ADVANCING WOMEN ADVANCES HUMANITY
Women Forward International is a global platform for systemic change in international affairs education, reorienting research towards the principles of unity, collaboration, and service. We create unique partnerships that lead to behavioral changes that advance women to advance humanity.
WFI partners with a range of private sector, academic and non-profit clients to identify research critical to human progress, and then pairs teams of graduate international studies students with these organizations to complete that research and implement solutions.
WFI also uses the reflective power of Art to reveal and investigate the underlying cultural issues at stake in a given international relations issue and provide the next generation of leaders a more holistic approach to human relationships.
WHY AND HOW WE CHOOSE OUR PARTNERS
How does Women Forward International select its artist and university partners? We look for artists who dare to do things outside the boundaries of social norms – in order to break free of outmoded and limited mindsets.
Our university partners each have faculty dedicated to serving humanity through research. When we bring together service-oriented educators with bold moves of artistic freedom we find that we inspire change – changes in consciousness which lead to changes in behavior and society.
As art is relevant to every international relations issue and its forms such as film, music, poetry, and dance hold the power to awaken the heart towards empathy for one’s fellow being, the next generation of leaders is exposed to new templates for human relations and encouraged to act on them.
At first unseen, silently before the naysayers perceive it – stealth, suddenly, she’s there,
out in the open, free – as she always was.
The Nepalese have a traditional belief that Buddhist monks transform themselves into snow leopards in order to slip across borders unnoticed – to search for medicine in Tibet – the medicine of transformation.
Everyone knows what it is to transform. There’s not a single woman in the world who doesn’t know what it means to rise out of the ashes. And I know there are men who know what it means as well.
It comes from suffering – and everyone – women, men, children – you, reader, has known what it is to burn inside for something real – to burn to give life meaning. Maybe it is that fire – that spark – present at the core of everyone – that brings you to want change – just like me.
So let’s not waste this precious time together, because no one person can bring about the kind of change we’re talking about: systemic change in human relationships, and therefore systemic change in the way we practice diplomacy – in the way we move together as nations – as humanity.
President & Executive Director
Dr. Kent Davis-Packard is President & Executive Director of Women Forward International, which she launched as an initiative at the Aspen Institute in 2019. Most recently, she initiated and developed the SAIS Women Lead curricular program at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), launching a practicum program that partners students with public and private organizations on research that advances women.
She taught Johns Hopkins SAIS's first courses on global women's issues: "Transcending Culture: Women as Agents of Change in the International Order” and "Women, Peace, and Security: Moving Beyond the Myth" as well as U.S. Foreign Policy in the Middle East. She is Features Editor for the Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism journal based at the London School of Economics and a member of the Advisory Board of Kallion, an organization that elevates leadership through the humanities.
Previously she was co-Executive Director of Women's Learning Partnership, and a 2014-2015 Council on Foreign Relations Fellow at the Brookings Institution and Guest Scholar and lecturer at the American University in Cairo. As a Presidential Management Fellow, Dr. Davis-Packard played a key role in launching the State Department’s Women in Public Service Project and managed the Egypt Desk's human rights portfolio. She served as a Political Officer in Syria and Department of Defense Desk Officer for Iraq.
Dr. Davis-Packard received her Ph.D. in international relations and Middle East studies and master's degree in conflict management and economics from Johns Hopkins SAIS; a master's degree in French and romance philology from Columbia University; a comparative literature Maitrise, Lettres Modernes, from the Universite of Paris VIII; and a BA in English and comparative literature summa cum laude from Cornell University. As a Fulbright Scholar to Morocco, she studied the influence of returning migrants on local communities and literature. She is a graduate of the National Cathedral School for Girls in Washington, DC.
Dr. Davis-Packard has reported on such topics as family law reform, sectarianism and extremism, the women’s movement, labor, and language politics for the Christian Science Monitor and other publications including the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal. A term and International Affairs Fellowship Committee Member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a member of the Cosmos Club's International Affairs Committee, she is fluent in French and able in Arabic and Spanish. She has studied or worked in Bangladesh, Bosnia, Croatia, the Dominican Republic, Egypt, France, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, India, Italy, Jordan, Lebanon, Mexico, Morocco, Qatar, Senegal, Syria, Ukraine, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. Dr. Davis-Packard's book on contemporary Islamic thought is forthcoming.
Wesley Elizabeth Spencer, M.A.
Director of Arts Partnership and Strategic Development
Wesley Spencer focuses on Strategic Development and Arts Partnerships for Women Forward International. Most recently, she was Advancement Director at Friends School of Louisville, Kentucky. Previously, she served as Director of Major Gifts and Development at the Frazier History Museum in Louisville for eight years. Wesley was Project Manager for Kentucky by Design: The Decorative Arts and American Culture, sponsored and published by University Press of Kentucky, in conjunction with the National Gallery of Art, the Shelburne Museum, Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library, American Folk Art Museum, Historic Locust Grove, Shaker Village at Pleasant Hill and South Union Shaker Village.
Additionally, she has served as Chief Curator and Director of Programming for major public exhibitions, including: WWII: 48 Local Stories, Top Drawer: 150 Year of Bittners, and America by Design.
During her tenure at the Frazier History Museum, Wesley wrote and researched extensively on standards and best practices for museum and non-profit boards; the development of American cultural identity through the decorative arts; the impact of the 2008 economic crisis on arts and cultural organizations; the effect of cultural institutions on economic growth and development; and the repatriation of cultural property.
Spencer received her Bachelor of Arts in History, and a Masters of Fine Arts in Critical and Curatorial Studies, from University of Louisville. She holds a Certification in Major Gifts from the University of Indiana Lilly School of Philanthropy.
Lindsay Wozniak is Senior Vice President, Digital and Creative, at TMP Worldwide LLC and works closely with clients to lead the development and creation of innovative and groundbreaking initiatives and to ensure their success. With 40+ years of experience and over 200 industry awards for creativity and effectiveness, she provides consulting to help clients stay on the forefront of new marketing solutions and trends.
Lindsay began her career as an Art Director and then Creative Director for ABC TV, GE and Stackig Advertising and PR prior to TMP. As a “Hall of Fame” advertising design graduate of The Art Institute of Ft. Lauderdale, she thrives in TMP’s innovative and progressive culture.
Lindsay also founded Red Fish Studios, LLC in 2005. Red Fish Studios is all about creative expression and giving back. Film. Photography. Music. Design. Whatever.
Executive Assistant & Communications Officer
Rebecca is a skilled communications leader with over a decade of business experience. She has spent the last six years of her career working in the tech industry where she developed brand awareness and marketing strategies for small, start-up environments as well as large, complex organizations. Her experience spans strategic planning, project management, event planning, and social media management with a record of success creating content that resonates with diverse audiences.
Rebecca spent the majority of her childhood abroad, graduating from high school in Helsinki, Finland where she was the only American in her class made up of 12 nationalities. She has used this knowledge to facilitate and maintain international partnerships in the business world. She also uses her experience in cross-cultural training as a volunteer to help acclimate refugees coming into the United States.
In December of 2018, Rebecca founded NotableHistory, a clothing line that is dedicated to celebrating the greatest heroes and humanitarians throughout history.
Rebecca received a Bachelor of Arts in Broadcasting and Electronic Media from Eastern Kentucky University.
Summer Program Assistant
Dania Abdella recently graduated with an MA in International Relations from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). Previously, she conducted research with El-Karamah organization on the relationship between domestic violence incidence and illiteracy in the Middle East and North Africa region. In 2018-2019, she investigated women’s political participation in the Kingdom of Bahrain as part of the SAIS Women Lead Practicum Program. Dania and her team produced a 35-page report with recommendations for the client, the Supreme Council for Women, and published and presented their research to the diplomatic community and other key stakeholders at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington. Alongside women’s advancement, Dania’s interests span the arts, gender-based violence, social justice, and spirituality and healing. She received her BA from American University in Philosophy with a minor in Spanish. She is a native Arabic speaker, intermediate in Spanish, and conversational in Italian.
Thora is a sophomore at the University of Mary Washington where she plays on the varsity basketball team and is pursuing a major in International Affairs and a minor in Business Administration. She co-founded Reuse and Replay, a non-profit organization that collects used sports equipment and redistributes it to schools and communities in need. In 2017, she traveled to Tanzania with Reuse and Replay to volunteer at a school in Arusha and deliver sports equipment. In 2019 she conducted an internship with the Africa Center for Strategic Studies where she helped facilitate a strategy development seminar in Tunis, Tunisia. Her languages include American Sign Language and intermediate Spanish.