With a network of around 775 Fellows from 96 countries, the Atlas Corps family is growing every day. It is time to look back and to showcase the achievements of our amazing Alumni. Today we want to talk with our Alumna Disha (Class 24, India, Host: Atlas Corps).

While serving as an Atlas Corps Fellow in DC, Disha completed the editing of her first documentary “Women and Religion in India”. To date the movie has been screened at multiple international film festivals and conferences including Women Deliver 2019 Global Conference, and has won four awards. Congratulations to Disha! We are so proud of these acomplishments!

Name: Disha Arora

Home Country: India

Current Organization: Indian Institute of Management, Udaipur

Role at current organization: Corporate Communications Officer

Social Issue have you worked with: Gender equality and reduced inequality

What are major highlights of your professional journey since you have finished the Fellowships?

During the Fellowship, I simultaneously completed the editing of my first documentary—Women and Religion in India. After returning home, I engaged with a number of communities and organizations where I screened the film to encourage debate and discussion on this topic. Many activists, organizations and media outlets use this documentary as a tool for advocacy against gender-biased traditional norms. A self-funded project, it has been screened at multiple international film festivals and conferences including women deliver 2019 and won four awards.

Seeing the impact of the film in advancing women’s inclusion in conflict resolution and peace-building, I was recognised as an Interfaith Fellow by the Network for Religious and Traditional Peacemakers for the European Union-funded project on Advancing Interreligious Dialogue and Freedom of Religion or Belief (2019-2020).

Also, I represented India in the 3rd ASEF Young Leaders Summit on ethical leadership in Belgium organized by the Asia-Europe Foundation. I was selected out of 13,500 applicants from 51 countries (2018).

How has Atlas Corps contributed to your professional accomplishments?

Atlas Corps Fellowship gave me the opportunity to identify my strengths and values which very well reflect on the leader I am and want to be. I was able to understand the aspects of good and bad leadership. One of the most important aspects I learned was to recognized the importance of soft skills in being a good leader, no matter which part of the world you come from. I came to understand that empathy and compassion along with good communication skills will take you a long way.

Leadership, in my mind, is even more important for women. There are very few women leaders in India, even in the nonprofit sector. Being a woman and a feminist, I feel that it is important for me that I should have all the training that would help me to be an effective leader so that I can support more women and girls and take a stronger step towards building a gender-just world.

How has Atlas Corps contributed to your personal accomplishments?

On a personal level, Atlas Corps gave me the opportunity to meet the most remarkable social change leaders from across the world and learn from them. My fellow Fellows were inspiring individuals who are not afraid to address the difficult issues, both through words and actions. I am incredibly fortunate to have met them. I feel this community of Atlas Corps Fellows and Alumni helps all of us become better versions of ourselves as humans. During my Fellowship experience, I got the opportunity to witness how communities can work as great support systems for individuals.

As an Atlas Corps Alumni, how are you a better social change leader?

As an Atlas Corps alumni, I am able to better identify my strengths as a leader and a communicator and utilize them to the maximum potential. I have worked in the development communication sector for eight years now and I want to continue and build on that experience. I am now equipped with global best practices on the social issues that I am working on.

What advice do you have for applicants and incoming Fellows?

My advice for applicants and/or incoming Fellows would be that Atlas Corps fellowship is more than just a professional journey. There are multiple learning opportunities (formal and informal) and it is important that you take advantage of that. And, along the way, you will be able to meet the best people from around the globe.

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