Guyanese women head to US for leadership programme

Guyanese Mignon Bowen and Simone Morris-Ramlall will be given an opportunity to further empower women in Guyana when they participate in a United States’ International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) starting next week.

According to a release from the United States Embassy, Bowen will participate in the State Department’s Multi-Regional Program on breast cancer awareness and outreach from October 10 to 28.

The program will provide opportunities for 30 or more participants to interact with US healthcare practitioners and participate in activities during October which is officially designated Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

The group will discuss international partnerships in breast cancer awareness, public health campaigns, and advocacy initiatives by NGOs and national associations. The program will also highlight the latest scientific research in breast cancer prevention and treatment.

Ambassador Hardt during his meeting with Mignon Bowen and Simone Morris-Ramlall. (Photo courtesy of the US Embassy)

Bowen is the Chairperson of the Avon Community Help Fund, an organization established in 2005 to implement small scale community-based projects for breast cancer awareness and education the release noted. She  is responsible for preparing, implementing, monitoring, and evaluating the fund’s yearly work plan as well as Breast Cancer Awareness month activities here.

She is also the primary breast cancer awareness advocate liaising with the Ministry of Health and teaches breast self-examination as a cost-free method of early diagnosis. Bowen is currently working to establish a breast cancer support centre for newly diagnosed patients, recovering survivors, and family members, the release noted.

Meantime, Morris-Ramlall, a lawyer, will participate in a sub-regional project for the Caribbean under the State Department’s Women’s Leadership and Medical Participation Voluntary Visitor’s Program, from October 10 to 19. Within the time period, participants will visit the US to examine how international, national, and local organisations serve, protect, and empower women in all facets of daily life, from the home front to community, civic, and political participation.

Morris-Ramlall works at the Guyana Legal Aid Clinic, providing free legal counselling and services to clients, the majority of whom are underprivileged women who do not have a means of speaking for or representing themselves, the release stated. She also volunteers as vice-president of the Guyana Association of Women Lawyers, hosting projects that support, educate, and empower women.

Newly accredited US ambassador to Guyana, Brent Hardt met the two women leaders recently and he emphasized that the State Department considers foreign policy issues and activities relating to the political, economic, and social advancement of women, a priority. The duo also shared information about their respective organizations, as well as their efforts to empower women in Guyana during the meeting.

According to the release, the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) is the flagship professional exchange program of the US Department of State, which annually brings 5,000 foreign nationals to the US from all over the world to meet and confer with their professional counterparts and to experience America firsthand.

The released stated that visitors are current or potential leaders in government, politics, the media, education, the arts, business and other fields. Among the thousands of distinguished individuals who have participated in the IVLP since its inception almost seven decades ago, are more than 290 current and former Chiefs of State and Heads of Government, 2,000 cabinet-level ministers, and many, many other distinguished leaders from the public and private sectors.

The release stated that more than 100 Guyanese nationals have participated in a range of IVLPs over the years. The Voluntary Visitor (Volvis) Program, which generally lasts from 2 to 14 days, offers individuals selected by US embassies, the opportunity to meet and confer with their professional counterparts throughout the US in order to obtain a broader view of American culture, society, and politics.

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