadership, and we need more young women leaders to bring their ideas and impact into the national and global space.
THERE IS A NEED FOR MENTORSHIP: Ultimately, we are learning how much we need each other, but also how much we can do to support each other. There is an ongoing need for mutual support and kindness as we explore the roles each of us can play in building a better future.
And so, until the Call for Proposals is launched, here are a few ideas to take forward:
- Keep in touch, follow our current Global HERizons Young Leaders, and let us know how you are changing the world in your communities. Follow us on social media (Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn), subscribe to our newsletter, and watch this space in autumn 2020!
- If you are not already, there are lots of ways to donate (time or funds) to support local efforts in your community. Whether it is donating to the food bank, a women’s shelter or supporting local businesses, all of your contributions are creating a future built on solidarity and caring.
- One of the important actions we can take (if we are not front line workers) is to virtually check in on each other, and especially on those most vulnerable or isolated.
- Most importantly, this is a time to be present for yourself. You are a whole human being, and it is okay to do whatever you need to do in this moment to be healthy in body and in mind. Give yourself space to be just okay. Or not okay. Pick up the slack when you have space to give, and don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. We are all in this together.
We look forward to staying in touch over the coming months, continuing to celebrate the vision and impact of women leaders, and creating opportunities to engage and stay connected during this global inflection point. Be here, be you, be well.