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Welcome to the Vine, your new email update of news and events at Vital Voices! Fall is one of the busiest times of the year for us, so here’s the latest news and updates on our activities through the end of 2015.


This year marks the 20th anniversary of the UN Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, China, the landmark event that brought together thousands of representatives from governments and civil society to advance gender equality. I was a student delegate to the conference at the time, and it was there my life was forever changed when I heard then First Lady Hillary Clinton’s simple but radical declaration that became a global rallying cry:

“If there is one message that echoes forth from this conference, let it be that human rights are women’s rights, and women’s rights are human rights, once and for all.”

Since then, countless advocates, leaders and organizations have advanced significant change for women and girls because of what began in Beijing. Bold commitments set forth in 1995 gave rise to Vital Voices and a new generation of women with whom we partner. Learn more about what happened in Beijing by catching the MAKERS documentary “Once and for All,” to be released in November.



On August 31, Vital Voices, Foreign Policy, and The Malala Fund hosted a preview screening of “He Named Me Malala” featuring Malala Yousafzai. After the screening, David Rothkopf, CEO and Editor of FP Group led a panel discussion with Malala, her father Ziauddin Yousafzai, Meighan Stone, president of The Malala Fund and Alyse Nelson. 


As the UN General Assembly and the Clinton Global Initiative convened in New York City last week, Vital Voices participated in a variety of events and panel discussions spotlighting our work to invest in women leaders advancing economic empowerment, human rights and political and public leadership.

Network member and Global Ambassadors Program alumna Akanksha Hazari, joined Nick Kristof, Rt. Hon. Justine Greening, DFID Secretary of State, H.E. Amina Mohamed, Assistant Secretary General, H.E. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Foreign Minister Ethiopia, and Dr. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka at the Ford Foundation September 25 for a lively #EmpowerWomen discussion on delivering transformative change on the new SDG targets on women’s economic empowerment.

On September 26, I joined activists and concert-goers at the Global Citizen Festival in New York City’s Central Park to mark the adoption of the global goals for sustainable development by the United Nations General Assembly and to show support from Vital Voices – as advisory partner to Chime for Change, the Festival’s presenting partner – for their efforts to mobilize people to take action against extreme poverty around the world. It was an important event also for promoting engagement on other global goals targets – ending inequality, protecting the planet and empowering women and girls.

My recent Devex column makes the case for investing in women leaders as the most efficient way to make change, by transforming lives and accelerating peace and prosperity for all. Research released by No Ceilings shows that since 1995 we’ve made significant progress in the areas of the Beijing Platform for Action that overlapped with the Millennium Development Goals, including education and women’s health. This tells us that with the right public-private support and awareness, the global goals are indeed attainable.

The #LeaveNoOneBehind campaign launch on September 27 shined a spotlight on the UK government’s commitment to put the poorest, weakest and most marginalized first in the fight to end extreme poverty. It was an important opportunity to raise the issue of violence against women on a panel I participated in with Prime Minister Cameron at the Ford Foundation.


In partnership with the Clinton Foundation’s No Ceilings Initiative and WEConnect International, Vital Voices convened a high level group of stakeholders to explore how we can build a new global coalition of partners to advance the gender related targets of the Sustainable Development Goals. Our goal is to incubate a new CGI Commitment to Action around women, girls and the global goals building upon the success of our 2013 Commitment with over 20 partners. The head of the McKinsey Global Institute was on hand to preview insights from their new report on closing the gender gap.


September closed with a special event hosted by the Vital Voices Council of the Bay Area at the SF JAZZ Center on September 30 – an intimate conversation with 2015 Global Leadership Awards honorees Kah Walla of Cameroon, Yin Myo Su of Myanmar and Samar Minallah Khan of Pakistan. Joined by presenters Laura Ling, Tiffany Shlain and Laura Liswood, we explored challenges and opportunities for making good on the promises of Beijing through transparency and good governance, socially responsible business and engaging men in our efforts.  


Follow #VVGROW and #GlobalAmbassadors on Twitter for updates on two of our leadership development and economic empowerment programs happening throughout October in Mexico City, Cape Town, Dubai and Tokyo.

Our #VVLead team just returned from a #P2PXchange in India and head back out soon to Johannesburg, South Africa.

International Day of the Girl is October 11 and our friends at Girl Up want you to name your favorite #GIRLHERO.

Keep an eye out for our participation in the 16 Days of Activism to End Gender-Based Violence campaign. Each day, beginning on November 25, International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, through December 10, International Human Rights Day, Vital Voices will publish new stories of impact from men and women in our network working to end violence against women in their communities.  

The Office of Global Women’s Issues at the U.S. Department of State has provided support to the GBV Response Initiative for a project that aims to improve protections and access to justice for victims of early and forced marriage in Jordan and Turkey.

In mid-November, Vital Voices and the U.S. Department of State will host its first regional convening of the GBV Response Initiative in Mexico City, bringing together stakeholders from throughout the Americas working to address gender-based violence and femicide.


Save the Date: 

Voices of Solidarity

December 7, 2015