Grace Ochieng ’08 to Attend Conference at the UN

 A WMS graduate is chosen to participate in Practicum in Advocacy at the United Nations.
For Immediate Release 01/20/2011

For additional information, please contact:
Laurie Belton, 617-266-0999,

Grace Ochieng’ Heads to U.N. to Learn Advocacy Skills at Commission on the Status of Women Conference

BOSTON – Grace Ochieng’ of Rongo Kenya, a WMS Alumni now a student at St. Lawrence University, will gain experience in the art of advocacy as a delegate to the annual Commission on the Status of Women meetings to be held from Feb. 22-March 4, 2011 at the United Nations headquarters in New York City.
Ochieng’ is one of 23 women students chosen from across the nation to participate in the Practicum in Advocacy at the United Nations, a week-long program which offers an opportunity to observe how the UN works to address issues requiring multilateral engagement and coordinated action between governments and civil society groups.
This year, the Commission’s priority theme is “access and participation of women and girls in education, training, science and technology”. They will also review last year’s theme that focused on “the elimination of all forms of discrimination and violence against girl children.”
Ochieng’s temporary delegate status will allow her to attend official and non-government organization (NGO) sessions, and contribute to the official documentation of both official and NGO meetings.
The practicum on the Commission on the Status of Women is sponsored by the Center for Women’s Health and Human Rights at Suffolk University, Boston; the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom and the National Women’s Studies Association, with assistance from Physicians for Human Rights.
“We teach the women how important citizen engagement is,” said Laura Roskos, co-president of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom and activist-in-residence at the Center for Women’s Health and Human Rights.
The participants will learn how to network with NGOs, observe high-level negotiations, meet government officials and participate in turning specific proposals into documents that can be adopted by U.N. bodies. 
Ochieng’ must also create an advocacy project when she returns to the St. Lawrence campus.
“This success empowers them to engage in successful civic campaigns on their campus and local communities,” noted Roskos, who with Connie Chow, Executive Director of Science Clubs for Girls, will serve as faculty for the 2011 practicum.
Ochieng’ said, “Attending CSW will allow me to expand my theoretical knowledge of the gender field and my ability to critically analyze factors affecting women’s development both domestically and at international levels thus, limiting projects that continue to marginalize women worldwide. I look forward to the event!”
This will be the fourth practicum at the Commission on the Status of Women. The CSW focuses on gender equality and the advancement of women, with the U.N. drawing representatives of governments to address the problems facing women around the world. This year more than 3,000 registered representatives from NGOs will lobby the delegates about current issues and work to put new ideas on the table. The NGOs engage in and host hundreds of events, such as performances and panel discussions directed at the local, national and international issues affecting women. 
About the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF): The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom was founded in 1915 during World War I, with Jane Addams as its first president. WILPF works to achieve through peaceful means world disarmament, full rights for women, racial and economic justice, an end to all forms of violence, and to establish those political, social, and psychological conditions which can assure peace, freedom, and justice for all.
About the Center for Women’s Health and Human Rights (CWHHR): Founded in 2003, the CWHHR is committed to furthering the dignity and well-being of women and girls everywhere by exploring and expanding the linkages between women’s health and human rights. Located at Suffolk University, it is the first academic institution in the world to focus on women’s health and human rights in the social sciences, arts and humanities and public policy.
About the National Women’s Studies Association (NWSA): Established in 1977, NWSA is a professional organization dedicated to leading the field of women’s studies and gender studies, as well as its teaching, learning, research, and service wherever they be found. Its members actively pursue a just world in which all persons can develop to their fullest potential – one free from ideologies, structures, or systems of privilege that oppress or exploit some for the advantage of others.

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