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Home > Editorials > Janet C. Salazar: International Women’s Day 2012

Janet C. Salazar: International Women’s Day 2012

(PHOTO) - Janet C. Salazar chatting during break with Sheryl WuDunn (R), Co-author, "Half the Sky"

(NEW YORK - March 19, 2012) - March 8 is International Women’s Day! And what better way to celebrate than participating and joining other women from across the globe at a very powerful women’s forum at the UN, “The Role of Business in Empowering Women”. This year marks the third occasion that the U.S. Chamber’s Business Civic Leadership Center and the United Nations Office for Partnerships have convened great minds to focus on global development’s opportunities, challenges, and collaborations. Indeed, on no other day is the specific subject of women and global development more important and timely.

As always, I was very delighted to see and have a brief chat with Roland Rich, Executive Director, UN Office for Partnerships, who graciously welcomed everyone, together with co-host Al Martinez-Fonts, Jr, Executive Vice President, U.S. Forum for Policy Innovation of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. On a side note, I am now fully convinced that Roland is everybody’s favorite when it comes to welcoming delegates to very important business events at the UN. I’m a fan, as you can see from my previous posts. Roland shared with us all the many programs and initiatives UNOP and UNDEF are doing across the globe in developing nations, which were all very impressive and inspiring. You can check out the details here ”The United Nations is completely in sync with women issues”, was his concluding remarks, which I find very true considering that the head of the body, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, is a top advocate for women’s rights and instrumental in the creation of UN Women.

Speaking of UN Women, Lakshmi Puri, Assistant Secretary General and Deputy Executive Director at UN Women, gave a very powerful Keynote. She stressed that UN Women wants to have a very strong partnership with the private sector in the local, national and global levels of collaboration.

When I first got the invitation to attend this great forum, I was very thrilled to find out that Jane Wurwand is going to be a speaker! Jane is the Founder and CEO of Dermalogica, and my first introduction to her was at the same event last year. Her story of the American Dream, the thousands of women she has employed in her company across the globe, her being instrumental in the creation of whose initiative called Kiva has transformed millions of lives around the world and has enabled thousands to open their hearts (and wallets!) to “lending” as low as $25 to entrepreneurs from poor and developing nations – they all made an impact to me personally and she has become one of my inspiration and part of what I call my own “currently absentee mentors club” , if you know what I mean. I love her positive energy and passion! I was fortunate to have a little chat with her during the break, telling her how she managed to somehow “escape” from me last year after her speech, but now I’m finally introducing myself to her! She laughed as we exchanged cards and posed for a picture. Thank you so much, Jane!

The panel discussions highlighted dialogues about the work of businesses, NGOs, social entrepreneurs, and multilateral agencies to empower women around the world through financial inclusion, transparent and inclusive supply chains, and economic opportunities. Almost everyone of the speakers came with their own very compelling stories around the theme, which I found to be always effective in engaging participants.

Sheryl WuDunn, co-author of the best selling book “Half the Sky” with Nicholas Kristoff was such a phenomenal story-teller! I was very moved and inspired by Lauren Bush Lauren, Co-Founder of FEED Projects as she told us her story of how and why she committed herself to FEEDing the hungry children of the world. The diverse and accomplished group of speakers definitely made the forum very, very powerful!

We were all treated to a fabulous sit-down lunch, where I met a new friend, Donna Lynn Morris Khan, Publisher of Luxury Dossier When she told me about her and her husband’s involvement with polo, I was hooked and we literally almost chatted lunch away talking about horses, polo, and more horses! Donna’s passion is using her publishing platform to help advance the UN Millennium Development Goals and women’s empowerment. It was also great to be reunited with Rebecca Freyvogel of BCLC whom I met last year at the same event, and who made sure that everyone was ushered properly to the event venue and everything was in order at the registration.

Thank you so much to the organizers, especially to Lucie Brigham, Chief of Office, UN Fund for International Partnerships (UNFIP) for inviting me and my organization (also represented with me by our newest UN Representative, Fiona Dawson) to the forum. Congratulations on another successful International Women’s Day celebration!

Tags: international women's day, janet c. salazar, united nations

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