FREE Summer Leadership and Debate Training Program for Female High School & College Students 2012

The Bella Abzug Leadership Institute (BALI),  in partnership with     the New York City Urban Debate League (NYCUDL)    , is hosting a   FREE Two-Week  2012 Summer Intensive Leadership and Debate Training Program    for both female High School girls and Under-Graduate Level College young women which will be held at Hunter College on  July 30th – August 11th  . Breakfast and lunch will be provided at no cost to our trainees.


The Bella Abzug Leadership Institute is a non-profit 501-c-3 organization that has faithfully trained young women and girls since 2006; mentoring and inspiring today’s and tomorrow’s leaders by helping our BALI young women trainees learn the skills they need to become powerful leaders who can and will effectuate positive social,  civic and economic change. Our programs are FREE and provided at no cost to our trainees. Our Summer Leadership and Debate Training two week intensive is geared towards Title I High-School and College female students in throughout New York City and from the Tri-State area. We pride ourselves on selecting a very dynamic and diverse group of trainees that represent all of the varied multi- cultural communities of New York City and the Tri-State area.

BALI’s two-week debate and leadership training is offered every summer at Hunter College. Our program includes workshops in debate techniques, public speaking, critical thinking, policy research, writing speeches and articles, developing the skills to analyze contemporary public policy issues, and self-empowerment exercises.

BALI trainers are a highly skilled group of professionals who come from a wide range of disciplines, most of whom hold professional positions in academia, corporate, non-profit and the government sectors. Our trainers most of whom are females are strong female role models for our students as they are highly accomplished and successful leaders in their chosen fields of expertise. BALI trainees are given opportunities to hear the professional trajectories and personal experiences of their trainers. In addition to specific leadership and debate skills workshops, they attend sessions on community building, civic engagement, self-awareness, self-empowerment, advocacy and activism. It is our commitment and goal to help our students achieve their fullest potential by teaching them to become  positive and progressive visionaries and leaders of change in civil society. We know that as a result of our programs, we can and will create inspired and powerful young women leaders who will create a more just and sane world in the 21st century.

Applicants will be selected for an in-person interview based on their responses to the second part of the application.

Download the 2012 application here: Summer Application.

If you are having trouble downloading the application here, you can also request an application by emailing Yu Wai Maung at  

Please email your completed applications to BALI Program Coordinator, Yu Wai Maung at  

IF you should have any further inquiries you may contact our BALI administrative office at      212-650-3071      . Please  follow us on Facebook:   Bella Abzug Leadership Inc     .     



Applications are due by June 30 th , 2012.

 In-person interviews will be conducted

Between July2nd , 3rd, 9th and 10th 

Your application will be determined by July 10th  . 


BALI Summer 2011 Graduate is the 2012 BCC Valedictorian!

BALI Board of Directors and BALI President, Liz Abzug is pleased to announce that BALI Summer 2011 Graduate, Carolina Espin is the 2012 Bergen Community College Valedictorian. Carolina thanked BALI for  her outstanding academic achievement  during her commencement speech at the Bergen Community College.

Carolina Espin, BALI Summer 2011 Graduate/BCC 2012 Valedictorian

My time at Bergen Community College was wonderful and full of positive experiences. I will remember them for the rest of my life. My leadership experiences, my will to succeed, and help others was able to become a reality thanks to the Bella Abzug Leadership Institute  I did at Hunter college during the summer in 2011.

I learned how to be a stronger woman, how to be more comfortable speaking in front of others, and how to work with others as a team. Through a series of workshops, I learned how to express myself and put my dreams into focus. We created vision boards which I still keep to this day on my nightstand; I look at it everyday before I go to sleep and as soon as I open my eyes. On it I have, “DREAM OUT LOUD” and “GOING GLOBAL”.

I took all the dreams I had and put them into practice by joining clubs and other organizations. I reached out to others to help me achieve my dreams. Together, we were able to make an impact in our community and create a positive influence in our school. I had the honor of becoming my school’s valedictorian and got the chance to share my story with the world. I have “Dreamed Out Loud”, and now it is time to make a new Vision Board.

Thank you BALI, for giving me the tools to become a stronger leader and for allowing me to learn through your program,trainers,mentors and your great speakers.

I am truly thankful there are programs like this that help young women such as myself achieve greatness and success.

Vision Board created by Carolina Espin

Carlina Espin with Tiffany Sierra on BALI Graduation Day , August 2012


Merle Hoffman and BALI Trainees

On Saturday April 28th, 2012 The Bella Abzug Leadership held the Second Leadership Seminar & Debate Tournament Series in partnership with NYCUDL (New York City Urban Debate League) at Hunter College. It was a smashing success as 25 highly driven and outspoken High School female debaters from all of the 5 Boroughs of New York City participated. The debate topic was the Right to Abortion and Reproductive Health Services. The day was filled with many motivational speeches and discussions. Merle Hoffman, the President of CHOICES, Women’s Medical Center, set the mood for the rest of the day by speaking to our high school participants, guests and staff members of BALI in the morning about how she founded Choices,the critical services they provide and her role as an abortion rights activist for the last thirty years. Her humble personality was uplifting  for many of our students who felt comfortable asking Ms.Hoffman personal as well as political questions.It was also an incredible learning experience for BALI Intern, Zahura Alam as she shares her continuing journey with BALI.

Liz Abzug, President of BALI and Merle Hoffman, President Of CHOICES with BALI Interns

As an intern it was a pleasure to meet with Merle Hoffman President of CHOICES Women’s Medical Center. When I first started to intern, the President of BALI, Liz Abzug told me about Merle Hoffman and her journey as Founder and President of CHOICES. I was very interested and fascinated even though I never met her I felt Liz’s story about Ms.Hoffman inspired me to want to know me about Choices and Ms.  Hoffman’s work.While preparing for the Second Leadership Training & Debate Tournament Series I found out that Merle Hoffman would be speaking at the event. I was very excited for this once in a lifetime opportunity of meeting my idol in person.  When the day finally came and Merle Hoffman spoke, I was deeply touched by her words. She told us (the audience) about her journey and how she had no idea that she would end up at where she is today. She told us about her struggles and how she has been threatened many times because of her  role as President of an abortion and reproductive health services clinic. The fact that she kept her head high when she ran into people who  threatened her  and what she was doing led me to believe in her commitment to continue protecting  the critical  legal right to abortion and women’s reproductive health services- Zahura Alam, BALI 2011 Graduate/ BALI 2012 Intern.

BALI High School Debaters on April 28th

BALI High School Debaters on April 28th

The day continued with a panel discussion  by  the Milano the New School University Graduate students . The panel discussion was moderated by Meredith Avey and Cassandra Alvarez, Miosotis Perez, Odia Barker, and Daphna Lweinstein earnestly spoke  about the challenges they faced growing up due to difficulties having an access to reproductive health services and knowledge. After observing and learning from personal stories that have made the headlines, the 25 high school students debated from both sides of the argument about whether or not Abortion and Reproductive Health Services Should be Easily Accessible.

Liz Abzug, the President of BALI with the Panelists from the New School University on April 28th

BALI Debate Judges on April 28th

Every beginning has an end and the day came to arrest with a Leadership Circle facilitated by BALI’s very own self-empowerment and wellness trainer, Vanessa Codorniu.

The Circle of Leaders of April 28th

The Circle of Leaders of April 28th


BALI Board of Directors and the President of BALI, Liz Abzug would like to thank Merle Hoffman for supporting us by spending her precious time with our students. BALI would also like to thank Hale and Hearty on Lexington and East 66th  for their generous lunch donations and SPRINKLE on Lexington and East 59th for their kind donation of amazing cupcakes. Last but not least, we could not have done it without the on-going support from the New School Graduate Students , and our guest judges.

Please visit our Facebook Page : Bella Abzug Leadership Institute Inc for more photos from the event.

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  • Video of BALI 2011 Training

  • Video of BALI Inspired Leaders

  • Video of Bella Abzug Speaking