Lisa Alshibaya

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Nationality: German
Living in: Miami, USA
Programmes: ILP 2013, ALP 2014

What country are you from and where do you live?
I'm from Germany. Until recently I lived in London, England, but I have now moved to Miami to expand my business.

How did you hear about WYSE?
I heard about WYSE from my former employers.

How has attending the WYSE ILP and/or ALP affected your life?
Attending both of the WYSE programmes was a profound experience, which had a huge impact on me. It made me better able to reflect on myself, be aware of who I am, what my fears and needs are, and most importantly where I want to go and what I want from my life.I understood the mind-set I needed in order to get to where I want to be, and how to create an environment for myself where using this mind-set was possible. Although, it's an on-going process which takes months, or even years, I feel that I constantly come closer to being the person I want to be and living the life I aspire to.

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Dina Ariss

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Nationality: Syrian
Living in: London, UK
Programmes: ILP 2015
This year has been great and rewarding for me for different reasons but the main reason is because I found a way to support refugees in UK and around the world through an amazing feminist group called “Chayn”.

Right after I came back from Brazil, my friend Ahmed (who also introduced me to WYSE) introduced me to the founder Hera. she was looking for people to translate Chayn’s first toolkit “ How to build your own domestic violence case without a lawyer” into Arabic.  A few weeks in and already through Chayn I  became part of the core team that was organising #PeaceHackBey in Beirut and #EmpowerHack in London to support refugees. Both hackathons focused on creating tech solutions to empower refugees, especially designing solutions that addressed specific issues faced by women.

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Sugandha Munshi won an award


Nationality: Indian
Living in: Bihar, India
Programmes: ILP 2013

One of our participants from the 2013 ILP in Lucca has recently received an Aadhi Aabadi Women Achievers Awards in India.

Voted for by a national committee, Sugandha Munshi was given the award for her work with women and girls to empower them through education. The aim of the award is to celebrate women in India doing fantastic things, and who stand as role models for the next generation. 

Sugandha says that WYSE helped her evolve as a person and become a more reflective practitioner. She believes she can do the work she does because she knows she has the support of her WYSE family behind her always.

Congratulations Sugandha!

Read her participants story here.


Eisha Roy

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Nationality: Indian
Living in: New Delhi, India
Programmes: ILP 2014

I'm 19 years old and I started working in the development sector at the age of 15. It was my passion to make a difference knowing that my spiritual self is limitless. I came to WYSE at a point in my life when I was in the middle of helping to build a free hospital for 35,000 inhabitants of an Island who have no access to healthcare, electricity and safe drinking water. I had become so action-driven after being affected by the state of the people in the rural areas of India, that amidst building the hospital, teaching in a slum dwelling, going to an orphanage and attending college- I had forgotten who I really was and why I was doing this.

WYSE gave me a much clearer perspective towards my goals and life, as well as helped me understand the importance of striking a balance between doing and being. The first day it was an unknown continent, unknown country, unknown city with unknown people at an unknown home. Within a couple of days, I struck a chord with everyone and I knew I'd found a home away from home. It took just 12 days to form bonds larger than life itself. When I look back, I think about how these 12 days have etched my heart and how I will carry this life changing experience with me for the rest of my life.

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Pallavi Gandhalikar


Nationality: Indian
Living in: All over India!
Programmes: Italy 2013

“Life is beautiful if you really take ownership of it.”

Born in the city of Nasik and brought up in a small town that is now a district called Rajsamand, I had always been very adventurous and curious. A true nature lover. The explorer’s spirit has been alive in me since childhood and my parents have always supported me (though not willingly at times).
I did Chemistry honours at Pune University and then a Masters in Communication Media at Mumbai University. Being a topper and gold medallist my parents expected me to work in a white collar job, but my life took a U-turn when I was involved in making a film as part of my own thesis on Child Sexual Abuse. I worked with several NGOs and met grassroots workers who were doing impactful work to bring a change in India. Concurrently, I was travelling across India with organizations working with youth, children and adolescence on issues related to education, child rights, youth empowerment and trafficking.

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Reza Kavosh

Nationality: Iranian
Living in: Shiraz, Iran
Programmes: ILP Italy 2010

“When you become a leader, success is about growing others.”

I was doing my M.A in Peace, Conflict, and development studies in UNESCO Chair of Philosophy for peace in Universidad Jaume in Spain when I came to know about the WYSE leadership program in Italy. As I was very passionate to participate in a course on leadership, I applied and was lucky to be selected as one of the participants of WYSE ILP in 2010.

When I started the program, I realized that it was very different from other education I had experienced in my life. It is not merely an academic or practical course to help you to develop your leadership skills. It is a program, which helps you to know about yourself, your capacities, and your place in the diverse world. It helps you to choose your direction in life and the way you would like to establish your relationship with yourself, with others, with the world, and with the nature.

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Stella Alexanyan


Nationality: Armenian
Living in: Abovyan, Armenia
Programmes: ILP 2011, ALP 2012, Kitchen ILP 2013

"An arrow can only be shot by pulling it backward."

After leaving all the success I had in my country I moved to a foreign country where sometimes the feeling of being nobody provokes even the strongest soul. In a new place everything is so different: new education experience, strangers in the street, new friends, different lifestyle. This always sounds exciting and in the beginning it is really so, then gradually I become a part of that “new”, finding surprisingly that I belonged amidst the inescapable nostalgia for my country and my past.

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Nationality: Indian
Living in: Bihar, India
Programmes: ILP 2013

"Be the change you wish to see in the world"

As a traveller born in this world, I have been moving ahead with a never dying spirit where I keep my key to motivation in my pocket. It might sound difficult but definitely not impossible same like our life isn’t it?

I pursued my master’s degree in Political science form University of Delhi India, holding degrees in Journalism and Gender studies, I moved on, making my passion my career, working for women’s development and gender equality. I believe it is always important to take one step ahead, seeking solutions, rather moving the problems and systems around. I have been working in India for development issues for the last eight years, involved in the gender rights movement in my country and have been contributing my bit to bring my society closer to sustainable change.

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Zainab Kakal

Nationality: Indian
Living in: Mumbai, India
Programmes: ILP 2013

One of the things I did post-ILP was to take an oath of honesty and I am going to write this piece in the very same spirit.

If someone would tell me that an 'International Leadership Programme' has been life changing for them, I would appreciate their input, respect their context and move on. Would a programme as such have an impact on me? I would have thought - no. No programme can teach you how to be a leader. No person or groups of people can hand you guidebooks, lessons or speeches of what makes a good leader.

I grew up with self-development literature around me and have grown sceptical of conversations that use the words leadership and improvement loosely. So obviously, I did not immediately take to this programme which claimed to train emerging leaders and make the world a better place. I did not need yet another self-help, Dale-Carnegie kind of talk which reeked of morality and offered life-changing silver bullets.

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