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Women Leaders as Agents of Change: The Role of Women in the Changes Taking Place in the MENA Region

IWSAW organized its second international conference this year by focusing on “Women Leaders as Agents of Change: The Role of Women in the Changes Taking Place in the MENA Region”. The international conference was organized in collaboration with the Middle East Partnership Initiative, Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs of the US Department of State (MEPI) and took place from July 27 -30, 2015.

The conference falls within the goals of MEPI Tomorrow’s Leaders Project that aims to transform young people into well-rounded individuals, endowed with knowledge and skills that will enable them to exact change in their home countries.

In addition to the MEPI students coming from 14 Arab countries, the conference hosted scholars, researchers, activists, and policy makers, from various Arab countries (Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Syria, Tunisia, and Libya), the US, and Europe working on current issues related to gender rights in the MENA region.

The conference served as an educational tool where it provided a forum for exchange of ideas. Participants had the chance to interact with gender activists and scholars working on gender issues, and learned more about the status of women in the MENA region. They also became more aware of the challenges faced by women in light of the changes that are taking place as a result of the political upheavals that have swept the region. Moreover, participants became more aware that gender equality is of paramount importance when talking about sustainable development given that no society can develop when men and women do not have equal opportunities, resources, and choices to shape their own lives and contribute to their communities.

At the end of the conference, all the participants engaged in a lively discussion with academics and scholars to come-up with practical initiatives that will allow them to incorporate gender equality and women’s empowerment into the future activities they undertake.

The event brought together representatives of NGOs, governmental institutions, international organizations, and gender experts and researchers, students, as well as media personnel.

More details about the conference are found in this LAU News article.



From left: IWSAW Director, Dr. Samira Aghacy, LAU Provost Dr. George K. Najjar, LAU President Dr. Joseph G. Jabbra, and the Director of the Enterprise Office, Dr. Walid Touma during the opening ceremony


Scholars, researchers, activists, and policy makers from various Arab countries, the US and Europe attending the conference


 MEPI Tomorrow’s Leaders Students  at the conference


Group photo of all the conference participants