DEI Community Connections
K ateryna Yushchenko, the former First Lady of Ukraine is not someone you’d expect to hear at a forum hosted by Bangor High School—if that’s what you are thinking, you’d be wrong. Yuschenko and other global leaders including Eka Tkeshelashvili, the former Minister of Justice in the Republic of Georgia, Vaira Vike-Freiberga, the former President of Latvia, and Kerry Kennedy, the President of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, all participated in a forum remotely via zoom that was organized by Bangor High School in partnership with Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, the Nizami Ganjavi International Center, and Northern Light Health. It all began with a simple conversation between Adam Leach, PhD, the co-director of school counseling at Bangor High School, and Marwa Hassanien, MS, M.Ed., director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for Northern Light Health and chair of the Bangor School Committee. “Adam has a working relationship with RFK Human Rights, and was working to schedule guest speakers to provide an international perspective on the war in Ukraine for
students at Bangor High School. Since I wear two hats as the chair of the Bangor School committee and director of DEI for Northern Light Health, I thought, wouldn’t this be a great forum to share with both groups,” shares Hassanien. The forum was well attended. Bangor High School junior Dellana Kessler served as moderator and did a remarkable job fielding questions from participants. “It wasn’t a political discussion, it was a human discussion,” shares Leach. “The former President of Latvia talked about taking care of women who have been traumatized or maybe raped and assaulted in the process of getting out of Ukraine as refugees and making sure they had full access to healthcare in the process. It was an eye-opening discussion about the importance of providing healthcare as a human right.” For Northern Light Health, it was an important opportunity to partner with a community organization to enrich the DEI opportunities for our own employees. Hassanien says they’ve collaborated on one other forum since the Ukraine forum. She sees this as the start of an ongoing collaboration.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion | Fall 2022 | 11
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