04 December 2007

FCEM Congress in Cairo, part two

The echoes of Cairo are still ringing in my thoughts. The optimism and realism, the vision and the determination of women from all corners of the globe. Each brought their own story to the table, but we all had much in common. Most resonant was the desire to make a difference and the need for women to participate in change. The theme clear:

* Dr. Ali Mosielly, Egypt's Ministry of Social Affairs "sustainable development needs women's participation in business."

* The Arab Council of Business Women, "issues and affairs of women are no longer a way to show off organizations. Participation of women is necessary. Entrepreneurial associations are the first step to unify efforts to empower women."

* Sabine Meitzel, International Trade Center, Geneva, "without wings/women nothing takes off"

* Leila Mokadem, Private Sector Development of Africa Development Bank, "Women entrepreneur participation is critical to development"

I was blessed with the opportunity to speak with many women who came from such diverse backgrounds from my own. I listened and was inspired by their optimism and grace whether from war torn countries like Afghanistan and Sierra Leone or from western developed countries like Iceland and Germany. The experience of being there was empowering in itself. I wish that more women could participate in gatherings such as these. For we all felt that we had more issues that were the same than different. I am that much more strengthened in my resolve to build this bridge that opens the world to women for sharing and empowering and growing leaders

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