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Working for women
The Florentine
October 22, 2009
 
 
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On November 2, 2009 the Palazzo Vecchio’s Salone del Cinquecento was the backdrop for an international panel discussion on the global status of women held in commemoration of the 15th Anniversary of the U.N. Forth World Conference on Women held in Beijing, China.

The panel was introduced by Mayor of Florence Matteo Renzi and moderated by Tina Brown, the former editor of Tatler, Vanity Fair and The New Yorker and the current founder and editor of The Daily Beast. The discussion was conducted in English with simultaneous translation available in Italian.

Panelists were Vice- President of the Italian Senate, Emma Bonino; U.S. Department of State Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues, Melanne Verveer; the founder of India’s Kolkata Sanved, Sohini Chakraborty; the Co-Founder of the Oruj Learning Center; Sadiqa Basiri Saleem; the General Manager and Owner of Keij de los Bosques (Protectors of the Forest), Maria Pacheco; U.S. Department of Justice Ambassador-at-Large to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, Luis CdeBaca; the Founder of the Kakenya Center for Excellence, Kakenya Ntaiya; the President of the Vital Voices Global Partnership, Laura Alonso; and the Nobel Peace Prize winning banker and economist who developed microcredit and Founder of the Grameen Bank, Muhammad Yunus.

The panelists presented on a variety of topics relating to the lives of women around the globe, for which they prepared during a two-day private summit at New York University’s Villa La Pietra. The audience consisted of approximately one hundred and fifty members, including Consul General of the U.S. Consulate General in Florence, Mary Ellen Countryman. 

Of particular interest to the panel and audience was female genital mutilation (FGM) and how cultures that do not practice it should view it.  Kakenya Ntaiya gave personal testimony about the deal she made with her father to go through tradition female circumcision to be allowed to continue her studies.  Her testimony sparked a lively discussion about understanding or condemning practices that are viewed as harmful by foreign eyes.

The audience also asked several questions regarding microcredit, a concept in which small loans are made to those without credit history in impoverished areas to spark entrepreneurship.

To conclude, Tina Brown stated that although progress had been made in the global status of women, there is still much work to be done.

By Catherine Ches, NYU Graduate Student

 
 
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Program
 

5:00pm Gathering at the Salone dei Cinquecento, Palazzo Vecchio
Welcome - Matteo Renzi, The Mayor of Florence
Ellyn Toscano, Director of New York University Florence
5:15 Panel discussion
Moderated by: Tina Brown, The Daily Beast
Followed by question and answer session

 
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