Youth and Women Gain Strategic Relationships Through Mentoring

Speeches Shim

Friday, November 20, 2020
Virtual mentorship discussion
DPI Millenium for USAID/Kosovo

USAID/Kosovo’s rule of law activities include a strong focus on mentoring and professional development with the goal of inspiring participants to seek more active leadership roles in their fields.  The programs provide underrepresented groups, like women and youth, the opportunity to both gain practical skills and form strategic relationships.  USAID/Kosovo’s Deputy Mission Director, Zeinah Salahi, joined two of these sessions to offer her own perspectives and experiences with young interns and with female judges.  During the meetings, Ms. Salahi shared her inspiring journey, reflections, and lessons-learned from her long and fruitful career in law, international development, and management.  

The session with interns included participants spanning USAID’s rule of law activities, including Commercial Justice, Justice Matters, and Justice System Strengthening.  Many of the interns are graduates of law, however other fields of study included public administration and business management.  The mentoring component of each internship program helps the students to create support networks and gain insights from both colleagues and persons experienced in their fields.  Ms. Salahi offered advice and encouragement to the interns, stating, “No one needs to give us permission to be successful.  We need to be prepared for opportunities and seize them.”

In addition to meeting the interns, Ms. Salahi joined USAID’s Justice System Strengthening Program (JSSP) in a discussion with female judges, both those that are experienced and that are new to the position.  JSSP’s mentorship program was a pilot designed to enhance performance, professionalism, and leadership competencies of female judges.  This program has helped to establish a strong network among judges and formalize mentorship relationships between experienced judges and those that are newer to the bench.  These mentoring relationships cover topics from management of court sessions, to examination of evidence, to court decision drafting.  

Ms. Salahi shared her personal experiences with the female judges, and the group compared experiences in Kosovo and in the United States, reflecting that women everywhere face similar barriers and issues. The participant judges noted their commitment to continue supporting other women judges beyond the life of USAID’s project.  USAID’s efforts to provide professional development and mentorship opportunities in the rule of law sector have helped to empower new voices to take leadership roles and invest in Kosovo’s development future.   

Last updated: June 11, 2021

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