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Meet Girl Up’s 2021-2022 Coalition Leaders

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Girl Up’s Coalition Leaders unite Girl Up Clubs and their communities in the movement for global gender equality. They are fearless and motivated activists, committed to supporting, mentoring, and activating a powerful generation of changemakers taking action for girls around the world.

Typically high school students, Coalition Leaders are responsible for supporting the advocacy and fundraising efforts of Girl Up Club and Campus chapters in their Coalition. A Girl Up Coalition is composed of at least five Girl Up chapters at the city, state, or country level. Coalitions Leaders recruit and work with a team of club members to manage the Coalition’s collaborative efforts, compile action plans and budgets, host regular events including an annual Coalition Summit, and represent Girl Up globally – showing the world the power and value of girls.   

“Last year, our Coalition hosted a variety of events, including a self-defense workshop for teenage girls and a menstrual product drive supporting homeless women in San Antonio,” said 2021 Central Texas Coalition Leader Meghana Vinay. “This year, our goal is to provide educational resources for underserved students and raise awareness about the gender gap in STEM careers.”

There are 62 young changemakers in the 2021-22 class of Coalition Leaders, chosen for their demonstrated leadership, activism, and passion for Girl Up’s mission. This year’s cohort leads 44 Coalitions in 14 countries — Albania, Bangladesh, Canada, England, India, Kosovo, Malawi, Mexico, North Macedonia, Peru, Scotland, Serbia, Tanzania, and the United States. 

“Being a part of Girl Up’s diverse community has helped me become a more open-minded and inclusive leader,” 2021 Tamil Nadu Coalition Leader Athrukshna Balakrishnan said. “I am excited to continue to grow my own leadership skills through the Coalition Leader program, while supporting my peers in becoming more empathetic and, consequently, more impactful leaders themselves.

Coalition Leaders are key to Girl Up’s movement, made up of 5,000 Clubs in 130 countries. They serve with Girl Up for a one year term, advocating for social good and driving global change. 

“In my role as a Girl Up Coalition Leader, I hope to empower young women to make a positive impact in their community and help provide the support and resources necessary to improve their understanding of global women’s issues,” said 2021 Central Florida Coalition Leader Nayanika Owens. “I am also looking forward to learning from my fellow Coalition Leaders and embracing new ideas and perspectives.”

The 2021-2022 class of Girl Up Coalition Leaders and affiliated Coalitions include:

  • Anjali Jayan, Nebraska (United States)
  • Annabel Rose, District of Columbia, Maryland, & Virginia (United States)
  • Annika Divan, New York City (United States)
  • Anvi Padhi, Chicago (United States)
  • Ariana Karim, Georgia (United States)
  • Athrukshna Balakrishnan, Tamil Nadu (India)
  • Ava Ulatowski, Wisconsin (United States)
  • Brianna Shaw, Las Vegas (United States)
  • Bethel Kyeza, London (England)
  • Cynthia Marcela Peña Gámez, Monterrey (Mexico)
  • Dalia Nayeli Serna Vigo, Kusisqa (Peru)
  • Dea Rexha, The Balkans (Kosovo)
  • Deborah Chumbu, Malawi (Malawi)
  • Delicia Maria Mwanyika, Tanzania (Tanzania)
  • Eleftheria Pantekidis, Greater Boston (United States)
  • Elizabeth Nyamwange, Chicago (United States)
  • Ellie Hostetler, Wisconsin (United States)
  • Emaan Khan, Nebraska (United States)
  • Esmerlada Esparza, Aguascalientes (Mexico)
  • Giordana Montes, Peru (Peru)
  • Hanna Hodges, Michigan (United States)
  • Ilinca Drondoe, Greater Boston (United States)
  • Iman Lakhdhir, Southeast Florida (United States)
  • Ira Sharma, Tennessee (United States)
  • Kaitlyn Llerena, Southeast Florida (United States)
  • Kélicia Massala, Quebec (Canada)
  • Khushi Vedmehta, Maharashtra (India)
  • Kyra Campbell, District of Columbia, Maryland, & Virginia (United States)
  • Laura Mae Ferguson, Tennessee (United States)
  • Lauren Smith, Central Texas (United States)
  • Liyana Eshaal, Bangladesh (Bangladesh) 
  • Lola DeAscentiis, Upstate New York (United States)
  • Marla Patricia de la Cruz Rivas, Monterrey (Mexico)
  • Maria Clara Rezende, British Columbia (Canada)
  • Martine Dosa, Upstate New York (United States)
  • Maude Levesque, New Brunswick (Canada)
  • Meghana Vinay, Central Texas (United States)
  • Mofiyin Onanuga, London (England)
  • Molly Caspar, Pennsylvania (United States)
  • Natalie Goldwasser, San Diego (United States)
  • Nayanika Owens, Central Florida (United States)
  • Nitya Pakala, Southeast Texas (United States)
  • Paula Escobar, Northern California & Bay Area (United States)
  • Piya Wadhwa, Delhi (India)
  • Rachel Bui, Georgia (United States)
  • Ria Kokkengada, Pennsylvania (United States)
  • Riti Singh, Arizona (United States)
  • Sanika Joshi, North Texas (United States)
  • Sarah Jackson, Alberta (Canada)
  • Sarah Luke, Southeast Texas (United States)
  • Sarah Park, New Jersey (United States)
  • Saranya Singh, Northern California & Bay Area (United States)
  • Simran Dubey, Northeast Florida (United States)
  • Shira Graubart, Scotland (Scotland)
  • Sreeja Kuppam, North Texas (United States)
  • Subah Mahbub, New York City & Bangladesh (United States)
  • Taamara Thanaraja, Ontario (Canada)
  • Tulsi Chaitanya, Karnataka (India)
  • Varija Mehta, New Jersey (United States)
  • Vedha Arikatla, Los Angeles (United States)
  • Vinaya Sivakumar, Ohio (United States)
  • Zehra Khan, Greater Twin Cities (United States)
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