AIWF Chairman Haifa Al Kaylani delivers keynote address at the German-Arab Business Women Leaders Summit in Munich in October 2018

AIWF Chairman Haifa Al Kaylani delivers keynote address at the German-Arab Business Women Leaders Summit in Munich in October 2018 18 October 2018

AIWF Founder & Chairman Haifa Al Kaylani attended the German-Arab Business Women Leaders Summit (GABWL-Summit) in Munich held on 15-17 October 2018, themed When Women Lean In, Economies Win.

Held under the Patronage of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy and organized by CrossCultures Network Founder Dr Gabi Kratochwil in cooperation with Ghorfa Arab‐German Chamber of Commerce and Industry and partners, the German‐Arab Women Business Leaders Summit gathered more than 200 high profile women leaders, professionals, entrepreneurs, representatives from government, academia and media from Germany, Arab countries and the international community.

The Summit welcomed more than 50 leading speakers including Haifa Fahoum Al Kaylani (Founder & Chairman Arab International Women’s Forum, UK), Janina Kugel (Board Member Siemens), Brigitte Zypries (Former Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy), Petra Justenhoven (Board Member PwC), Ouided Bouchamaoui (Nobel Peace Prize Laureate 2015, Tunisia), and Maha Farid Shirah (Sheworks, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia). Distinguished Summit speakers shared with delegates and participants solutions and strategies to promote women’s economic empowerment through leadership, start‐up entrepreneurship, knowledge management, digitalization, STEM‐led businesses, financing and capacity building, so as to find answers to new global challenges of modern management, globally interlinked societies, integrated economies and growing digitization.

HE Abdulaziz AlMikhlafi, Secretary General of the Ghorfa Arab‐German Chamber of Commerce and Industry, cooperation partner of the GAWBL Summit, stated: “Exchanging ideas, experiences and perspectives of leading business women from the Arab world and Germany will further boost economic relations between the two regions. In order to identify opportunities for business partnerships and innovative collaboration between women in the Arab countries and in Germany we support this important event.”

In her welcome remarks, Dr Gabi Kratochwil, as Chairwoman of the GAWBL‐Summit, stated: “Empowering and connecting women in our regions is a strategic part to further strengthen German-Arab business relations. We strongly believe that women are key drivers for innovation and change, and that now is the time to connect, innovate, and create. Opportunities for cooperation between Arab and German women are high and unlocking this enormous potential is an economic imperative.”

AIWF Founder & Chairman Haifa Al Kaylani delivered an exceptionally well received keynote address during the first session on 16 October 2018, titled Women as Drivers for Economic Change. She conveyed her warmest appreciation to AIWF’s longstanding friend and supporter Dr Gabi Kratochwil for her kind invitation to address the conference, and recalled that AIWF’s valued links with the German-Arab Women Business Leaders Summit and Dr Kratochwil in fact originate from AIWF’s longstanding partnership with Ghorfa. AIWF hosted its first ever conference in Germany in October 2013 in the heart of Berlin and the business community, in full partnership with Ghorfa, on Women in the Arab World, Germany & the International Community. The conference was a landmark initiative for both AIWF and Ghorfa, fostering an environment for successful women business leaders from Europe and the Arab world to enhance business growth and create new links for innovation and intercultural collaboration, objectives that lie at the very heart of the AIWF mission. Through AIWF’s partnership with Ghorfa, lines of greater communication, collaboration and interaction were opened for Arab, German and European women leaders.

“Five years on”, the Chairman said, “I am proud to be back in Munich to follow up on AIWF’s commitment to supporting valuable business and innovation links between Germany and the Arab world, to contribute my reflections on the progress that Arab women have made in the last two decades, to elaborate on key barriers that are holding women in the region back, and to offer my thoughts on promoting gender parity in the Arab world to empower and support women as drivers of economic change and growth.”

Throughout the MENA region, women are increasingly taking on high-level leadership positions in business, public service, the judiciary and the legislature, advancing rapidly in professions previously dominated by men, including finance, aviation, law, business, research and STEM careers, and challenging gender bias in nearly every sector and sphere. Mrs Al Kaylani’s keynote address highlighted the progress made by Arab women who are leading and succeeding in business and featuring prominently on corporate boards, inspiring the next generation of young Arab women business leaders, and are increasingly being elected and appointed to political, diplomatic and international development roles, giving women a greater voice in legislative reform. Although gains in business and political life for women are a direct result of the Arab world’s investment in education over the last two decades, she noted, these gains are not translating into greater inclusion in the world of work and legislative and cultural barriers to women’s employment and entrepreneurship are still restricting women’s full participation in the MENA economy.

The Munich Summit was an excellent opportunity for AIWF to connect with female change makers in Germany, Europe, and the Arab world to exchange ideas leading companies and businesswomen in a rapidly changing business and political environment. AIWF greatly looks forward to the 2019 GABWL Summit in Germany and extends its full support and appreciation on this high-impact, community-driven conference series to AIWF’s longstanding partners at Ghorfa and to Dr Gabi Kratochwil.