In spite of the blistery winter day in Philadelphia, more than 80 people made their way through the wind and cold to the Sayre Recreation Center on January 14 to be part of the Community Leaders Conference that was held there. The conference was organized and co-sponsored by the Pennsylvania Chapter of WFWP, FICA (Filipino International Community of America), and ACE (Association of Christian Evangelists). Together with other government groups representing the ambassadors from local counties and other faith-based leaders from different walks of life, we joined together and brought forth high level dialogue on the theme “Our Role as Community Leaders in our Society." The first session was an open forum where each community leader spoke and verified their distinctive and important role as a leader in their area of involvement.

In the search for solutions to today’s critical problems in our society--including local and societal conflict that affects the global system--the goal of this conference was to decide on a step by step leadership networking system and be more effective in promoting peace in our communities. Many demonstrated their interest in and their perspective on challenging the issues involved. The high level of discussion in the forum created a new paradigm to set up a diverse team to work more effectively and contribute more substantially to the higher purpose of serving our society.

Second on the agenda was the presentation of the HerStory Award to the most recognized women of the year who are well-known for mentoring and demonstrating their love for others by serving their fellow human beings. The 2017 award presentation was unique in that it was first time in Pennsylvania that a man was nominated and honored to receive the award.

The people who received the award this year are Mama Gail Calouden, well-known as a Mother Queen of love. She initiated the Universal Love Ministries and has traveled all over the world to fight for the rights of children and giving minorities a voice. Next to receive the award was Sharon White, who is a district political ambassador, well-known for her advocacy of wellness and recovery, especially among youth. The first man to receive the HerStory award is Mr. Howard Cupit, a deejay in Pennsylvania who helps nonprofit organizations. As a radio announcer he advocates a message of goodness by writing songs and rapping, with the goal of restoring the world of arts and music. Nichole Chennault, mother of four children, a brave freedom-fighter and activist, an author and a celebrity host; helps uplift the livelihood of working mothers through her nonprofit organization.

After the awards presentation, the third session was the Launching of the Asian Community and the inauguration of the new chairperson of the Filipino International Community of America (FICA). Mrs. Jizly Dohou, was appointed as the head of the FICA group chapter in Pennsylvania.

The fourth session was full of entertainment including a performance conveying the peace-loving spirit of the Filipino culture and tradition that touched the heart of the audience. Following the entertainment, great refreshments were served. As we look forward to more diversified future events this program is advertised to inform the media of our purpose.

As Ms. Sharon White, HerStory Awardee said, “Each of us has a story which holds a place of importance and purpose. I am humbled and honored to receive the HerStory Award along with other amazing individuals in the community. The Women’s Federation of World Peace is an organization whose stated purpose is to encourage women to work actively in promoting peace in their community and in the greater society. Many thanks to Jizly Lagrazon Dohou who is the Pennsylvania chapter chairwoman, for her extraordinary contributions to move this mission forward.”