Council of Women Worlds Leaders Newsletter
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Dear Council Supporter,

We are delighted to provide this Council of Women World Leaders newsletter. In this and future editions, we will share Council member news and Council events, as well as communicating messages from the Chair and other council members. The Council of Women World Leaders currently has 64 members. The list of members is included at the end of this newsletter.

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Thank you for your continuing support of women's leadership.
A Message from the Chair:

Her Excellency Dalia Grybauskaitė

President of the Republic of Lithuania


Through the symbolic importance of women leaders, the Council of Women World Leaders is dedicated to promoting good governance and gender equality all around the world. The Council currently hosts twelve of the sixteen current women world leaders, and it is glad to report that three of its members have been featured in Fortune's article "The World's 50 Greatest Leaders." As we move forward, the Council of Women World Leaders would like to reaffirm its commitment to support women's full participation and representation in the political process at the highest levels, and its commitment to future women leaders.

For more information about the Chair's role at the Council of Women World Leaders,
please visit: 
Council of Women World Leaders

Highlighting our members:

Vigdís Finnbogadóttir

With her election as President of Iceland in 1980, Vigdis Finnbogadottir became the first female head of state in the world. She was subsequently reelected three times and retired in 1996. Finnbogadottir took an active role in promoting the country, acting as a cultural ambassador, and in her role, she enjoyed immense popularity. After her presidency, she became founding chair of the Council of Women World Leaders. In 1998, she was appointed President of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization World Commission on the Ethics of Scientific Knowledge and Technology. The legacy of President Finnbogadottir is still present in Iceland today. Currently, she is a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, a member of the Club of Madrid, a member of the Foundation Chirac, and since October 1st, 2001, the name bearer of the Vigdís Finnbogadóttir Institute of Foreign Languages at the University of Iceland. On March 8th, 2017, on International Women’s Day, 60 years after a fifth of Iceland’s population took to the streets of Reykjavik to protest and 90 per cent of women refused to work on this date, the government of Iceland announced that companies with 25 employees or more must gain a certificate demonstrating equal pay.
The Council of Women World Leaders is pleased to announce that Her Excellencies Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, Simonetta Sommaruga, Erna Solberg, and Kersti Kaljulaid, have accepted their invitations to join the Council. 
The Council continues to extend its reach and engage new female heads of state and government in advocating and supporting positive development for women around the world. 
Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca is the current President of Malta. She has served as a member of the National Executive, the Assistant General Secretary, and as the General Secretary of the Labor Party. Coleiro Preca is also the first woman to have served in a senior position in the Maltese political party. Since taking office, she has established numerous entities to ensure dialogue and to foster effective unity among people.
Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović is the current and first female President of Croatia. Grabar Kitarović was also the first female Minister of European Affairs and Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration. Before her election from 2008 to 2014, she was the Croatian ambassador to the United States and Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy at NATO. In 2016, Forbes magazine listed Grabar-Kitarović the world's 46th most powerful woman. 
Ameenah Gurib-Fakim is the current and first female elected President of Mauritius. Prior to serving as President, she worked as Managing Director of CIDP Research & Innovation, where she researched the medical and nutritive implications of indigenous plants of Mauritius as the leading scientist. In 2015, Gurib-Fakim was honored as one of Foreign Policy's Global Thinkers.  
Simonetta Sommaruga is a current member of the Swiss Federal Council, the federal government of Switzerland, and head of the Federal Department of Justice and Police. In 2014, she served as Vice President of the Swiss Confederation and succeeded to President the following year. Sommaruga has been involved in politics since 1981 and continues to further the rights of minorities, including women. 

Erna Solberg is the current Prime Minister of Norway and Leader of the Conservative Party. Solberg has been a member of the Storting since 1989 and served as Minister of Local Government and Regional Development from 2001 to 2005. Solberg additionally served as the leader of Norway's Conservative Women's Association. 

Kersti Kaljulaid is the fifth and current President of Estonia. She is the first female head of state of Estonia and the country’s youngest President. Kaljulaid served as Estonia's representative in the European Court of Auditors from 2004 until 2016. Since 2011, she has been the chairperson of the board of the University of Tartu.
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf delivers final
State of the Nation Address and focuses on education

On January 23rd, 2017, the President of Liberia delivered her final State of the Nation Address to a Joint Session of the 53rd National Legislature at the Capitol Building. In this address, President
Johnson Sirleaf
called for a collective spirit among the three branches of government to ensure that the government is achieving its full potential. Furthermore, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf spoke extensively on the improvements the program, Partnership Schools in Liberia (PSL), has brought to this country. The Partnership School of Liberia, which came into effect last year as a pilot project, is a public-private partnership between the Liberian government and several private operators. President Ellen Johnson has described the prospects of this partnership as promising.

Read President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s address here: 

Annual Message to the Sixth Session of the 53rd National Legislature of the Republic of Liberia

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf's website:
The Executive Mansion

Former Prime Minister of Canada, The Rt. Hon. Kim Campbell,
writes on the importance of journalism

On February 14th, 2017, The Globe and Mail published an opinion piece written by the former Prime Minister of Canada and former chair of the Council of Women World Leaders, the Rt. Hon. Kim Campbell. In this article, the former Prime Minister speaks on the importance of journalism and scholarship as a method of defending truth in the era of “fake news.” In regards to the importance of scholarship, the Prime Minister comments on the process that scholars undergo to achieve unbiased results. Moreover, Prime Minister Campbell also speaks on the role of journalism as the conduit of academic research to the public, which as she states “creates an accessible bridge between the deep research of scholars and issues and interests of the public.”

Read the opinion piece here:

How journalism will protect our democracy in the era of fake news

Prime Minister Kim Campbell's website: Kim Campbell

Former President of Sri Lanka, Chandrika Kumaratunga, speaks on the sexual exploitation of the Sri Lankan war widows
On February 16th, 2017 former President of Sri Lanka, Chandrika Kumaratunga, stated that women who were widowed during the 37-year conflict in Sri Lanka were among the victims of abuse by officials who frequently demand sexual favors just to carry out routine paperwork. The former president stated that women have been traumatized as a result of the sexual abuse and require psychological support, however, the authorities lack qualified experts. According to the former president, the best way to help women be less vulnerable is to improve their livelihoods.

Read the article here:

Sri Lankan war widows face sexual exploitation: Chandrika Kumaratunga

President Chandrika Kumaratunga's website:
President Chandrika Kumaratunga

50/50 Day: A Conversation about Creating a More Gender Equitable World
On May 10th, Secretary General, Laura Liswood, participated in the 50/50 Day, a global day of thousands of events around the world that use film, discussion materials, and their global Q&A to have a worldwide conversation about how to get to a more gender equitable world. The centerpiece of the 50/50 Day was the Tiffany Schlain 20 minute film, 50/50: Rethinking the Past, Present, and Future of Women + Power, inspired by Laura Liswood’s work and her co-founding of the Council of Women World Leaders.

To watch the film, click here:

50/50: Rethinking the Past, Present, and Future of Women + Power

To learn more about 50/50 Day click here: 50/50 Day!


Council Event on Violence against Women during UNGA 2016
During the 2016 United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), the Council of Women World Leaders sponsored a high-level discussion on the Economic Cost of Violence against Women. The event was co-hosted by Council members Dalia Grybauskaitė, President of the Republic of Lithuania, and Michelle Bachelet Jeria, President of the Republic of Chile. In addition, Council members Tarja Halonen, Former President of Finland, Marie Louise Coleiro Preca, President of the Republic of Malta, Paula Cox, Former Premier of Bermuda, and Roza Otunbayeva, Former President of Kyrgyzstan participated in the discussion. The meeting addressed the economic impact of violence against women and convened gender experts, women leaders, and executives of prominent organizations to share good practices on how measures aimed at combating violence against women could result in the reduction of public expenditures and allow their use for sustainable development.

61st Session of the Commission on the Status of Women
The sixty-first session of the Commission on the Status of Women took place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from 13 to 24 March 2017. Representatives of Member States, UN entities, and Council members from all regions of the world attended the session. In its final conclusion, the session emphasized the importance of women’s economic empowerment as it not only ensures a fairer world for both women and men, but it also contributes to economic growth and prosperity.

Watch His Excellency Mr. Antonio de Aguilar Patriota, Chair of the 61st Session of the Commission on the Status of Women video message here:

A message from H.E. Mr. Antonio de Aguiar Patriota (Brazil)

2017 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland
The Council of Women World Leaders and the Women in Parliaments Global Forum hosted a Women Political Leaders Breakfast during the 2017 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. One of CWWL's newest members, Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, President of Mauritius, participated in the event. An off the record session, many of the leaders at the breakfast shared their experience of often being the first woman in the high offices they held. The Council's Secretary General, Laura Liswood, has attended the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos for eighteen years as a delegate.

Women Fast Forward - Asia-Pacific Consultation on Women's Economic Empowerment for W20 input into G20 on June 29-30, 2017 in Honolulu, Hawaii
The Secretary General of the Council of Women World Leaders, Laura Liswood, will participate in this event hosted by the East-West Center which will provide a forum to collect the most urgent and relevant policy recommendations for women's economic empowerment in the Asia-Pacific and create a pathway to elevate these to the global level through contributing to the W20 input into the G20 leaders meeting.

Women’s Leadership Forum on July 25-29, 2017 in Lake Como, Italy
The Council of Women World Leaders has joined as a co-convener along with The Skoll Foundation, The Carter Center, and Apolitico for the Women's Leadership Forum at the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center in Lake Como, Italy. This summit will highlight new ideas, practical solutions and the stories of the heroic work that happens every day to make our societies prosper. By highlighting what works — and by helping inspired and innovative women leaders to connect, learn and collaborate across silos to confront global challenges, the forum can surface new solutions to some of the most pressing challenges. Council members, President Afitete Jahjaga, former President of Kosovo, and Dr. Joyce Banda will participate in this prestigious event.

Women Political Leaders Annual Global Summit on November 28-30, 2017, in Reykjavik, Iceland
The CWWL chair, Dalia Grybauskaitė, will convene a private luncheon meeting during the Women Political Leaders Global Summit in Reykjavik, Iceland to report on CWWL activities and discuss future CWWL initiatives. Iceland is the global champion of gender equality and the 2017 Summit will provide a unique opportunity to showcase the Icelandic way to gender equality, as well as provide a forum for discussions that would impact legislation and political agenda-setting. President Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, the co-founder of the Council of Women World Leaders and the world’s first democratically elected woman President, will be honored by the CWWL and the WPL at the Global Summit.

Read the article here:

Iceland Plans to Become World's First Country to
Require Equal Pay for Women
Council of Women World Leaders Members 2017
Dalia Grybauskaite, Chair
Tarja Halonen, Chair Emerita
Vigdis Finnbogadottir, Founding Chair
Kim Campbell, Chair Emerita
Mary Robinson, Chair Emerita
Margot Wallstrom, Chair Ministerial Initiative
Madeleine Albright Founding Chair Ministerial Initiative
Laura Liswood Founder & Secretary General
Kathy Calvin President & CEO, UN Foundation
Michelle Bachelet, Chile
Pamela Gordon Banks, Bermuda
Kamla Persad-Bissessar, Trinidad & Tobago
Gro Harlem Brundtland, Norway
Micheline Calmy Rey, Switzerland
Violeta B. de Chamorro, Nicaragua
Tansu Ciller, Turkey
Helen Clark, New Zealand
Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca. Malta
Edith Cresson, France
Luisa Diaz Diogo, Mozambique
Ruth Dreifuss, Switzerland
Emily Saidy de Jongh-Elhage, Netherlands Antilles
Julia Gillard, Australia
Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, Mauritius
Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh
Atifete Jahjaga, Kosovo

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Liberia
Kersti Kaljulaid, Estonia

Christina Fernandez de Kirchner, Argentina

Mari Kiviniemi, Finland
Jadranka Kosor, Croatia
Chandrika Kumaratunga, Sri Lanka
Doris Leuthard, Switzerland
Michele Pierre Louis, Haiti
Maria Liberia Peters, Netherlands Antilles

Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, The Philippines
Mary McAleese, Ireland
Beatriz Merino, Peru
Angela Merkel, Germany
Portia Simpson Miller, Jamaica
Laura Chinchilla Miranda, Costa Rica
Mireya Moscoso, Panama
Maria Das Neves, São Tomé and Príncipe
Roza Otunbayeva, Kyrgyzstan
Park Geun-hye, South Korea
Kazimiera Prunskiene, Lithuania
Suzanne Camelia Romer, Netherlands Antilles
Iveta Radicova, Slovakia
Dilma Rousseff, Brazil
Jenny Shipley, New Zealand
Johanna Sigurdardottir, Iceland
Jennifer Smith, Bermuda
Hanna Suchocka, Poland
Megawati Sukarnoputri, Indonesia
Helle Thorning-Schmidt, Denmark
Yulia Tymoshenko, Ukraine
Vaira Vike-Freibega, Latvia
Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf, Switzerland
Begum Khaled Zia, Bangladesh
In Memory:
Corazon Aquino, Philippines   Sirimavo Bandaranaike, Sri Lanka   Benazir Bhutto, Pakistan   Eugenia Charles, Dominica   Janet Jagan, Guyana   Maria de Lourdes Pintasilgo, Portugal
The Council of Women World Leaders is a network of current and former women prime ministers and presidents. Through its networks, summits, ministerial initiative, partnerships, fellows, and programs, the Council promotes good governance and gender equality, and enhances the experience of democracy globally by increasing the number, effectiveness, and visibility of women who lead their countries.

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