CEW+ Annual Advocacy Symposium

CEW+ annually brings together staff, faculty, students, and community members to create change through introspection, dialogue, and action at our advocacy symposium. The goal is to give participants practical tools to better advocate for themselves and others. CEW+ seeks to encourage attendees to think about the many ways in which we can be activists as well as how we can support others in navigating the current systems that impact their life. Attendees are exposed to various approaches to advocacy and engage in self-reflection, group discussion, and action-planning to advance their ability to advocate for themselves, others, and on behalf of causes central to their professional and personal goals. U-M staff have comprised the majority of participants averaging slightly under 60% over the past two years. Faculty, community members, and students comprise the remainder of the audience.  

The advocacy symposium features a keynote lecture from a nationally or internationally renowned advocate, a capstone presentation by the outgoing Twink Frey Visiting Social Activist, and the introduction of the next activist. Attendees participate in workshops and roundtable discussions that highlight relevant U-M resources, offer professional development skill-building, and showcase the advocacy journeys of diverse speakers. The event intends to spark further engagement with the work of the Center and provide opportunities for early-career and more experienced advocates to share and learn from each other’s unique experiences.

Twink Frey Visiting Social Activist Program

The Twink Frey Visiting Social Activist (TFVSA) Program brings to CEW+ a social justice activist whose work affects women and recognizes gender equity issues. One goal of the program is to build the capacity and effectiveness of social activists. This is accomplished by giving the TFVSA time, space, and support to work on a project that would not be possible under the activist’s usual working circumstances. The program is made possible through a generous gift from U-M alumna and Emerita Leadership Council Member Twink Frey.

Mullin Welch Endowed Lecture

The Mullin Welch Lecture is named for Elizabeth Charlotte Mullin Welch. The CEW+ Mullin Welch Series was established in 1989 by Frances Daseler and Marjorie Jackson in memory of their sister Elizabeth Charlotte Mullin Welch. This fund brings to campus outstanding women who exemplify Elizabeth’s characteristics: creativity, strength of character and expansive vision.

Christobel Kotelawela Weerasinghe Lecture 

The Weerasinghe Lecture is named for Christobel Kotelawela Weerasinghe, who worked to promote international understanding and communication throughout her life. Weerasinghe was a representative from 1956-to 1965 at the United Nations for the World Federation of the United Nations Association in New York. She traveled and spoke widely on behalf of the UN Association. She published several books for children, was an active member of Women Geographers in Washington and served on several not-for-profit boards in Sri Lanka, where she resided until her passing in 2018. The lectureship brings international advocates to CEW+, in collaboration with other units, for cross-cultural dialogue about the advancement of women. The lectureship is made possible through a generous gift from U-M alumna and Emerita Leadership Council Member Menakka Bailey in honor of her mother, Christobel Kotelawela Weerasinghe.

Past Lecture Series Speakers

2022: Christobel Kotelawela Weerasinghe Keynote Lecture – Dr. Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, Nigerian lawyer and civil rights activist

2021: Mullin Welch Endowed Lecture – C. Nicole Mason, PhD, President and Chief Executive officer of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research

2020: Frances & Sydney Lewis Visiting Leaders Fund – Professor Martha S. Jones, Society of Black Alumni Presidential Professor and Professor of History at The Johns Hopkins University

2019: Mullin Welch Endowed Lecture – 

  • Shannon Cohen, MPA, founder and principal of Shannon Cohen, Inc, award-winning industry leader, strategist, innovator, and inspirational leader
  • Stephanie Land, author

2018: Christobel Kotelawela Weerasinghe Keynote Lecture – Wai Wai Nu, International Award-winning Human Rights Activist

2017: Mullin Welch Endowed Lecture – Laverne Cox, Emmy-nominated actress, Emmy-winning producer