On May 8, 2014 I attended the Sheikha Fatima Lectureship held at the United States Institute of Peace in Washington, D.C. This was there second annual event and I learned a great deal from them. The event was about how her Highness Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak, who founded the UAE (United Arab Emirates) and contributed to the naming of the north atrium of the U.S Institute for Peace “International Women’s Commons” to help advance the progress of women as peacemakers. The event included speakers such as Yousef Al Otaiba, Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to the United States; Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne, Executive Chairman of the AMAR International Charitable Foundation; Ambassador Melanne Verveer, Executive Director of the Georgetown Institute for Women; Moderator Jill Doughtery, a fellow at the Joan Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government; Kristin Lord, Acting President of the United States Institute of Peace; and Kathleen Kuehnast, director of the Center for Gender & Peace building at USIP.
The event in all was wonderful. They began with light refreshments and small talk before beginning the discussion. As I went to sit down in the Carlucci Auditorium, the room itself was art. They played a short video on the screen up front to keep you entertained until the main event, and in just watching the video I knew I would be interested in the next two hours of discussion. The conversation began, and I was tuned to listen.
I was able to clearly relate to the discussion about women and their lead for peace. The woman and gentlemen who went up to the podium to speak were not long-winded nor were they too short. I remember distinctly one woman, Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne, discussing how she had done her part in the movement for peace around the world in delivering healthcare and education to millions all over the world. She told a story of how she went to a small village in the Philippines and convinced a young girl to learn how to use a computer instead of continuing in her mother’s footsteps as a weaver, putting her more than 5000 years into the future (figuratively). This story was amazing and really made me realize just how much help Women have done all over the world to help advance societies.
That was just a small part of what I learned from the event. The women were truly magnificent in magnifying their leadership so far. This event truly impacted some of the ways that I think and have changed my attitude towards international women. It’s amazing the doors that are open for women and that are continuously being opened for other societies. I hope to maybe be as inspirational as those women who were to me today.