GRÓ GEST: 13th Cohort Settles In

24 January 2020
GRÓ GEST: 13th Cohort Settles In

The first weeks of the GEST programme operating as a part of GRÓ – Centre for Capacity Development, Sustainability and Societal Change, have been busy as the GEST programme welcomes its first GRÓ GEST cohort, and the 13th GEST cohort from the programme‘s inception in 2009. This year, the group consists of 21 fellows and for the first time, fellows have arrived from Russia, Cameroon, and Sri Lanka. The GEST alumni country chapters grow as new fellows from Afghanistan, Ghana, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Palestine, South Africa and Uganda participate in the programme. The fellows represent experts and postgraduate students from various professional fields including gender studies, political sciences, journalism, education, and legal practice. Despite unusally stormy Icelandic January weather, the fellows are settling in fast, and enjoying what Reykjavík and the University of Iceland campus have to offer.

The GEST programme is primarily funded by the Icelandic government, as part of the Icelandic Ministry for Foreign Affairs development assistance plan. This year, a few fellows are co-funded by the Icelandic Equality Fund, the Icelandic Red Cross and the Erasmus+ scheme at the University of Iceland, along with targeted funding from the Icelandic Ministry of Foreign Affairs to include for the first time a student from the Arctic region.

This semester started with a module on gender theories and concepts, coordinated by Dr. Thomas Brorsen Smidt and Dr. Giti Chandra. The purpose of this module is to introduce fellows to basic theories and concepts in gender studies in order to develop nuanced transnational understandings of established feminist theoretical traditions as well as more recent feminist conceptualizing of global gender politics. This week the GEST programme had the pleasure of welcoming this semester‘s first visiting lecturer, Musa Hove, who is a public health expert with a focus on integrated HIV/AIDS, SRHR and gender norms transformative programming. He is also the current country representative for SafAIDS Zimbabwe and the country coordinator for MenEngage Zimbabwe. The GEST programme and Musa Hove got acquainted through the partnership with UNESCO, at the conference on “Men, Masculinities and Gender Equality in Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean: Interregional Dialogues” in February 2019 in Maputo, and later at the 10-year anniversary seminar in Nairobi, last December.

Along with introducing the theme of Men and Masculinities to the GEST fellows, Musa also participated in this week´s podcast along with GEST fellow Limbikani Mkangadzula where they discuss ways of engaging men and boys in gender equality. More information about the GEST podcast series is found here.