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In the spirit of the season of giving thanks in the United States, members of the Monterey Institute community are sharing expressions of gratitude, beginning with a graduate of the Monterey Institute’s International Policy Studies program, alumna Maame Afon (MAIPS ‘05).

“I am thankful for the opportunity to have connected with the Global Women’s Leadership Network (GWLN) three years ago. From the GWLN Women Leaders for the World (WLW) program began my journey to embody the mantra I now live by: ‘Whole Woman, Whole Leader, for a Whole World.’” With her charismatic smile and beautiful voice, Maame continues: “Living as a ‘Whole Woman’ means bringing all of who you are to what you do – your presence, your experiences, your faith, your gifts, your wholeness – to change your environment because when we bring all of who we are to what we do, everyone benefits.”

“I am thankful for the opportunity to provide transformative mentorship to young African women through my work with the Moremi Initiative for Women’s Leadership in Africa, which seeks to engage, inspire and equip the next generation of African women leaders.” Maame says, mentioning also other aspects of her work that she appreciates greatly such as the ability to support through grant-making, advocacy and philanthropy, women who are on the frontlines addressing some of the most challenging issues of our time. Originally from Ghana, Maame is particularly happy to make a difference in the lives of women and girls from the continent she calls home.

Maame’s career of giving also extends to the gift of music. “In May of this year, a long held dream of mine came true with the release of my debut album Rise, out of which has grown another vision to use music to promote social justice.”

In the end it all comes down to bringing all that you are (which in Maame’s case is a lot) to everything you do. “Where I am today as a mother, wife, professional, singer, and speaker – as a whole woman – is a sum of the people, places and communities such as my MIIS family that I have encountered, and for that I give thanks.”

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Jason Warburg

Eva Gudbergsdottir