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#BringBackOurGirls

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Florence Ozor is a Government Relations officer for an oil and gas company in Nigeria by trade, but she is best known for her leadership in the international #BringBackOurGirls campaign. While attending a women’s leadership conference in the United States in April, Florence learned that the terrorist group Boko Haram had abducted 276 Nigerian school girls.  She leapt into action and immediately dedicated herself to bringing the girls home. Her unwavering determination and passion for the cause quickly made Florence the primary leader of the #BringBackOurGirls campaign. Her inspiring story, relentless commitment and admirable leadership have kept the story in global news, including Newsweek. Currently, Ms. Ozor is touring the United States with the Global Livingston Institute speaking about her experiences as an international leader.

Thursday morning, the Fellows had the great fortune to sit down with Ms. Ozor to hear about the #BringBackOurGirls campaign. The discussion centered on the huge influence social media sites like Twitter and Facebook have in overcoming communication barriers and expanding awareness. Ms. Ozor believes social media is the most effective way to bring international attention to local issues and to propel activists, governments, and every day citizens into action. Far more important than her understanding of social media, however, is Florence Ozor’s grace, unwavering spirit, and inspirational capacity for love.

Ms. Ozor is passionate about empowering individuals to make a difference in local communities, a core idea of El Pomar’s Fellowship. Through the #BringBackOurGirls social media campaign, the international community lent support and amplified the voices of local leaders like Florence. Ms. Ozor showed Fellows the personal side of leadership and how passion can transform a local tragedy into an international movement. The state of Colorado will be well served if Fellows live with even half of the devotion Ms. Ozor has showed in her dedication to the safe return of the 276 kidnapped girls.

Last Friday, the Nigerian government reported a cease-fire with Boko Haram in which the terrorist organization agreed to release the schoolgirls. Today, there is cautious optimism in the country as the population awaits concrete action from Nigeria's federal government. We are continuing to follow the developments as they come in and are hopeful that the girls will return home safely.