The Next Step for “Half the Sky: A Path Appears”

Nicholas Kristof with Jessica Posner and Kennedy Odede of Shining Hope for Communities.
Nicholas Kristof with Jessica Posner and Kennedy Odede of Shining Hope for Communities.

On March 13, 2014, Meridian was honored to share the stage with ITVS, Women & Girls Lead, CPB, Show of Force and Independent Lens to celebrate A Path Appears, the forthcoming project from award winning journalists Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn and the creators of Half the Sky. The audience — comprised of members of the advocacy, diplomatic, and media communities — previewed highlights from A Path Appears, a forthcoming series and follow up to Half the Sky.

Meridian’s President & CEO, Ambassador Stuart Holliday, opened the evening with welcome remarks before turning the program over to Tamara Gould, Senior Vice President, National Production & Senior Partnerships at ITVS. CPB’s Jennifer Lawson, Senior Vice President for Television and Digital Video Content, shared a brief overview of the Women and Girls Lead Campaign, a public media initiative to focus, educate and connect audiences worldwide. Carla Koppell, USAID’s Chief Strategy Officer, highlighted the Gender Equality and Female Empowerment Policy and the importance of media in promoting social change. Following a “first look” at the trailer for A Path Appears, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author Nicholas Kristof described to the audience the impact of Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, along with his plans for the forthcoming book and four-hour film.

Mr. Kristof was joined on stage for a panel discussion, moderated by Meridian Trustee and Chair of the Council on Women’s Leadership, Michele Manatt, along with special guests Kennedy Odede, Founder and CEO, and Jessica Posner, Founder and COO, of Shining Hope for Communities, a non-profit that combats extreme poverty and gender inequality in Kibera. Rounding out the panel and discussion was Maro Chermayeff, Director and Executive Producer of Half the Sky Movement. Ms. Posner and Mr. Odede described the need for Shining Hope for Communities — to offer clean water, education, and opportunity to those living in Africa’s largest slum. They discussed the success of the Kibera School for Girls, the first tuition-free school for girls, which provides education, daily nourishment, uniforms, and schools supplies all free of charge, as well as the metrics and evaluation necessary in determining the impact of their various programs. Ms. Chermayeff and Mr. Kristof emphasized the value of creating another series on the topic of gender inequalities around the world — and debated whether political will to act on these inequalities exists. After a round of audience questions, the event concluded with a call to action — for the audience to promote the Women and Girls Lead Campaign to friends, networks and policymakers — and to save the date for A Path Appears.

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