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Under an impossibly beautiful Tuscan sun, the La Pietra Coalition to Advance Women and the World has convened today in Florence, Italy, to begin work on the Breakthrough Initiative, our core activity to expand women’s empowerment and economic opportunity around the world.

A lovely welcome dinner at the Grand Hotel on the banks of the Arno River provided the perfect backdrop to our opening discussions, and it is so rewarding to see so many friends and new faces gathered for this very important meeting. Among the Coalition are Nobel Laureates, leaders in business, media, academe, civil society, government and elected officials, united in our commitment to make the world a better place for women and girls.

As Coalition member and Cameroonian entrepreneur and city councilor Kah Walla summed up, “The individual leaders in the La Pietra Coalition are already changing the game for women in their countries and regions. Together, it is unquestionable that we will push back the boundaries significantly for women at a global level.”

It is my hope that here in Florence – birthplace of the Renaissance – creative, bold ideas will emerge, shaping our working sessions and laying the groundwork for the long road ahead.

With deepest gratitude to New York University and Paul E. Singer for bringing the Breakthrough Initiative to life, we look forward to beginning our work tomorrow, and to sharing with you our activities moving forward.

Ambassador Sally Shelton-Colby
Director-General – Breakthrough Initiative
La Pietra Coalition to Advance Women and the World