Fayetteville The Matilda Joslyn Gage Foundation of Fayetteville has been awarded grant funds to participate in project that will unite girls from the Gage Foundation, the Villa Grimaldi museum in Chile and the Institute of Social Development in Sri Lanka. The one-year project is called Girl Ambassadors for Human Rights.
The three museums are all members of the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience. The coalition applied for the grant awarded by the Museums Connect Program, which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and administered by the American Association of Museums.
In an effort to help inspire and equip a new generation of women activists, the Girl Ambassadors for Human Rights program will bring together 50 teenage girls from Fayetteville, Sri Lanka, and Chile to explore and share the parallels between gender issues past and present through facilitated dialogue, social media technology and international exchange.
Under the mentorship of community leaders, the girls will use the museums’ exhibits as a launch pad to explore local women’s history and roles in social change, questions of identity, gender-based discrimination, and definitions of what it means to be a free woman. They will share what they’ve learned through public presentations and dialogue, both virtual and in-person, to identify common goals and tactics that transcend differing cultural expectations and desires.
“Cultural exchanges are an incredible way to show the world America’s unique creativity and spirit,” said Ann Stock, assistant secretary of state for Educational and Cultural Affairs. “That’s why the United States supports programs like Museums Connect — to foster the people-to-people connections that strengthen a museum’s presence in its community, and the community’s presence in the world.”
“We are delighted to provide this opportunity for Onondaga County girls to develop friendships and a deeper understanding of women’s lives internationally and to highlight our museum and community to our international visitors,” said Sally Roesch Wagner, executive director of the Gage Center.