AIWF Activities 2020

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“We are pleased to demonstrate our commitment to corporate social responsibility within the region by partnering with AIWF in its initiatives aimed at helping women realise their potential in private sector employment, entrepreneurship, investment and growing their businesses, both for personal success and as a contribution to the economic growth of their countries.”

-Eileen Taylor, Global Head of Diversity, Deutsche Bank

AIWF NEWS, February 2010

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AIWF launches Webinar Series in July 2020 with high-level virtual events featuring leading speakers from the international business and development communities

July 10, 2020

In these unprecedented times, the Arab International Women’s Forum reiterates its commitment to addressing issues of global and regional concern that deeply impact economies, societies and communities, with a focus on women and youth, and their livelihoods, wellbeing, security and prosperity.

With lockdowns impacting world travel and restricting global conference events, AIWF launched a Webinar Series in July 2020 as a core part of its 2020 Annual Programme, featuring Keynote Speakers and valued participants who are visionaries and experts representing diverse sectors drawn from the Arab world and the international community.

The webinar programme has been designed to advance AIWF’s momentum and international advocacy by delivering virtual opportunities for key partners, members and stakeholders in the governmental, business, and development communities to convene and engage in high-level discussion on topics of critical concern in the MENA Region and globally.

The series launched on 01 July with an inaugural leading session on ‘The Role of the World Bank in Coordinating Responses to the Economic Challenges Further Aggravated by COVID-19 in the Mashreq Region’. The session was moderated by AIWF Founder & Chairman Haifa Fahoum Al Kaylani, welcomed Saroj Kumar Jha, Regional Director of the Mashreq at the World Bank in Beirut, Lebanon, to discuss an overview of the social and economic opportunities and challenges in the MENA Region prior to COVID 19; Mr Jha's key insights on the current situation for the Mashreq countries and initiatives of the World Bank to address critical empowerment challenges in Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq; and the World Bank's approach to economic recovery post-COVID 19 for the Mashreq, with a focus on women's empowerment, youth inclusion, and digitisation of the MENA public, private and agricultural sectors.

The webinar attracted over 250 registrants and delivered engaging, insightful discussion on the critical development challenges that the pandemic has exacerbated in the region, as well as sharing an overview of the World Bank’s pillars of engagement in the region, drawing from the ‘State of the Mashreq’ Report that the World Bank launched in late June 2020.

The series continued on 08 July 2020 with a key session in partnership with AIWF Global Partner Pfizer, titled ‘Women at the front line in the fight against COVID-19 and Beyond’, introduced by AIWF Chairman Haifa Al Kaylani and moderated by AIWF Board Member Dr Oualae Al Alami, Vice President Cluster Lead at Pfizer Biopharmaceutical Group & Chair of the Regional Diversity & Inclusion Council for Pfizer Africa and Middle East. Keynote Guest Speakers addressing this session include Dr Graciela Morales, Vice President and Pfizer Vaccines Lead for Emerging Markets, Pfizer; HE Dr Maryam Al Matar, Founder & Chairperson of the UAE Genetic Diseases Association; and Dr Fadi El Jardali, Professor of Health Policy and Systems and the Chairperson of the Health Policy and Management Department (HMPD) at the Faculty of Health Sciences at the American University of Beirut. The session addressed the macro-implications of COVID-19 on the MENA and global economies; shared the journey of Pfizer towards finding a vaccine; and elaborated on the vital role of women leaders in healthcare practice, research and innovation and at the frontline of the fight against the pandemic.

The webinar was attended by over 250 participants from 31 countries, and the session presentations and discussion that followed were inspiring and most informative. Speakers focused on the roles of the private sector, governments and academia in COVID response and future preparedness, calling for greater cohesion between the three and a bridging of the gap between academia, clinical practice and industry in order to advance innovation around COVID and future public health challenges. Additionally, with women at the forefront of the pandemic, they need to be in the middle of emergency response and future preparedness plans. Recovery plans need to include the gender lens and the world health system as a whole must rethink its approach to setting down region-wide strategies in parts of the world such as the MENA where there is no 'one size fits all' solution that works for the whole region given the vast social and economic differences between each of the MENA States.

Details for webinars to be held in August, September and the remainder of 2020 will be announced on the AIWF website in the coming weeks. 

AIWF partners, members and friends who wish to register their interest in attending an AIWF webinar session should kindly contact the AIWF Office at