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Vital Voices Announces its 2nd Annual Festival May 5-6 Featuring Sec. Hillary Rodham Clinton, Moms Demand Action Founder Shannon Watts,  Former Netflix CMO & Author Bozoma Saint John and Actress & Activist Debra Messing

Two days of powerful programming featuring panels, live performances and leadership talks

MAY 5-6, 2023, WASHINGTON, D.C. — Vital Voices is proud to announce the lineup of its 2nd Annual Vital Voices Festival on May 5-6, 2023. The award-winning Festival will be held on the one-year anniversary of the grand opening of its Global Headquarters for Women’s Leadership—the world’s first embassy for women

This year’s Festival theme is The Power of Our Voice: 25 Years of Inspiration & Impact as the international non-profit, non-partisan NGO that was co-founded by Sec. Hillary Rodham Clinton and the late Sec. Madeleine Albright in 1997, commemorates 25 years of investing in, connecting with and amplifying the work of women leaders around the world who are taking on the world’s greatest challenges.

Day 1 programming from 9am-6pm includes panel discussions, leadership talks, networking, live performances, a marketplace, and a debut screening of the music documentary I Can’t Keep Quiet. Participants are invite-only, but a livestream will be available. Sec. Hillary Rodham Clinton is scheduled to deliver a keynote at the Festival on May 5.

“I’m thrilled to be joining women leaders from the Vital Voices Global Network and beyond as we come together to exchange ideas on how to overcome some of the greatest challenges we face today. More than ever, we need to elevate women’s voices and amplify calls for inclusive leadership, collective action and shared progress,” said Sec. Hillary Rodham Clinton, a Co-Founder of Vital Voices.

Day 2 features an Open House on Saturday, May 6 from 10am-4pm with leadership talks and a global marketplace of handmade crafts and unique artisanal items created by women entrepreneurs from the Vital Voices Global Network. This day is free and open to the public, but registration is required.

“I’m very much looking forward to welcoming back the global community to our women’s embassy for our 2nd Annual Vital Voices Festival. Over the two days, we will hear from brilliant thought leaders on climate justice, social change and political activismall focused on overcoming global crises that impact women and girls the mostfrom gender apartheid in Iran and Afghanistan to the civil unrest in Sudan and Uganda and the ongoing war in Ukraine,” said Kate James, Chairman of the Board, Vital Voices. “You’ll also hear about solutions from women leaders at the forefront of changesuch as those using their art as activism or their expertise in AI to spark change and electrify the global fight for women’s rights.”

“This gathering comes at a pivotal moment, when hard-fought gains of the last 25 years are very much at risk. If we want to ensure that we don’t move backwards, we need to meet this moment with boldness, creative solutions and visionary leadership that gets us back on track towards the gender equal future we all deserve,” said Alyse Nelson, President and CEO of Vital Voices. “I can’t wait to welcome women leaders from our network, and around the world, to our global headquarters for a series of important conversations about where we go from here.”

“I am so excited to return to the Vital Voices Festival this year to encourage women to use their power to empower. I feel urgently that all women leaders must plug in to this event, in-person or online, to tap into the power that is our collective voice,” said Bozoma Saint John, Marketing Executive and Author,” The Urgent Life” and Vital Voices Board Member. “My life has been a journey of ups and downs—there is nothing that completes life without the support of women around the world. I am honored to be among the ranks of women leaders who are representing positive change for good at the much-anticipated Vital Voices Festival.” 

Confirmed speakers include:

  • Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton
    Former U.S. Secretary of State, former U.S. Senator, Co-Founder at Vital Voices
  • Huma Abedin
    Author and Chief of Staff to Sec. Clinton 
  • Ashley Davis
    Founding Partner, West Front Strategies LLC 
  • Bronagh Hinds
    Peacebuilder, Northern Ireland 
  • Kate James
    Chairman of the Board, Vital Voices 
  • Aline Kamakian
    Owner & CEO, Fig Holding and Chef
  • Sophia Kianni
    Climate and Health Policy Activist
    Singer/Songwriter and Social Justice Artist
  • Samar Minallah Khan
    Documentary Filmmaker & Pakistani Human Rights Activist 
  • Alyse Nelson
    President and CEO, Vital Voices 
  • Deborah Rutter
    President, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts 
  • Sherrie Westin
    President of Sesame Street Workshops
  • Debra Messing
    Actress & Activist
  •  Shannon Watts
    Founder, Moms Demand Action
  • Mandana Dayani
    Creator & Co-Founder, I am a voter
  • Bozoma Saint John
    Marketing Executive and Author, “The Urgent Life”
  • Ariela Suster
    El Salvadoran Founder & CEO, Sequence Collection 
  • Kah Walla
    President of the Cameroon People’s Party, CEO of STRATEGIES!, entrepreneur, political leader, and activist 





Now celebrating 25 years, Vital Voices Global Partnership has directly invested in more than 20,000 women leaders across 184 countries and territories since its inception in 1997. Driven by the universal truth that women are the key to progress in their communities and nations cannot move forward without women in leadership positions, Vital Voices has provided early support for leaders who went on to become Nobel Peace Prize Laureates, U.S. Youth Poet Laureates, prime ministers, award-winning innovators, pioneering human rights defenders, and breakthrough social entrepreneurs, including Amanda Gorman and Malala Yousafzai. In an effort to advance and expand this work, in 2022 Vital Voices opened the doors to the world’s first global embassy for women, the Vital Voices Global Headquarters for Women’s Leadership. It is a first-of-its-kind space that allows for convening, innovation, planning, and action—all in the pursuit of serving women leaders who are taking on the world’s greatest challenges.