Center for Women's Intercultural Leadership

The Center for Women's Intercultural Leadership (CWIL) advances Saint Mary's College's mission of “preparing students to make a difference in the world” by empowering women to realize their call to leadership and to develop the intercultural knowledge and competence critical in today’s increasingly interdependent world.  In the spirit of the College’s sponsors, the Sisters of the Holy Cross, CWIL promotes human transformation and systemic change, from the local to the global context, by providing challenging, justice-based educational opportunities. 


50 Spes Unica Hall
Notre Dame, IN 46556-5001
Ph. (574) 284-4051
Fx. (574) 284-4141


Principal Staff

Elaine Meyer-Lee, Ed.D., Director, Center for Women's Intercultural Leadership
Ph. (574) 284-4059

Mana Derakhshani, PhD., Associate Director, Center for Women's Intercultural Leadership

Alice Siqin Yang, PhD., Assistant Director, Global Education
Ph. (574) 284-4263

Terra Sniadecki, M.S., International Student/Scholar Advisor and English Language School

Martha Smith, B.S., Project Director, Women's Entrepreneurship Initiative

Linda Biggins, M.S., Administrative Assistant
Ph. (574) 284-4051

Pamela Blair, Administrative Assistant
Ph. (574) 284-4061

Featured Events


Areas of Expertise:

Projects & Campaigns

Intercultural Leadership

Community Connections (now called Intercultural Leadership) facilitated partnerships among students, faculty, and staff at Saint Mary’s College and diverse women leaders and organizations in the local community to create leadership and intercultural learning in a community context. The experience of community leaders and women’s organizations on the local and national level informed and enriched CWIL’s scholarship.  All of Community Connections work began in the complex and rich cultural world of our local community.  Through Community Connections, 16 programs were implemented that brought new connections, learning and research on women’s intercultural leadership to Saint Mary’s and the South Bend/ Michiana community.  Several of these programs stand out as regional and national models.
Going forward from July 2008, Community Connections has become Intercultural Leadership   that will integrate theory, action, and reflection with the goal of empowering students and women leaders to use diversity, gender and culture as a strength and resource in their leadership. Two of the key leadership programs– the intercultural leadership certificate and the women’s intercultural leadership workshops – are the results of the rich learning and connections made through those initial programs.

Global Education

The Global Education component of CWIL offers Saint Mary’s students three ways to engage with other cultures. First, we oversee and promote a variety of study abroad programs and a student travel grant fund to extend global learning beyond campus borders. Second, our international student services and student club, facilitate cross cultural connection among students on campus. Finally, we support interculturalization of our curriculum through faculty development and course work for study abroad returnees.


Reports & Resources

Akita, Kimiko

Hegemony and the sexual commodification of women in the Japanese media.  T. Carilli & J. Campbell (Eds.), Women in the media: Global perspectives. Lanham, MD: University Press of America., 2004.

Critical Ethnography of My Aunt's Suicide: Intergenerational Family Conflict in Japan.  Human Communication: A Journal of the Pacific and Asian Communication Association, 6 (1), 59-79. 2003.

A female teacher and sexual harassment in a Japanese women's junior college:  A case study.  Women and Language, 25 (1), 8-13.

Derry, Robin

“Disparate Treatment at Southern State.” Saint Louis: Emerson Center for Business Ethics, 2003.

Keating, Cricket

“Developmental Democracy and Its Inclusions: Globalization and the Transformation of Participation.”Signs. 29 (2004): 417-37.

Meléndez, Maria, ed.

Moon Won’t Leave Me Alone: Reflections on Identity, Family and Community. San Francisco: California Poets in the Schools, 2003.

An Illustrated Guide to Things Unseen, University of Arizona Press, September, 2006.

Comeback Wolves: Western Writers Welcome the Wolf Home, Johnson Books, Summer, 2005.

Nusair, Isis, contributor

Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and North Africa. 2nd ed. New York: Macmillan Reference USA. (forthcoming)

Encyclopedia of Women and Islamic Cultures. Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers. (forthcoming)

Rabéa Naciri. “The Integration of the Human Rights of Women from the Middle East and North Africa in the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership.” Denmark: Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network, 2003.

Yañez, Richard

El Paso del Norte. Reno: University of Nevada Press, 2003.


Center News

Thursday, July 29, 2010 - 11:23am

The Center for Women's Intercultural Leadership (CWIL) marks 10 years of fostering the intercultural competence critical for the next generation of women leaders across the Saint Mary's campus, connecting with communities at the local, state, national, and global levels.

Early Bird Registration Deadline: August 16, 2010
For more information please click here!


Opportunities, Grants & Fellowships

Intercultural Learning Grants

The Global Education component of the Center for Women's Intercultural Leadership offers several types of competitive mini grants to the entire Saint Mary's community in order to support the intercultural dimension of learning across our campus.


Saint Mary’s College, a Catholic, four-year liberal arts institution for women located approximately 90 miles east of Chicago, established the Center for Women’s Intercultural Leadership (CWIL) through support of a Lilly Endowment, Inc. grant. The Center for Women’s Intercultural Leadership seeks to increase awareness of the importance of intercultural dialogue in today’s world, to highlight the leadership roles women have adopted in such dialogue, and to foster the next generation of women leaders. In pursuit of these goals, the Center offers two different types of fellowships, which are joint appointments with academic departments.

Co-Sponsored Events

Interlocking activities between CWIL and the academic and student life programs is vital to the mission of Saint Mary’s College. Through the sponsorship of programs, projects, and events CWIL fosters mutual cooperation across the campus in the formation of women leaders, exploration of topics concerning intercultural realities and supporting the pedagogical innovations, artistic expression and educative facets of these efforts.