7-8 April 2005 at the European Parliament, Brussels

The Arab International Women’s Forum launches a new initiative, the first of its kind, at the European Parliament in Brussels to assess and evaluate the challenges still facing women in the Arab world who are still excluded from the economic mainstream as well as explore opportunities for increasing participation in the labour force. In two-linked conferences – the first in Brussels in April and the second in Cairo at the League of Arab States in June – the Arab International Women’s Forum will gather high-level policy makers and business leaders, representatives from leading international institutions, academics, media and members of civil society from the Arab world and Europe to discuss the status of women and economic development. To date, more than 200 distinguished delegates have confirmed their participation, representing 44 countries – including 17 Arab countries, 20 countries from Europe, the USA, Canada, Brazil and Africa.
The Arab International Women’s Forum will host this initiative as part of the 2005 AIWF programme, Women as Engines of Economic Growth in the Arab World. The first conference, Ten Years After the Barcelona Process: Empowering Women as a Catalyst for Economic Development, will be held 7-8 April 2005 at the European Parliament in Brussels with the valued co-operation of the European Parliament, the European Commission, the League of Arab States, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, UK, and the World Bank marking the anniversary of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership.
The Arab International Women’s Forum is working closely with a number of valued partners. The programme is supported in Brussels by the Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe at the European Parliament in collaboration with Instituto de Empresa Business School, Madrid, as the academic partner and with the full cooperation and advice of No Peace Without Justice, an international NGO. The AIWF 2005 Programme is also supported by corporate partners Shell and IBM.
Empowering Women as a Catalyst for Economic Development will focus on women’s role in business, in professions, corporate life and in creating small and medium sized businesses in order to foster economic growth and development.
“This Arab-European conference will play a significant role in advancing the agenda of women and their role in economic development of the Arab world,” says Mrs Haifa Al Kaylani, Chairman of AIWF. “We will be bringing forward a strong series of actionable and practical recommendations for policy-makers to consider in their discussions at the Euro-Med conference in November. It is also a great opportunity to widen crucial business and professional networks across the region and into Europe and to share success stories with distinguished guests.”
The Arab International Women’s Forum is pleased to confirm Mr Josep Borrell Fontelles, President of the European Parliament; Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner, Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy, European Commission; and Mrs Emma Bonino, MEP (Italy), Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe as Honoured Guest Speakers.
The Arab International Women’s Forum is a non-profit organisation established in 2001 based in London. It brings growing numbers of influential business and professional women in the 22 Arab countries together with leading women in the United Kingdom, Europe and internationally. Through AIWF members have the opportunity to widen key contacts, foster cooperation, enhance their business, marketing and investment skills and increase their knowledge.
As AIWF goes from strength to strength, it consistently delivers crucial messages that Arab women are playing an important role in business and public life. AIWF is the voice of Arab women showcasing their development, breaking stereotypical images and creating greater public awareness of their success and prospects within an international context.
The AIWF programme, with the valued co-operation of the League of Arab States and the continued support of the European Parliament and European Commission, also ushers the second conference, Women and Integrated Rural Development, to be held 12-13 June 2005 at the Headquarters of the League of Arab States, in Cairo.
The Arab International Women’s Forum will be following up both conferences with a third event in London at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, 29 September, at the time of the UK Presidency of the European Union. In London, AIWF will be present the Conference Reports and priority recommendations put forward by the Brussels and Cairo conferences.
“The Arab International Women’s Forum continues to lead with sound and timely initiatives that increase the understanding of gender issues, explore the common challenges faced by women in Europe and the Arab world and give Arab women a stronger voice,” concludes AIWF Chairman, Mrs Haifa Al Kaylani. “As we move ahead towards gender equality, equal opportunities and tapping into the largely, unexplored economic potential of women, we are also providing important networking opportunities for our members and associates to connect and connect Arab women with leaders in international institutions who shape public policy.”