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Channel Foundation | Vision | History | Values | Goals | Course Of Study | WLS Selection Committee

Channel Foundation

WLS was a program of the Channel Foundation, a small, private foundation based in Seattle, Washington, USA that promotes leadership in women's human rights around the globe. Channel's mission is to fund and create opportunities for groups working in many regions of the world to ensure that women's human rights are respected, protected, and fulfilled.

The Channel Foundation is a 501(C) 3 private operating foundation registered in Washington State. Its Women’s Leadership Scholarship (formerly the Native Leadership Scholarship) program was approved under Sec. 4945(g)(1)of the U.S. IRS code on 20 July 2001.

For more information about the Foundation please see the Channel website.

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The Channel Foundation envisions a world where women and girls enjoy equal protection and fulfillment of their human rights and share power in directing institutions, guiding communities, and leading societies and nations. Women and girls shall have full access to the information, resources, training, and employment opportunities they need in order to overcome social, legal and economic barriers, to participate in decision making, and to claim their human rights.

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WLS granted scholarships between 2001 and 2009. Our alumni are working around the world to improve the welfare of their communities. Prior to 2006, WLS granted scholarships to both women and men which included a limited number of awards for doctoral level education. Please visit the WLS Alumni section for more information on their groundbreaking work. Starting in 2006, WLS awarded scholarships solely to women pursuing non-doctoral level graduate education.

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The human rights framework articulated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and international commitments to women’s rights set forth in the Convention on the Elimination of All Discrimination Against Women, the Beijing Platform for Action, and UN Security Council Resolution 1325 form the Channel Foundation's core values. These human rights instruments assert that "women's rights are human rights" and recognize the essential dignity and inherent rights of every person.

In order to overcome women’s historical exclusion from positions of leadership in public life, Channel is committed to supporting education and training, especially for those most affected by injustice and poverty. As part of the social justice funding movement, Channel believes that empowerment of grassroots groups and partnership models of funding are the only truly effective pathways to achieving lasting social change. Channel is committed to building capacity in the Global South, and honoring the dignity, fundamental rights, and creativity of activists on the front lines.

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WLS supported study, research, and leadership training, to assist women in their pursuit of solutions to the critical social, environmental, health and economic problems facing their countries and communities. By granting scholarships to remarkable women who demonstrated effective leadership, innovative solutions, and commitment to their communities, WLS helped develop and advance local expertise and community-based, culturally appropriate solutions. WLS endorsed non-traditional leaders who used imaginative methodologies and modeled change. The academic study, research and leadership training WLS supported was based on the scholarship recipient's prior experience working with her community.

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Course of Study

Scholarship recipients enrolled in programs of study that covered a range of human rights and development issues at the non-doctoral graduate level including gender, reproductive health, HIV/AIDS, child exploitation, human trafficking, conflict resolution, environmental justice, global fair trade, and sustainable development. WLS was a secular program and did not support programs of study that promoted specific religious beliefs.

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Selection Committee

The WLS had a selection committee that reviewed all applications. The selection committee included women from around the world with experience and/or extensive knowledge of global women’s human rights, public health, development, food security, environment, and/or indigenous rights.

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