The 2nd Global Engagement and Empowerment Forum on Sustainable Development (GEEF) was successfully organized by BKMC, the IGEE, Yonsei University, KOICA, and the Seoul Institute in Seoul, South Korea on February 14-15th, 2019. At the Forum, the Centre hosted a plenary session “Women’s Empowerment for Inclusive and Sustainable Development.”
The session intended to raise awareness of the benefits of empowering women worldwide and to create an enabling environment for them to play a more active role in society by taking a much more proactive and collaborative approach on all levels. It gathered leading female high-ranking officials and professionals from across the globe to share their experiences and insights on the immense potential of women to bolster economic growth and the importance of women’s leadership and empowerment, even during difficult times.
President Lee Mi-kyung of KOICA set the tone with the topic “Back to Basics with Women,” and the panel discussion was moderated by Professor Oh Joon of Kyung Hee University, who is former Korean Ambassador to the UN. The panel featured a stellar line-up of the high-level speakers:
- Helen CLARK: 37th Prime Minister of New Zealand
- Armida Salsiah ALISJAHBANA: Executive Secretary of UNESCAP
- Irina BOKOVA: 10th Director-General of UNESCO, BKMC Board Member
- KWON Insook: President of Korean Women’s Development Institute
- Kati IHAMÄKI: Director of Corporate Sustainability at Finnair
- Sabine MACHL: Representative and ASEAN Liaison of UN Women Indonesia
During the panel discussion, Helen Clark said,
“I think that it is very hard to be what you can’t see. In so many places around the world, women and girls look at decision makers, and they don’t see themselves reflected because there are very few women in the parliaments and there are very few women leaders.”
The session did not only provide a platform for such leaders and professionals from different sectors to be connected and create synergies to pursue sustainable solutions, but also built up a bridge between the international community and aspiring global citizens who want to become change makers. The audience discovered how strengthening women’s societal impact and position advance the interconnected global goals. By facilitating conversation and debate among the high-level speakers, the session delivered synergized ideas to expedite the pursuit of gender equality and the consolidation of the rights of women as human rights.
BKMC Board member Irina Bokova also stressed that:
“We have to show them that we say we are feminists, so we are defending this agenda. This is not against men; we are not against them. We want to partner with them because we think that it is the best agenda for society to address societal issue. It is not just an issue of social justice or historic justice. Yes, it is. I agree it is, but it is one of the best ways to achieve this cohesion and this prosperity of a society, of communities and of the family.”
The GEEF is an international forum annually organized by the Centre and its partner the IGEE of Yonsei University. To learn more about this landmark event of the Centre, check out the website: geef-sd.org
Photo by the IGEE