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Women from all over the world unite

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IWL scholarship recipients Naomi Mbise and Julia Raszka have had a significant impact on the Cal Lutheran community.

Photo: Obinna Anyanwu

Under normal circumstances, recipients of American Evangelical Lutheran College Scholarships for International Women meet annually in Chicago to network and share ideas. Naomi Mbise, a third-year student at Karluselan University in Tanzania, said everyone has plans to support her home country.

The cancellation of the recent rally due to the COVID-19 pandemic has not stopped the ELCA International Women Leaders (IWL) from forming bonds. For example, Mbise is partnering with two 2021 graduates on a proposal to help low-income girls in Cameroon and Tanzania graduate from high school and pursue their dreams.

“I don’t know how we made the connection, but we were still connected,” said her “sister” in Cameroon, who attended St. Olaf College and Concordia University as part of a scholarship program. Said Mbise. Although their homeland and Tanzania are thousands of miles apart, she says, “Women in our society want to be as formal and educated as we are and have the opportunity to have international education. We share our passion. “

Over the last four years, Carlu Seran has welcomed young women from Palestine, Tanzania and Poland under the IWL program. This is one of the benefits of having a university affiliated with ELCA. The Chicago-based group identifies scholarship candidates through the Lutheran Church in low-income countries. After a competitive application process, ELCA donates $ 20,000 per student each year and also pays for books, visas and return flights.

Dane Laurie, director of international admissions at the University of Carluceran, says investment in the university is even greater, despite the considerable balance left for students in terms of food and housing.

The IWL program provides “a layer of support for students not offered by other scholarship programs.”

Tamer Hadad ’21, The first IWL scholar at the University of Karluselan was a Palestinian from Jerusalem who graduated with a degree in music. In what she can do, in her entrepreneurial spirit, she has modeled what the IWL program is in many ways.

As a student, Hadad wrote and published a book. The future of Palestine: how discrimination will change.. She participated in the Model United Nations and spoke at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. She worked with Cal Lutheran’s Hub 101 to launch a leadership training program for young people in Palestine.

She is currently working in Ferndale, Washington, as a Lutheran youth minister and director of a children’s choir. She travels each year to teach leadership skills to high school students in Bethlehem and Jerusalem.

Haddad and Mbise became best friends in 2019 and then roommates. Mibse holds a degree in political science, theology and Christian leadership and co-founded the African Student Association on campus. Her third scholarship recipient, Julia Raszka from Poland, is a freshman in theater and psychology. The university plans to bring in IWL scholarship students every two years to maintain peer mentorship.

Since childhood, Lasca has wanted to be an artist on the stage. In southern Poland, she sang in a gospel choir, played piano and clarinet, and then discovered the community in a musical theater. Through her Lutheran Church, she learned of the opportunity to attend ELCA University in the United States with a full scholarship. Even if the name of her program wondered if it was appropriate for her, it was exciting news.

Eventually, she realized that she began to acquire leadership skills as a stage manager and performer, and the Young Life Club asked her to lead a Bible study. She wants to use her musical theater skills on her return to Poland, perhaps by teaching young performers and creating her own plays.

Rev. Mark Holmeld, the interim minister of Carluceran, said that Mubise and Lasca had a great influence.

“They have connections with people who don’t know what life outside of California, let alone the United States, is like,” he said.

visit elca.org/Our-Work/Global-Mission/International-Leaders Information about the IWL program. For more information on international admission to Carluceran, please visit: CalLutheran.edu/admission/international.html..

Kevin Matthews, CLU magazine..

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