BALI Spring 2013 Interns

Vanessa Franklin, Program Development Intern graduated from The City University of New York The City College of New York with a Bachelor in Psychology. She is attending City College to complete her Credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor class requirements before enrolling in a Master of Social Work degree program in the Fall of 2013. She is also a mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters Organization and volunteers as a Team Leader for New York Cares. Her current interest of working to empower young women has brought her to intern with BALI.


Giulia Girgenti, Outreach and Communication Intern is a new BALI Intern hailing from Brooklyn, NY. She is currently a student at School of the Future High School in Gramercy Park and is expected to graduate in 2014. She has previously organized with various social activists groups such as Queer Rising and the Young Feminist Task Force. After high school, she hopes to study social sciences, possibly exploring a career in public health.



Manami Koyama, Special Event Planning Intern is taking a master in Urban Affairs, Hunter College and going to graduate this semester. She is an international student from Japan. Her strong interests in women’s leadership and management of non-profit organizations lead to BALI. She is so proud to devote herself to the development of BALI and work under outstanding leaders, Liz Abzug, and Yu Wai Maung.



Shadia Islam, Administrative Assistant is a junior in Hunter College, CUNY and majoring in MLS and premed. After years of struggling with socio-economic obstacles herself, she has decided to turn her “can’t” into “can” and her dreams into plan; while also helping others along the way. Her desires to enable young women reach their potential in leadership, pursue higher education and women empowerment has brought her to BALI.

“CHARMED” by CHARITY EVENT- BALI’s First Young Professional Fundraiser

On Monday, February 4th, BALI had the honor of hosting our very First Young Professional Fundraiser at Alex and Ani Showroom in Soho. Alex and Ani’s staff members were incredibly helpful and supportive, who embrace the positive energy products that adorn the body, enlighten the mind, and empower the spirit. We would like to thank Stephanie Mattera, who took the time to learn about our organization and gave us an opportunity to host our First Young Professional Fundraiser. We would also like to thank the team members of CHARMED by Charity Event for co-planning this event with BALI Intern, Meghan Maloney, who is also our BALI 2012 Graduate, and Dacia Reed, our BALI Young Professional Mentor.

Leadership and Debate Training Series for Female Middle School Students hosted by BALI and NYCUDL

The Bella Abzug Leadership Institute (BALI) partnered with New York City Urban Debate League (NYCUDL) held its third Leadership and Debate Skills Training Series on Friday January 25, 2013. The debate topic was “Single Sex Schools Are Better than Co-Educational Schools?” 58 female Middle School scholars attended the event  from Frederick Douglass Academy VIII, Girls Prep Middle School, PS278 and Simon Baruch MS 104. The young women leaders and their instructors from respective schools dove into our fun and engaging self-awareness and self-expression development exercises facilitated by BALI’s movement and dance instructor, Meredith Lyn-Avey.  During the Leadership Training exercise, Liz Abzug, President/CEO of BALI and Professor of Urban Studies+ Kenneth Cole Community Engagement Program at Barnard College/Columbia University, inspired all the participants to speak frankly and give examples of who they thought were good and bad leaders and why.  She also encouraged them to reflect on qualities they have and decide which ones would be beneficial for being a leader.

After lunch, the girls were given an intensive debate skills training by a representative from the New York City Urban Debate League. Finally these eager young leaders were able to apply their newly learned skills by each participating in small debate groups.

The event was a smashing success for the turnout was significantly more than the previous year, showing the increased interest and dedication of teachers and principals to help their students acquire different skills. At BALI and NYCUDL’s Women Debate League, we recognize the courage and effort that takes to stand up and speak up. Everyone who participated in the Leadership and Debate Training Series on Friday, January 25th were winners.

Gratitude to  the instructors from Frederick Douglass Academy VIII, PS278 and Simon Baruch MS 104,  and  Girls Prep Middle School and Kaitlin Seaver, the Principal of Girls Prep,  Erik Fogel , the Executive Director of NYCUDL, Christina Bermudez, the Program Coordinator of NYCUDL and,  Liz Abzug and Meredith Lyn-Avey for participating and making the best Leadership and Debate Training Series yet.

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  • Video of BALI 2011 Training

  • Video of BALI Inspired Leaders

  • Video of Bella Abzug Speaking