Magdala, Israel, March 10th 2016. - The 2nd annual Women´s symposium titled Women of Influence, Hope for Humanity, was held in the context of the International Women´s Day. It was organized by Magdalena Institute at Magdala, a first century historical and cultural site on the shores of the Sea of Galilee in the Holy Land. Six influential women from different nationalities came together and shared their inspiring stories, encouraging other women in the Mideast and beyond to overcome personal or cultural challenges and become the face of love the world needs.
Thousands of women and families have been impacted by women leaders revolutionizing history, discovering within themselves and through the loving support of others, the strength to overcome personal and cultural challenges. This year´s symposium gave a glimpse into the lives of women, past and contemporary, who have displayed resilience, courage and determination to build a better humanity.
Approximately 90 participants, including women diplomats, diplomat’s spouses, and women leading organizations in Israel and the West Bank gathered to listen to women of influence who are changing the lives of others through their creative initiatives. The symposium opened with an engaging conference on the person and significance of Mary Magdalene by Dr Tina Wray, scripture scholar and professor at Salve Regina University. Her insightful scriptural and historical research was combined with enduring lessons applicable to contemporary women. She also highlighted the transforming encounters between Jesus and Mary Magdalene. It reveals the power of the experience of one’s dignity being affirmed and the strength of a woman’s love that brings her to simply “show up”. Woman’s feminine genius leads her to accompany another even to the foot of the cross.
The main conference was followed by contemporary women of influence: Lisa Miara, an Israeli woman raising awareness and assistance to victims of terror in Israel and victims of ISIS in Iraq, Syria; Daad Odeh, a Christian-Arab offering family therapy to Arab families; Dr. Faydra Shapiro, an Orthodox-Jewish woman building bridges between Jews and Christians; Khadra Al Sanah, founder of a center assisting Bedouin women in the Negev desert; and Genevieve Begue, a Jewish woman helping Muslim youth to become leaders and catalysts for change in their town such as Sahar Jurban, age 20, who gave her testimony of discovering and using her leadership capacities.
Jennifer Ristine, Director of the Institute and consecrated woman of the Regnum Christi Movement, commented, “Throughout history women have been catalysts for positive change. Magdalena Institute would like to recognize this in order to inspire and encourage other women to reflect on the power of their “feminine genius’, which she shares with the world when she lovingly gives of herself. When a woman recognizes her own worth and dignity, she finds the strength to help others discover that good news about themselves. It seems so simple and ineffective, yet these women are proof of the impact this makes on persons, families, a whole community and beyond.”
Their external appearances marked them as Jewish, Muslim or Christian, yet they all had something in common: their feminine genius. In a time and land where tensions are heightened among these three monotheistic religions, Magdalena Institute brought together and honored women of different faith and cultural backgrounds, united in a common quest to become the face of love that humanity needs.