With all nations facing increasingly complex and globalised problems W4SG believes that increased cooperation is the best way forward for development and prosperity.
Specifically, we believe that the Nordic and GCC regions have an important role in building bridges and leading this cooperation. The benefits of increased cooperation and understanding between these regions can have a multitude of positive implications domestically (economically and socially) in both regions and can support the wider international community’s efforts to address global needs and problems (needs such as increasing innovation, supporting entrepreneurs, and the professional advancement of women or problems like climate change, and negative stereotypes about others).
W4SG works specifically between the Nordic and GCC states through our activities and programs. Additionally, our members position themselves within the global context on the side of engagement and the belief of a brighter future built together. This is our combined contribution and vision. To do this our members form a community that actively works together to build bridges between the regions and address shared problems. As a member driven association W4SG provides a platform, tested concepts and a surrounding network to those who see the benefit of contributing to our overall mission. This plan further outlines the ways in which our members can take on a role as key bridge builders and leaders between the regions.
To read further about what W4SG excels at, please click on each of the four sections below to open further text:
What has become clear from these last five years is that W4SG excels at building bridges. We believe that educational programs that include exchange are an excellent way to increase engagement.
Therefore, the programs we organise always include an element of exchange with activities that allow for participants to build meaningful relationships.
From the conception of W4SG in 2010, we have worked to build relationships between the regions. What differentiates W4SG from other networks is how we grow. We focus on building strong personal relationships where long-term trust is the ultimate goal. With strong friendships come sustainable action, be it new business, research, cultural exchange, etc. Therefore, in the visits that we facilitate between the regions, the main focus is on finding spaces where our participants can meet on a more personal level (dinners hosted at member homes, small lunches, etc).
We at W4SG are committed to supporting each others personal and professional growth.
While our exchange programs are bridges for engagement between the regions, they also often focus on leadership training for female professionals. For example, we have run the Women Leadership Exchange Program (WLEP) with Dubai Women Establishment and will also now run another Young Leaders Boot Camp.
In addition, our alumni continue to build communities that support female professionals in their climb up the ladder.
W4SG will start to offer a sponsorship program later in 2016 for alumni.
Sharing our stories
We believe that sharing our stories will help shift the relationship between the Nordic and GCC states away from misunderstanding and fear and towards understanding, opportunity and trust.
In 2010, Jaleh Taheri, the Founder of W4SG, had over 100 conversations with stakeholders in the Nordic and GCC states about their interest in increased engagement between the regions.
In nearly every conversation, people spoke about obstacles due to misunderstanding and fear about the other. Also, there was a general lack of awareness about the female leaders who were at the forefront of cross-regional engagement.
Yet, over the years, as we share the stories of the remarkable people working with W4SG, others begin to see an immense amount of humanity, many opportunities for cooperation and the willingness to connect person-to-person.
Therefore, our events and programs always include opportunities for us to share stories, usually of remarkable women, that increase understanding and trust.
We will periodically produce stories on our website as photo journals or short films that will share the remarkable stories of people in our community and the causes they commit their lives to.
Building a community of action
It is not just about meeting but also taking action together.
We have learned over the years that fostering such relations will not be achieved by passing around business cards or attending large summits where one can speak to each other for only a few minutes. It will not be achieved over a business meeting, a pitch or a quick coffee. Meaningful relationships are formed through shared experiences and long conversations about issues that matter on both a personal and professional level.
In the programs that we have conducted we have seen one word continue to be central to summarizing our impact: sisterhood. This close bond between the participants that continues long after completion sets W4SG apart.