An expert in gender and post-conflict reconstruction, Elizabeth Powley has traveled the globe providing assistance to build governance and political participation. Today, as Executive Director of Heartland Alliance International, Elizabeth fights to develop healthcare and anti-violence systems around the world. HAI provides cutting-edge, trauma-informed systems, delivering services to over 200,000 people in Nigeria alone.
Elizabeth gives thanks to the leadership of the women who came before her, developing the very philosophy of human service. For this year’s Legacy of Pride series, Elizabeth honors Heartland Alliance founder and social activist, Jane Addams.
“My interest in Jane Addams goes back to when I was an undergraduate history major. In college I studied the overlap between the early 20th century movements for peace and for women’s rights. Jane Addams sat squarely at the intersection of the two. I became fascinated with her life and career and have remained a fan of hers all these years. So working for Heartland at this point in my career brings me full circle to some of my early passions. I’m so proud to help lead an organization that traces its roots to Jane Addams.
Here in Chicago, Jane Addams is perhaps best known for having founded Hull House and having promoted progressive social reforms to protect immigrants and the urban poor who were, at that time, experiencing the rapid change and the problems associated with industrialization. This legacy is still alive in Heartland’s domestic programs today.
What many people don’t know is that, in addition to her pioneering work at Hull House, Jane Addams was also a dedicated suffragist and pacifist. She had a vision that connected the local and global in vital ways, just as Heartland Alliance International (HAI) does today. She was the first president of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom and in 1931 became the first American woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize. We find echoes of her global peace activism in our work at HAI today, where we are deeply committed to both gender equality and to helping victims of violence and war recover, heal, and gain access to justice.
Jane Addams founded Travelers and Immigrants Aid, which went on to become Heartland Alliance, in 1888. I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to say that she’d be proud to know that the Heartland Alliance of 2017 has a global reach and that our staff are working in conflict areas around the world to advance qualities that Jane Addams herself worked for – peace, equality, and justice.”