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Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen to address London meeting on women’s rights

14 June 2011
Speakers include Louise Mushikiwabo, Rwandan Foreign Minister and Baroness Verma, Department for International Development’s Spokesperson in the House of Lords

Leading political, economic and social experts from around the world will meet in London on 20 June for a day-long symposium to explore the role of women in conflict and peace and the need for their inclusion in political and economic life.

The ‘Women as Agents of Change’ symposium marks the Commonwealth theme for 2011 and the centenary year of International Women’s Day. It is jointly organised by the Foreign Press Association in London and the Commonwealth Secretariat.

The keynote speaker will be the Nobel Laureate Professor Amartya Sen whose work as Chairperson of the Commonwealth Commission on Respect and Understanding forms the basis of the Commonwealth’s exploration into the root causes of violence and conflict.

The part the media plays in shaping attitudes towards women will also be examined. The aim will be to highlight the substantive contribution of women and the media in advancing key human rights and development goals.

Influential politicians, economists, human rights advocates, academics and activists will contribute their views on the role of the media in reporting women; political participation and inclusion; poverty and economic inequality and violence and peace-building.

Speakers (in alphabetical order) include:

  • Nadje Al-Ali - Professor in Gender Studies and Chair of the Centre for Gender  Studies, at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London
  •  Nazenin Ansari - Iranian journalist with Kayhan (London) and formerly of Persian News Network of Voice of America.
  • Janet Benshoof – Human rights and constitutional lawyer and President of the Global Justice Centre (United States).
  • Daisy Cooper - Director of the Commonwealth Policy Studies Unit and Liberal Democrat candidate 2010.
  • Tahirih Danesh – Independent human rights consultant.
  • Devaki Jain – Economist and writer.
  •  HE Jean Kekedo - Papua New Guinea High Commissioner to the United Kingdom.
  • Glenys Kinnock – Opposition spokesperson for the Department of International Development in the House of Lords.
  •  Mmasekgoa Masire-Mwamba – Commonwealth Deputy Secretary-General.
  • Louise Mushikiwabo, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of the Republic of Rwanda.
  • Naana Otoo-Oyortey, Executive Director, FORWARD
  •  Jane Opolot - Executive Director, Woman of Purpose, Uganda.
  • Michael Penn - Professor of Psychology at Franklin & Marshall College (United States).
  • Debbie Ransome - BBC Journalist (former Head of BBC Caribbean Service).
  •   Elisabeth Rehn - Minister of State, Finland.
  •  Baroness Verma - Department for International Development’s Spokesperson in the House of Lords and Spokesperson for the Cabinet Office and for Women and Equalities.

Note to Editors:

Civil Paths to Peace reinforces the traditions of multilateralism, dialogue, democracy, human rights and social inclusion. It is deeply rooted in the concepts of respect and understanding and hinges on the appreciation and celebration of our multiple identities in a global society. It identifies women and media as two important areas of focus.

The Commonwealth is a voluntary association of 54 countries that support each other and work together towards shared goals in democracy and development.

The Foreign Press Association, founded in 1888 is one of the oldest clubs of foreign correspondents in the world provides accreditation to more than 1500 journalists from over 45 different countries.