By Daniel Hirsch
For most people, Roman holidays don't usually turn into the founding journey of a global nonprofit organization dedicated to women's rights. But for Diana Ruiz, founder of the Women's Global Leadership Initiative (WGLI), it did. While attempting to escape the crowds of tourists in Rome, Ruiz took a side trip to Croatia in 2008. Having studied the Balkan conflicts of the 1990s, Ruiz approached her trip with intellectual curiosity, wondering what the war-torn country felt like in the midst of a difficult recovery. Through interviews with Croatians across the country, Ruiz discovered that Croatian women felt repeatedly disenfranchised from the post-war decision-making process. Their voices weren't being heard.
This brought Ruiz back to Croatia several times, and to Tanzania where she met other women interested in the same goal of empowering women in the political process. Through these travels, Ruiz envisioned WGLI, an organization dedicated to developing and advancing women's rights worldwide through a network of workshops, community projects and mentorship programs.In the immediate future, WGLI is turning to Sonoma County to provide mentorship to young women in underserved communities. It invites any interested female community leaders to participate in an introductory, two-hour seminar with refreshments and lively dialogue on Saturday, Sept. 26, at Empire College. 3035 Cleveland Ave., Santa Rosa. 10am–noon. Free. firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is America's best idea? Is it baseball? Apple pie? How about our obsession with unregulated free-market capitalism and general disgust with any semblance of government intervention? C'mon, get real.
According to documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, our desire to preserve big, beautiful places like the soaring abyss of the Grand Canyon, the towering monolith of Half Dome or the hazy brilliance of the Great Smoky Mountains is the American idea that tops all others.
In honor of this idea, and to celebrate National Public Lands Day and highlight Burns' upcoming PBS documentary The National Parks: America's Best Idea, the Point Reyes National Seashore is calling on local volunteers to step up.
As part of a national service day (Sept. 26–27), Point Reyes will host a variety of projects in which volunteers can help restore the Giacomini wetlands, help rehabilitate habitats and, if they're lucky, witness Tule elk during mating season with tours lead by trained docents.
For events and more detailed info, call 415.663.8522, ext. 2.
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