WASHINGTON, May 5, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- On Wednesday evening, on behalf of the organization, Alyse Nelson, President and CEO of Vital Voices received the Arab American Institute Foundation's 13th Kahlil Gibran Spirit of Humanity Award for Institutional Excellence.
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In recognizing Vital Voices, the Gibran Awards Committee cited the organization's "inspiring work and commitment to support prosperity by educating women entrepreneurs and promoting social development in the Middle East."
AAIF Founder and President Dr. James J. Zobgy said: "Vital Voices has shown remarkable leadership in the Middle East. Its programs have empowered so many extraordinary women, promoting the common desire of all people for dignity, peace, and respect. We are so pleased to be honoring them for all that they have done and what they will achieve in the future."
Founded by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in 1997, Vital Voices advances women's leadership internationally as a vehicle for transformative change in economic development, human rights and political participation.
Bill Daley, Chief of Staff to President Barack Obama, said at the ceremony that "since 1997 Vital Voices has been changing lives and nations throughout the world."
Samia Farouki, a member of the Vital Voices Board and the Arab American Institute Board of Governors, introduced and presented the Award to Vital Voices CEO Alyse Nelson who said:
"Vital Voices is honored and humbled by the committee's recognition of our work. But tonight, we take this recognition as a challenge to do so much more: to seize this moment; to stand with and support these leaders on the frontlines of change.
"So tonight we announce the Middle East and North Africa Women's Leadership Fund. We commit to double our efforts by training, mentoring and resourcing thousands of women throughout the region over this critical next five years."
View clip of Alyse Nelson's remarks at http://www.vimeo.com/23303695.
View clip of the 13th annual Kahlil Gibran Spirit of Humanity Awards Gala at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q7vK2TlKJ9g.
Over ten years, Vital Voices' Middle East and North Africa team has worked across 12 countries, supporting a regional network that includes current and aspiring political leaders, businesswomen and civil society leaders all of whom are working to increase entrepreneurship, improve domestic violence services and advocate for more women-friendly policies.
The proposed fund would help by 2015 to double the support to three existing regional initiatives which have already demonstrated considerable impact.
- Businesswomen's Network: launched in 2005, has more than 2,500 members, has supported nearly 500 new businesses started by women and has hosted training programs that have reached over 18,500 women and men. - Advocacy Network: operates across 11 countries empowering communities to advocate for women's issues and influence decision makers and to effect policy, procedural and legislative decisions. - Peace and Prosperity Initiative: convenes international teams of peace builders working with Israeli Arab and Jewish peers to overcome entrenched social division through cross-cultural dialogue and best practice exchange.
Two Vital Voices members from the region attended the gala. Mozn Hassan, founder and executive director of Nazra for Feminist Studies in Egypt, believes that the January 25th movement in Egypt serves as the perfect opportunity to amplify women's voices.
"As young women, we did a lot during the revolution- we formed new groups that were visible both locally and internationally. We created this space and we have to make sure it continues - it's a challenge to keep putting women's issues onto the political agenda."
Vital Voices member from Jordan, Nadia Bushnaq, president and executive director of the Family Guidance and Awareness Center said:
"It is known that the progress of women in any country reflects the magnificence of that same country. I have seen the impact of Vital Voices' programs, not only in my life, but in the lives of other women. This award supports our work in the region, encouraging us to reach even more women, to expand our efforts to support an inclusive society."
About Vital Voices Global Partnership:
Vital Voices' mission is to identify, invest in and bring visibility to extraordinary women around the world by unleashing their leadership potential to transform lives and accelerate peace and prosperity in their communities. It is an international non-governmental organization (NGO) that identifies, trains and empowers emerging women leaders and social entrepreneurs around the globe, enabling them to create a better world. Its international staff and team of over 1,000 partners, pro bono experts and leaders, including senior government, corporate and NGO executives, have trained and mentored more than 8,000 emerging women leaders from over 127 countries in Asia, Africa, Eurasia, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the Middle East since 1997. These women have returned home to train and mentor more than 500,000 additional women and girls in their communities.
Visit http://www.vitalvoices.org to learn more.
Related Links: Vital Voices (http://www.vitalvoices.org) Media Contact: Margaux Bergen Vital Voices Global Partnership +1-202-697-5826 Margauxbergen@vitalvoices.org
SOURCE Vital Voices Global Partnership