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Global Leaders Conference © Zayed University

Students at the Women as Global Leaders Conference in Abu Dhabi, March 06.

Speaker/Global Leaders © Zayed University

Girls without Borders ©SWI

Kicking Team Rwanda © WwB

One of our "Kicking for Reconciliation!" teams in Kigali.

Edit Emertha Felicite © Maria Bobenrith/Nike

Edit Schlaffer with Emertha Uwanyirigira and Felicite Rwema at the women´s race in Casablanca.

women´s race casablanca © Heather Cameron

Kate Brubacher ©Kate Brubacher

Kate Brubacher

01. Juni 2006Dear Women without Borders!

Women are really taking centre stage at the moment.  In March this year, the Zayed University in the United Arab Emirates called for the Women as Global Leaders , with the accurate title of 'Communities in Transition'. Indeed, the commitment of women in shaping their communities was evidenced by the fact that 1200 delegates from 87 countries travelled all the way to Abu Dhabi to join the conference.

The key note speakers focused on global understanding which is the centre of the vision for an alternative female politics and diplomacy.

Queen Rania of Jordan said, "The greatest leaders are not the ones with spines of steel, they are the ones who know how to adapt to change and bounce back from frustration or failure, because life inevitably brings surprises that knock us off our feet."
How nice to hear this from a much-admired role model.

Sheikha Lubna, the first female Minister for UAE Minister of Economy and professional high-flyer in her own right agreed, "I have seen the UAE develop beyond a petroleum-based economy, and transition from a regionally-focused nation to the true global player that it is today," said. "But what has been truly engaging for me is to see how Arab women have played a role in that transition."

Women without Borders was invited to promote our new daughter: 'Girls without Borders', a cutting-edge platform linking young female leaders around the globe. The Arab students present were delighted with the news for it is indeed an exciting time for them. Today,  up to 60% of graduates from Middle East Universities are women and women are gaining strategic positions in politics, business and media.
Now, it is time for young women to explore career possibilities and for employers to wake up to the new female talent pool!

Last Thursday, WwB had the honor to have a meeting with the Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Sheikh Nazan bin Muvarak Al Nahyan where he recognized the achievements of the Emirati women and their ability to reach leadership positions in various fields in the country.

Women in Kuwait are making history: five candidates will run for office this June, ending a 44-year ban against women's political representation. Rula Dashti said it´s a dream come true and the beginning of Kuwaiti women´s participation in public life.
Let´s keep our fingers crossed.

In Rwanda, girls participating in our "Fit for Leadership!" After-school Club Program have been writing the first letters to the Girls without Borders website. Our programme manager, Georgina Nitzsche, has been visiting the girls boarding school where 160 girls are currently participating. “They are so eager and open to link up with other girls to learn from and support each other and really want to use this web platform, Georgina enthusiastically relates.

Women without Borders brought Emertha Uwanyirigira from Rwanda, one of the trainers in our "Kicking for Reconciliation!" Project, to the NIKE conference on Gender and Sport held in Casablanca, Marocco, last week.
Magic was made, when Emertha met Felicite Rwema, a pioneer and respected figure in Rwanda. Right then and there, they have linked up and decided to start Women without Borders -  Rwanda!
Their first project will be a radio program for street kids in order to sensitise the community and give the children their voice. “When I see children with nothing I just can't stand back, I have to do something”, Emertha told us and now are delighted that we can unite and help her achieve one of her dreams.

The streets of Casablanca, normally bursting with men in the market and coffee houses were filled this time with 22,000 women and girls participating in the Course Feminine - a 10 kilometre run led by the Olympic National hero Nawal El Moutawakel. The Moroccans are so proud of her and the event brought out the best support and dynamic spirit from the women and men. “I always felt ugly and fat “ said one runner “and now, motivated by Nawal I go and train and feel much better”.

It was an incredible feeling to run though the streets of Casablanca alongside women of different races and cultures garbed in all colours, with veils blowing in the wind, Lycra suits flashing, and caps and headdresses of all sorts. Women came in pairs, mothers and daughters and students and professors - with men cheering all the way. Even the blazing desert sun and blistering heat could not  prevent a women of 75 to reach the finishing line.

Nawal said “I was always afraid of the tall and competent German runners, but my father said 'the best presents come in small packages – like diamonds and sapphires – small things can be strong and beautiful '”.

That is true Nawal, but the next thing is to think BIG!

All the best,
Edit Schlaffer and the Women without Borders Team

We cordially welcome our new intern Kate Brubacher!
Kate joins us for summer 2006 from Yale University where she studies Ethics and Law. She holds a BA in Philosophy & Religious Studies and an MA in History, both from Stanford University. Kate founded the Liberian Widows Initiative, a small business loan program for Liberian refugees living outside Accra, Ghana. She plans to attend law school and work in human rights policy. Klick here to read an article about Kate´s work with Liberian refugees.


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