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unesco conference on fostering women’s empowerment and leadership

Liliane Picard, ICJW Representative to UNESCO Paris, reports on the UNESCO Conference on Fostering Women’s Empowerment and Leadership on June 30 that she attended with Claudia Milner, a member of the ICJW French team. 

The day was organized in three thematic sessions .Each panel presented the state of the art through the participants’ experiences and work, discussed the challenges and innovative solutions towards the 2030 horizon and paved a way forward by leveraging on Unesco’s role and added value. . The themes of the day were: 
1. Women’s Empowerment and Sustainable Development - The Power of Women  and Girl’s Education - Women, Peace and Security  
2. Breaking Gender Stereotypes - The Importance of Role Models in changing Cultural Norms - Challenging the Status Quo 
3. Leadership and Power - Women in Politics - Women in Business. 
During the Opening Ceremony, there were several orators: 
- Ms Irina Bokova, Director General of Unesco  - H.E Ms Marie Louise Coleiro Preca, President of the Republic of Malta  - H.E Dr Amal Abdullah Al Qubaisi, President of the Federal National Council of the United Arab Emirates - H.E Ms Rula Ghani, First Lady of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan - H.E Ms Tarja Halonen Fromer, President of the Republic of Finland  - H.E Ms Theresa Fernandez de la Vega, Former First Deputy Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Spain, President of the Foundation Mujeres por Africa  - Mr Mohamed Hmayen Bouamatou,,Conference Sponsor, Founder and President of the Foundation for chances equality in Africa . 
The panelists and moderators, mostly women, came from all parts of the world. I cannot list all their  names but I would like to point out the presence of Mrs Mazal Renford, Adviser for International Cooperation and Peace, International Council of Women, former Director of the Mount Carmel international Training Center. 
The closing Session included keynote speeches by Ms Bokova, General Director of Unesco, HRH Princess Dana Firas, President of Petra National Trust (the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan), Ms Aminata Toure, former Prime Minister of Senegal and, last but not least, Ms Tzipi Livni, former Foreign Minister of Israel, who delivered a very passionate speech and explained  that she had hesitated fo attend  because of the last resolutions adopted by Unesco on Jerusalem. 
The speeches were followed by the presentation: New Pathways for Women’s Empowerment and Leadership and Adoption of the Statement . 
The Conference was attended by a large audience, composed mostly by women, and a real sisterhood was felt among all the  women, despite of their origin, color or religion.