Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Seven First Ladies from Africa join hundreds of participants and speakers to examine challenges facing women in Africa

Dialogue for Action

Seven First Ladies from Africa join hundreds of participants and speakers to examine challenges facing women in the continent

The inaugural Dialogue for Action Africa (DFAA) opened this morning in Libreville, Gabon, hosted by the Cecilia Attias Foundation for Women, with the special participation of Mrs. Sylvia Bongo Ondimba, the First Lady of Gabon.

The one-day forum is dedicated to helping women in Africa lead safe, productive, and healthy lives, the forum seeks to creatively address the salient issues faced by African women. The conclusions from the event - and the resulting initiatives - will culminate in a Plan of Action for Africa, to be presented at the G20 Summit in Los Cabos, Mexico this month.

Invited by the first Lady of Gabon, Mrs. Sylvia Bongo Ondimba, six other First Ladies from Africa are participating: Chantal Compaore, Burkina Faso; Dominique Ouattara, Ivory Coast; Penehupifo Pohamba, Namibia; Patience Goodluck Jonathan, Nigeria; Jeannette Kagame, Rwanda; Marieme Faye Sall, Sénégal.

Attias is herself a former First Lady of France and there will be special messages from Cherie Blair, Founder, The Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, and Sarah Brown, President, PiggyBankKids and Global Patron of the White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood - both are wives of former Prime Ministers of the UK.

Mrs Attias and Mrs Ondimba opened the forum with special remarks; joining them through the day are experts and speakers from academia, government, NGOs, the private sector, and the medical community.

Mrs Attias said: "The diversity and expertise of Dialogue for Action Africa's speakers is astounding. Their dedication to women's issues is truly inspiring and their insights will be enable us to promote African women's issues through actionable initiatives."

At the G20, DFAA's conclusions will become part of the global agenda and will be discussed by the world's most influential leaders and policy makers. Creating this bridge between DFAA and government leaders is key to producing change at an institutional level and is an innovative example of public-private partnerships.

Confirmed DFAA speakers and participants include: Cecilia Attias, Founder and President, The Cecilia Attias Foundation for Women; Sylvia Bongo Ondimba, First Lady of Gabon; Etienne Massard Makaga, Special Advisor to the Presidency, Gabon; Denise Epote, TV5 Monde; Hon. Aicha Bah Diallo, FAWE and REPTA Chairperson; Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO; Elizabeth Dearborn Davis, Co-Founder of the Akilah Institute for Women; Holly Gordon, Executive Director 10x10 Educate Girls, Change the World; Sade Baderinwa, Emmy Award-winning Anchor/Reporter WABC - TV; Yomi Abiola, Activist and Journalist; Casey Cobell, EVP & Country Director Indego Africa Rwanda; Fatime Christiane Ndiaye, Sr. Gender Specialist ILO; Vickie Remoe, Founder and Creative Director How4Do productions; Magatte Wade, Founder and CEO Tiossan; Jeffrey Gettleman, NYTimes East Africa Bureau Chief, Pulitzer Prize winner; Edna Adan Ismail, Founder Edna Adan Hospital; Dr. Amy Lehman, Founder Lake Tanganyika Floating Health Clinic; Dr. Deqo Mohamed, Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Hawa Abdi Foundation; Nahid Toubia, Chair, White Ribbon Alliance Sudan; Coumba Toure, Founder and President of ADA foundation; Richard Attias, Founder, New York Forum Africa; Aminata Toure Camara, President and Founder, SILIFE (Solidarité Internationale pour le Leadership des Femmes et des Enfants);Esther Ibanga, Pastor Women on the Plateau Peace Initiative; and Zainab Salbi, Author, Humanitarian, Media Commentator.

With special messages from: Michelle Bachelet, Executive Director of UN Women, Former President of Chile; Cherie Blair, Founder, The Cherie Blair Foundation for Women; Ruma Bose, Serial Entrepreneur, Business Executive, Philanthropist and Author; Sarah Brown, President, PiggyBankKids, Global Patron of the White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood; Letty Chiwara, Chief of Africa Division, UNIFEM; Angela Dean, Director, Global Business Development at Partner Africa; Amina Doherty, Co-Founder and Coordinator of FRIDA, The Young Feminist Fund; Chouchou Namegabe Dubuisson, Co-Founder and Director, South Kivu Women's Media Association; Zeinab Eyega, Executive Director, Sauti Yetu; Francoise Girard, President, International Women's Health Coalition; Arianna Huffington, President and Editor-in-Chief, The Huffington Post Media Group; Jill Iscol, President, IF Hummingbird Foundation; Minna Salami, Founder, MsAfropolitan blog and Boutique; Ben Stone, CEO, Indego Africa; and Ambassador Melanne Verveer, Ambassador-at-Large, Global Women's Issues.

Dialogue for Action Africa will be held in conjunction with the New York Forum Africa, an annual action-oriented assembly of the world's leading business, economic, and regulatory officials. By collaborating with New York Forum Africa, DFAA is seeking to build crosscutting partnerships between the worlds of business and NGOs. New York Forum Africa founder Richard Attias comments: "Non-profits and private enterprises have much to share with one another. They can collaborate on a host of topics, from tackling issues related to efficiency and financing to engaging in discussions of mission and ethics. Collaboration between Dialogue for Action Africa and the New York Forum Africa is a step in this direction."

For more information please visit the Dialogue for Action Africa website at:
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