Representatives from both the public and private sector came together at the first U.S.-based conference of the Arab International Women’s Forum (AIWF), hosted by the World Bank Middle East North Africa in Washington, DC on 22 – 24 June 2008, at the invitation and under the Patronage of Mr Robert Zoellick, President of the World Bank. The conference, titled ‘Partners for Change: Realizing the Potential of Arab Women in the Private and Public Sector,’ drew 180 participants from over 20 countries including government representatives, international business leaders, academics and esteemed AIWF members and Global Partners from the United States, Canada, Europe, and the Middle East. It gathered Arab and international policymakers in an attempt to stimulate dialogue aimed at removing roadblocks to women’s gainful participation in Arab politics, economies and society. Distinguished international Guest Speakers successfully examined opportunities for the entrepreneurial, political, and economic engagement of Arab women in the Middle East, the United States and beyond. The conference also studied the role of women in public life; the challenges to their involvement in politics and the steps that Arab governments are taking to encourage their participation in the political sphere. In a session entitled ‘Empowering Women through Education’ the importance of education was stressed as the most effective means to overcoming socio-economic challenges and barriers and essential dialogue examined the roles of Arab women in the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. The Conference was supported by PepsiCo, PricewaterhouseCoopers, DLA Piper, and Shell.
‘Partners for Change: Realizing the Potential of Arab Women in the Private and Public Sectors’ Conference at The World Bank in Washington DC 24 June 2008