January 19, 2017, 8:36 AM
URI Executive Director Receives Recognition as a “Guy Who Gets It”
URI’s Executive Director, The Rev. Victor Kazanjian, to receive award from the Institute for Women’s Leadership in San Francisco
19 January, 2017 – San Francisco, CA – To celebrate and share the best practices in the Gender Partnership movement, the Institute for Women’s Leadership is presenting their first annual “Guys Who Get It Awards” in San Francisco on January 26, 2017. URI Executive Director the Rev. Victor H. Kazanjian, Jr. will be one of the recipients of the “Honorable Guy Award.” These honorees have been selected based on the impact of their leadership on gender equality, and their track record working to advance women’s leadership and women’s issues.
Other Awardees include:
A full list of Awardees can be found online at http://www.guyswhogetitawards.com/winners
"This award is a moment of pride and joy for URI. Principle 8 of the URI Charter reads: "We practice equitable participation of women and men in all aspects of the URI," and Victor has been an exemplary leader of women’s empowerment and a key promoter of gender equality. Let us take inspiration from Victor's "Honorable Guy Award" and renew our own efforts to improve equality and empower women with concrete, measurable results. I would like to extend my heartiest congratulations to Victor on this fantastic accolade."
In nominating Rev. Kazanjian for this award, his recommenders from URI and Wellesley College included the following.
“Victor Kazanjian’s work has been dedicated to the themes of education and activism for women’s empowerment, peace and justice, and religious, spiritual and multicultural diversity. For twenty years Victor served as the Dean of Religious and Spiritual Life at Wellesley College, our nation’s premier women’s college. At Wellesley, he worked with countless young women, training them to engage the complexity of religious differences and to be activists for women’s empowerment. Victor has continued to focus on women’s empowerment as the executive director of the United Religions Initiative (URI). Gender discrimination and inequality, violence and poverty are a few of the themes of the work of URI’s grassroots initiatives impacting women around the world. Victor has forged a partnership for URI with the Women’s Earth Alliance (WEA) to extend the reach of the URI’s global women’s empowerment programs. As one of the invited speakers at a recent WEA event, Victor noted that women’s empowerment and leadership will be essential for the future health of our world. He is committed to making partnerships with women’s groups to advance the work of encouraging women’s leadership to impact communities, countries and our world.”
-- Michelle Lepore, former Wellesley College Colleague; Assistant Dean, Stanford University
“Both at URI and before that at Wellesley College, Victor has been an eloquent, sophisticated and effective champion of women’s empowerment and women’s rights. He sees and opens spaces for the emergence of the hopes that women have for the world, and the gifts they bring to heal its wounds. He was brilliantly compelling to a very wide range of Wellesley faculty and Wellesley students, inviting us all into a world of possibility that was based fundamentally on his values of mutual respect, appreciation of difference, curiosity and celebration of the joy of learning through live encounter. It was thrilling for us all — trustees, alumnae, students, faculty and staff — to be held in the inclusive vision Victor expressed and made manifest. If ever there was a “Guy Who Gets It,” (and how I love that concept) Victor Kazanjian surely merits designation as a charter member of that selective and now alarming-beleaguered but oh-so-special club.”
-- Diana Chapman Walsh, President Emerita, Wellesley College; current member of the governing boards of MIT (and its executive committee), the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Mind and Life Institute
“Victor is a staunch ally of and advocate for women of all ages, and incorporates this into his work. There are many women in leadership positions at URI, both in the U.S. and around the world, indeed the majority of the paid staff are women. Women outnumber men on his Director's Team (his direct reports) 2:1. Victor has shared with me that one of the reasons he loves URI is that it is an organization that works with grassroots groups, wherein women's voices are typically valued. Women are recognized as leaders both as people of faith as well as people of action. This is in direct contrast to most of the world's major religions, in which men's voices typically prevail and the leadership positions are held primarily by men. There is clear alignment between Victor's perspective on women and URI's.”
-- Alice Swett, Associate Director of Global Programs for Network Development, United Religions Initiative
“Victor Kazanjian has spent decades empowering women. From Wellesley College, to women peace builders within the United Religions Initiative network, Victor has earned the respect of women worldwide. More, however, he has earned women's trust. Many women see a "man in charge" when they meet Victor. Very soon they are made aware of Victor's keen understanding of the strength and importance of women in the workforce, in ministry, and in peace building. Even more important, not only do women trust him, he trusts women. Victor has a deep comprehension of women and what women face on an everyday basis, all over the world. In that, as an ordained Reverend, he has a deep compassion and caring presence for and of women in every situation. I have consistently seen Victor clear space for the voices of, support the work of, and learn from the wisdom of women from around the world. Many of these women are non-positional leaders, but that doesn't stop Victor from affirming their leadership. He provides a critical model for men and women alike in promoting, fostering, and celebrating gender-inclusive leadership. Also noted in Victor's work is that women of all religions, socio-economic classes, cultures, races and ethnicity's feel comfortable with Victor leading them. This is imperative in the work Victor does and he has mastered it. Last, Victor loves his work. And he is good at it. This, plus the fact that he is empathetic, perceptive, educated, aware, and passionate about his work and his vocation, make him a "guy who gets it" more so than any other man I know.”
-- Karen Hernandez, Wellesley Alumna and Interfaith Activist and Theologian, URI contract employee
The Institute for Women’s Leadership partners with multinational corporations, federal governments, global nonprofits, and emerging businesses to achieve ambitious and sustainable goals in women’s leadership and gender partnerships.