SSRC Executive Director Mary Byrne McDonnell participated in a Thai Bai Sri Su Kwan/Lao Baci cultural ceremony, commemorating the successful inaugural year of the Transformative Leadership for Health Equity in Southeast Asia and China program (Equity Initiative). The ceremony was held during the first EI Annual Forum on February 5, in Khao Yai, Thailand. McDonnell is pictured tying a white silk string around a fellow’s wrist to preserve well-being and good luck. The first year fellows also tied strings around the wrists of incoming fellows, who will start their fellowship year at end of March.
The Equity Initiative is a new program to support and empower outstanding young leaders in Southeast Asia and China to pursue and advocate for fairness and equity in health. The Equity Initiative aims to cultivate and nurture the next generation of leadership through its fellowship program and to build a collaborative community for promoting health equity in the region. It is one of six Atlantic Fellows programs, all of which are aimed at empowering a new generation to advance fairer, healthier, and more inclusive societies. As the learning and evaluation partner for four of these programs, the SSRC has a dual role of providing development support and evaluating the program. The evaluator role involves advising The Atlantic Philanthropies on the program's progress, illuminating successes and challenges and highlighting what has been learned by key stakeholders.