top of page
  • Writer's pictureYehudit Zicklin-Sidikman

2020: A Year of Innovation, Adaption, and Persistence

Updated: Jan 7, 2021

Last year at this time, I wrote, “Speaking. Teaching. Air travel. I feel very lucky that those were the major themes of my 2019.”

In theory, those themes were supposed to continue into 2020.

In some ways, they did. In a lot of ways, they didn’t. 2020 was definitely the year of "shift happens."

2020 was definitely the year of "shift happens."

It’s taken me a while to figure out the themes of this crazy year. But I’ve finally settled on three:

Innovation. Adaptability. Persistence.

Many of us have been focused on looking for the good moments of 2020. I say we broaden that a little and focus on the significant.

So, here are some of my significant moment along with some of the significant moments from the world of Empowerment Self Defense.


We were dreaming big.

Little did we know….


In February, El HaLev and ESD Global hosted the very first Violence Prevention Education Conference (VPEC).

The conference, which was the first of its kind, was dedicated to discovering methods that give all people, primarily children, the skills and tools they need to navigate the world from a safe and empowered place.

The attendees and presenters included dozens of renowned experts in the fields of education, psychology, social work, and Empowerment Self Defense. They represented Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, and The Middle East.

I'm happy to say that the conference was a huge success. What a relief that the conference was held before COVID-19 officially became a pandemic.

Read more >>>

March / April

In March and April, just as we were coming down from the high of VPEC, it became clear to Empowerment Self Practitioners at El HaLev, ESD Global, and across the world that we were going to have to find alternatives to in-person trainings.

With the rise of domestic violence due to quarantine, we knew we couldn’t stop teaching.

With the rise of domestic violence due to quarantine, we knew we couldn’t stop teaching.

Slowly but surely, online courses began to pop up. And the ESD Global team began designing an online curriculum.


In May, El HaLev participated in the Michal Sela Safe @ Home Hackathon, an event where hundreds of software developers worked with experts in the field of domestic violence to create life-saving pieces of technology.

Our project was the creation of an app. (Read on for more information.)


In June, after a decade of exciting and fulfilling work as the CEO of El HaLev, I chose to move on to new challenges.

Mainly, I decided to focus my efforts on continuing to create a global movement to make Empowerment Self Defense accessible worldwide.


In July, I knew it was time to continue our work from May’s Hackathon and continue working on the app.

I invited Rotem Weinner Shapira to join our team, and we got to work immediately.

And, after countless COVID related delays and adaptations to their program, twenty-eight women successfully graduated from the El HaLev instructor course. It would have been so easy for them to give up or decide to take the course at another time. But they stuck with it.


In August, I celebrated completing the first year of my #1000DaysEmpowering, which was a meaningful milestone.

Thank you to everyone who answered my call and joined the conversation.


September brought the news that VPEC 2020 was not a one time event. I’m so thrilled to tell you that VPEC 2021 will be taking place in Prague in October, 2021 both virtually and in person!

For more information, follow VPEC on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


In October, we expanded the team working on the app. Rotem brought on Avi Danon from Cpart as a digital partner.

It was also the month ESD Global Africa launched their social media. Follow them on Facebook and Instagram!


November 2020 might just win the prize for the busiest month of my life. But it was also one of the most fulfilling.

The month started with the close of ESD Global’s Pitch Competition, and the three finalists were invited to speak at VPEC 2021. You can watch the finale and hear about some amazing violence prevention initiatives here.

In anticipation of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and Fodada’s InternationalWomen’s Self-Defense Day, ESD Global launched a Call to Action video along with two brand new online courses.

As if that weren’t enough, ESD Global held a training in Albania, their first-ever training in Europe. Though I wasn’t able to be there in person, I’m so grateful that I was able to be there via Zoom (and in spirit).

Last but not least, The Michal Sela Forum interviewed Rotem about her work on the app:


December has been all about continuing and expanding all of the projects that began in 2020.

Rotem and Avi have moved from the planning phase of the app into the design and creation of the curriculum.

ESD Global Europe is now up and running. Please welcome them on Facebook and Instagram.

And it’s also been a month of getting ready for some big and exciting plans for 2021. Stay tuned. You won’t believe what’s coming.

We made it!

Innovation. Adaptability. Persistence.

Through it all, I had the fortune to be surrounded by people who didn’t stop dreaming even when their worlds were turned upside down.

Through it all, I had the fortune to be surrounded by people who didn’t stop dreaming even when their worlds were turned upside down.

Thank you all for being with me on this rollercoaster of a year. Your love and support mean more than I can say.

Together, we can and will make the world a better place for all of us.

Here’s to a happier, healthier, and safer year ahead!

What were the themes of your year? Please tell me about some of your significant moments from 2020 and your hopes and dreams for 2021.

25 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page