Women Leading Change in Transitioning Societies

The U.S. Institute of Peace, in collaboration with Vital Voices Global Partnership and the Royal Norwegian Embassy, explored the kinds of leadership that are most effective in societies undergoing upheaval and/or transition. Women leaders from Liberia, Pakistan, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Samoa and Mexico offered compelling accounts of their innovative leadership approaches in two sessions at USIP on June 5. These women, who have just been recognized as the 2012 honorees of the annual Vital Voices Global Leadership Awards, are leading change in their transitioning societies through civil society, political activities, and private business.

What kind of leadership is most effective in societies undergoing upheaval and/or transition?  To address this pivotal question, women leaders from Liberia, Pakistan, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Samoa and Mexico offered compelling accounts of their innovative leadership approaches in a two-part panel event. These women, who have just been recognized as the 2012 honorees of the annual Vital Voices Global Leadership Awards, are leading change in their transitioning societies through civil society, political activities, and private business. Such innovative approaches of leadership and decision making are critically important to a process of non-violent change around the world today.

The panel event also reflects the commitment of the Center for Gender and Peacebuilding at the U.S. Institute of Peace to build the capacity of women leaders in conflict and post-conflict settings. Such strategic goals can be creatively accomplished through the collaboration of civil society organizations and governments. Our co-sponsoring partners, Vital Voices Global Partnership and the Royal Norwegian Embassy, exemplify this spirit of Women Leading Change.

Welcome

  • Linda Jamison, Acting Executive Vice President, U.S. Institute of Peace
  • Alyse Nelson, President & CEO, Vital Voices Global Partnership
  • Petter Henie, Minister Counselor, Economic Affairs, Royal Norwegian Embassy

Panel I: Women Leading Economic, Political and Social Transitions

  • Rosana Schaack | Liberia: Human rights activist rehabilitating girl soldiers
  • Samar Minallah Khan | Pakistan: Documentarian using art to advocate for women’s and girls’ rights
  • Adimaimalaga Tafuna’i | Samoa: NGO leader creating market linkages for rural populations
  • Kathleen Kuehnast | Moderator: Director, Center for Gender and Peacebuilding, U.S. Institute of Peace

Panel II:  Women Leading Change in the Emerging Arab World

  • Marianne Ibrahim | Egypt: Civil society activist leading interfaith dialogue among youth
  • Salwa Bugaighis | Libya: Advocate mobilizing women candidates after resigning from National Transitional Council
  • Amira Yahyaoui | Tunisia: Blogger challenging censorship and promoting transparency through the first national NGO designed to monitor parliament
  • Shatha Al-Harazi | Yemen: Journalist and social media influencer reporting on human rights
  • Kathleen Kuehnast | Moderator: Director, Center for Gender and Peacebuilding, U.S. Institute of Peace

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