UPDATE: We regret to inform you that today’s lecture on “Global Education for Girls: Opportunities and Challenges in Transforming Poverty” is cancelled due to Jessica Posner Odede’s illness. The “Beverly Cobble Rodriguez Lectureship Supporting Women’s Education and Global Leadership” will be rescheduled.

Jessica Posner Odede has been selected for the inaugural Beverly Cobble Rodriguez Lectureship.

The event features a lecture and discussion on “Global Education for Girls: Opportunities and Challenges in Transforming Poverty.”  The lecture begins at 5 p.m. on March 17 with a discussion following immediately afterward. The reception begins at 6:30 p.m. This event is co-sponsored with the Alderman Library, the Center for Global Health and the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy.

Please note: This is one event in a series of events during March for International Women’s Month (IWM).

Jessica Posner Odede

Through her leadership at Shining Hope for Communities (SHOFCO) Jessica Posner Odede brings an important innovation to the fight against gender inequality and extreme poverty in the developing world. By linking tuition free schools for girls to holistic social services for all in the urban slums of Nairobi, Kenya, girls’ schools become a portal of social change in these communities.

Jessica’s work as a social entrepreneur and activist began in 2007 when she traveled to Kenya as a study abroad student and became one of the first outsiders to live inside the Nairobi slum of Kibera. She was deeply moved by the struggles facing the community and the experience led her to co-found Shining Hope for Communities in 2009 with her husband Kennedy Odede. That same year she graduated Phi Beta Kappa with honors in African-American Studies from Wesleyan University.

She was recognized in 2010 with Echoing Green’s prestigious Global Fellowship and Do Something’s award for the year’s top world-changer 25 and under. She splits her time between Nairobi and New York City.

Beverly Cobble Rodriguez Lectureship

In 2014 Beverly Cobble Rodriguez and Joe V. Rodriguez, Jr. established the Beverly Cobble Rodriguez Lectureship Fund Supporting Women’s Education and Global Leadership through their generous donation to the Maxine Platzer Lynn Women’s Center. This endowment funds an annual lecture on women’s education and global leadership with a special emphasis on healthcare, multi-national business, and the liberal arts.

Joe V. Rodriguez’s hopes for the endowment include bringing a wide array of prominent women leaders from medical, business or political fields to U.Va. In their lectureships, these leaders would help to broaden the thinking of current U.Va. students and “inspire them to become leaders in helping solve some of the most challenging global issues.”

“I hope U.Va. students will gain a broader sense of global responsibility and become inspired to maximize their preparation for a world that desperately needs more determined and results oriented women leaders.”


For any questions or concerns about this event, please email Jaronda Miller, Program Director of Global and Engaged Scholarship at the Women’s Center, at jjm8ac@virginia.edu