On March 21, Pulitzer Prize winners and best-selling authors Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn spoke to students at Irma Rangel Young Women’s Leadership School, a partner school of the Young Women’s Preparatory Network. The two are best known for their books, Half the Sky and their work with The New York Times.

Both Rangel students along with the Barack Obama Male Leadership Academy students listened to the authors, who are also married, on experiences of covering Darfur (Sudan), inequality, sex trafficking, parenting and more. Students asked compelling questions with the first being, “How do we solve these difficult issues?”


Kristof replied with this advice:

  1. Find some issue that speaks to you and your friends.
  2. Research the issue.
  3. Gather friends and start a club. The club could be raising funds or writing letters to elected officials. An example would be addressing the 62 million girls around the world who don’t have access to education.


Inequality among women and girls was another topic. “Society will be better off when everyone can reach their highest potential,” remarked WuDunn.


Kristof concluded, “Terrorists know that the biggest threat is a girl with a book. I wish we would fund girls’ education as much as we fund drones,” said Kristof.


“And we need to fund boys with books, too,” WuDunn added.


About Young Women’s Preparatory Network:

Founded in 2002, the Young Women’s Preparatory Network is a nonprofit agency that partners with public school districts across the state of Texas to operate the largest network of all-girls, public, college preparatory schools in the nation. The organization provides funding and other resources to schools in Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Grand Prairie, Houston, Lubbock and San Antonio. Each YWPN school features a STEM-focused curriculum and is largely attended by disadvantaged students who are second-generation immigrants. The core values are leadership development, college readiness and wellness life skills. In 2014-2015, the network’s 247 graduates received more than $29 million in academic and merit scholarships and have matriculated to 87 different colleges and universities. More information can be found at http://youngwomensprep.org/.


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