the wonderful world of veena.

19 March 2014

10 of 52: meeting holly gordon, executive director and executive producer of girl rising.

If you know me in real life or have been reading this blog with any regularity in the past few years, you'll know that girls' education is a great passion in my life. It's something I became interested in while I lived in India, but my interest and involvement shot to a whole new level when I had the opportunity to complete my international grad school project with Room to Read's Girls' Education program in Nepal.

While I was preparing for my project, my contacts at Room to Read told me about Girl Rising, a film that was going to focus on 10 - later 9 - girls in the developing world who had used education to overcome obstacles and hardships in their lives, girls who showed the true power of education. And one of the girls to be featured was Suma, a rescued kamlari [indentured servant] who had returned to school with the help of Room to Read [she also sang the opening and closing numbers at the Women in the World summit in early 2012. pretty baller].

Armed with this information, I have been following the making and production of Girl Rising for the last 2 years, and although I have yet to see the film, I have it saved on my DVR [it aired on CNN while I was still in India last year]. I want to watch it, but I also know it will make me cry, so I'm saving it for a day when I'm ready for that.

Fast forward to the end of February, when the Clinton School announced its Public Programs lineup for the month of March, and I spotted Holly Gordon's name in there. Holly is the Executive Director and Executive Producer of the film, and I knew I needed to find a way to hear her speak.

Luckily her program was on a Tuesday evening, so I drove over to Little Rock that afternoon and claimed a good spot for her appearance. I got even luckier in that she came and introduced herself to all sitting at our table prior to her speech, so I had the opportunity to mention my project with Room to Read and chat with her a bit.

Her speech and presentation - where she showed Suma's segment from the film - were excellent, and it was so great to hear some of the things she said about the importance of educating girls. She stuck around for a few minutes after to speak with people, and I managed to find out that she will be in New York while I'm there for work this next week. And she invited me to visit their office and meet some more of the staff!

It was so great to get to meet such an awesome and visionary woman, and I'm so excited to get to see her again - and to learn even more about this film - when I visit their office next week.

[if you're interested in her appearance at school, you can watch the full video here. it's worth the watch]

other highlights included: discovering Friday Night Lights reruns on some random Dish channel [thank you, brother, for the heads up]; finished reading Divergent; quick catch-ups with some peeps at the Clinton School when I was in Little Rock; received an awesome hand-written letter from Shonali; John Wood, Founder of Room to Read, retweeted my review of Creating Room to Read; awesome DC weekend that included catching up with friends, drinking our way around the city, discovering a pub that raises money to build schools, flirting with a cute bartender, good food, the Veronica Mars movie, hanging out in a speakeasy, and snowwwww.

It was such a great week, I'm 3 days behind on posting this update.

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