BKMC co-organizes the symposium on “Empowering Women and Supporting Youth in Development and Citizenship” in Kuwait

In cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the General Secretariat of the Supreme Council for Planning and Development of Kuwait, the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens co-organized the symposium on “Empowering Women and Supporting Youth in Development and Citizenship” in Kuwait on February 12th, 2019.

At the opening, BKMC Co-chairs Ban Ki-moon and Heinz Fischer delivered a keynote.

Ban emphasized that “now is the time to mobilize the global business community as never before.”

“Realizing the Sustainable Development Goals will improve the environment for doing good business and building markets. Trillions of dollars in public and private funds are to be redirected towards the SDGs, creating huge opportunities for responsible companies to deliver solutions,” said Ban.

“Despite the challenges we currently face,” he concluded “if we join together in strong partnerships and move forward as global citizens, we can achieve our global goals and create a brighter future for all.”

Co-chair Fischer stressed that women’s empowerment

“must also be regarded as a global issue and put into the bigger picture. It is a key to peace, to eliminating all forms of violence, and to enabling families, communities, and nations to thrive.”

He also shared the deepest appreciation to the Centre’s Board member, Ambassador Sadiq Marafi, praising his commitment to supporting the Centre from the beginning and to all his collaborative initiatives to foster women’s empowerment.

Fischer added, “we are looking forward to intensifying our work with Kuwait and in particular with the General Secretariat of the Supreme Council for Planning and Development and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kuwait and to identifying further opportunities for cooperation.”

The 1st session of the symposium was entitled “Empowering Women,” featuring women leaders and representatives from both public and civil sector. BKMC Board members Irina Bokova, former UNESCO Director-General, and Andrea Pfanzelter, KACIID Senior Advisor, were featured as panelists of the session.

For the 2nd session entitled “Youth Role in Development and Citizenship,” representatives of a specialized center in supporting youth development in Kuwait and from the civil society, a graduate student from Kuwait University, as well as BKMC Board members were featured. The featured Board members of the Centre included Jean Todt, FIA President, Ahmad Alhendawi, Secretary-General of the World Organization of the Scout Movement, and Michael Sheldrick, Global Citizen Vice President.

The last session entitled “Role and Efforts of Private Sector in Empowering Women and Supporting Youth in Development” featured representatives from Zain Telecommunication, Kuwait National Bank, and private sector.

 

Symposium on “Empowering Women and Supporting Youth in Development and Global Citizenship”

Hosted by the Ministry of Planning and the MOFA
12th of February, 09:30 – 13:45
Location: Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Cultural Centre, Kuwait

Dear Ban Ki-moon,

Your Excellency Mariam Al-Aqeel, Minister of State and Foreign Affairs,

Your Excellency Khaled Mahdi, Secretary-General of the General Secretariat of the Supreme Council for Planning and Development,

Your Excellency Ambassador Sadiq Marafi,

Excellencies,

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

First of all, I want to say that it is a great pleasure and honour for the delegation of the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens to be here in this wonderful country and to participate in the Symposium on “Empowering Women and Supporting Youth in Development and Global Citizenship”.

My first intensive contact to Kuwait was in 1981 when I accompanied Federal Chancellor Bruno Kreisky on his State visit to Kuwait.

I was able to visit Kuwait for a state visit exactly ten years ago, in February 2009, when I learned to appreciate the great hospitality from His Royal Highnesses Emir Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah.

I took away great memories from this visit.

Today’s Symposium about Empowering Women and Supporting Youth in Development and Global Citizenship clearly underscores the vision of the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens.

Our work at the Centre seeks to empower women and youth to strive as global citizens in a peaceful and prosperous world.

This work cannot be done without a dedicated Board that serves as the backbone of our organization and of course our partners, such as the State of Kuwait, who support us and contribute to the resources that we need to be successful.

Leadership, mediation, advocacy, education, and also compassion are cornerstones and mechanisms that we have identified to be most valuable in the implementation of our goals.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Women represent 50% of the population globally. Nevertheless, the history of civilization is coined by the discrimination of women in various cultures and eras.

Women’s rights have been infringed and the burdens of life have been lying much heavier on women’s shoulders than on men’s.

In the 18th century, during the period of Enlightenment, Europe finally started to have serious discussions about women’s rights and equality.

The idea of universal fundamental and human rights based on human dignity and to be granted regardless of origin, race, sex or religion etc. was introduced to politics and incorporated in the goals of progressive movements and in the texts of modern constitutions.

Documents of the French Revolution and the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America did pioneer work in that regard.

The 20th century was characterized by movements towards the political equality of human beings.

In 1918 and 1919 Germany, Austria and other European countries introduced women’s active and passive right to vote.

In the aftermath of the Second World War, the Human Rights Declaration of the United Nations was passed in 1948 and the European Human Rights Convention followed five years later in 1953.

In the last 50 years the question of equal rights for women and men is less a legal question, but a question of practice and reality.

More and more legal regulations in politics, economy and society seek to decrease the gap between theoretical equality and practical discrimination of women.

A central initiative for that purpose are the Sustainable Development Goals, especially with Goal 5 for Gender Equality.

Global initiatives against the discrimination of women and for women’s empowerment bring people together to raise awareness.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

History shows that we have come a long way. We achieved a lot but there remains a lot that is to be done.

It is estimated that an alarming 1 in 3 women globally will suffer from violence during their lifetime. Violence against women continues to persist and to pose an extreme obstacle to their ability to live in dignity and to their general well-being.

In the political sphere, female heads of states or heads of government are somewhat present but continue to be a very rare minority.

We need more women in parliaments and as political leaders because politics concerns women as much as it concerns men.

To achieve full gender equality in our societies, politics must serve as an example: women belong in leadership positions because we cannot afford to forget the skills and competencies of the female half of our populations.

The economy also demonstrates various aspects in which women are disadvantaged.

In Europe, for instance, women’s salaries are up to one third less than men’s salaries. This must be adjusted and rectified. Fairness and equality mean that women’s work is valued just as much as men’s work.

Europe has made major progress in the field of education.

In the 50s, while I was studying, the percentage of female students was 20%. Then, in the 80s, when I served as the Austrian Minister for Science and Research, more than a third of all students were female.

Today, in Austria, women make up over 50% of all students and this also goes for many other European States.

Men have a clear advantage over women when it comes to university professor positions, showing the obstacles that women face to access leadership positions.

Women’s empowerment must also be regarded as a global issue and put into the bigger picture. It is a key to peace, to eliminating all forms of violence, and to enable families, communities, and nations to thrive

Today, it is particularly interesting to us that we shed light on the advancement of women’s empowerment in the State of Kuwait.

Preparing for this visit, I learned that when it comes to women’s empowerment in the region of the Gulf states and even the whole Middle East, Kuwait has an indeed pioneering role.

Women in Kuwait are amongst the most emancipated in the whole region.

Especially the last 50 years brought significant change for women in Kuwait. Women’s political rights are increasingly respected, giving us hope that we are on the right path.

The General Secretariat of the Supreme Council for Planning and Development of Kuwait is the entity in charge of the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and thus, also of Goal Number 5.

Under the directorship of Khaled A. Mahdi, the Secretariat has been keen on implementing the Global Goals.

Today’s Symposium on Empowering Women and Supporting Youth in Development and Global Citizenship reflects this commendable ambition and gives us the chance to discuss the steps that have been done already to make this world a more peaceful and prosperous place for all.

Thanks to you and your Secretariat, experts from around the world are gathered here today to exchange ideas and concrete action plans to implement the SDGs and promote the concept of Global Citizenship.

My deep appreciation also goes to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the State of Kuwait H.E. Sheikh Sabah Al Khaled Al Ahmad Al Sabah who are generously hosting today’s third Board Meeting of the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens.

Our good friend, his Excellency Ambassador Sadiq Marafi has been a committed and generous Board member of the Ban Ki-moon Centre right from the very beginning and is a great partner for all initiatives to foster women’s empowerment. We are very grateful for your support.

We are looking forward to intensifying our work with Kuwait and in particular with the General Secretariat of the Supreme Council for Planning and Development and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kuwait and to identifying further opportunities for cooperation.

Let us unite our efforts to reach the great and important goal, namely equal rights and chances for men and women globally in our present world.

Thank you very much.

 

BKMC signs an MOU with the Supreme Council for Planning and Development of Kuwait

On February 11th in Kuwait, BKMC Co-chairs Ban Ki-moon and Heinz Fischer signed an MOU with Dr. Khaled Mahdi, Secretary General of the General Secretariat of the Supreme Council for Planning and Development of the State of Kuwait. The two partners aim to empower women in GCC region by developing fellowship programs and more.

To further discuss the projects and potential areas of collaboration, BKMC CEO Monika Froehler and Associates Julia Zimmerman and Viola Christian had a meeting with Dr. Khaled Mahdi at the Secretariat.

Read Alrai Media’s news article on the MOU signing: http://www.alraimedia.com/Home/Details?id=ac9a5a67-b3de-426d-87fa-f3a05acfbd9d

BKMC Meeting with Arab Fund for Economic & Social Development

On February 11th, BKMC Board met with General Manager Abdullatif Yousef Al-Hamad of the Arab Fund for Economic & Social Development in Kuwait.

Co-chair Ban Ki-moon said that the “economic development is not possible without addressing the issues of climate change, etc.,” and added that a “scholarship is needed for youth in Arab region.”

Co-chair Heinz Fischer added that there is Erasmus scholarship program funded by the European Union that can be adopted in the Arab region.

BKMC meets with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Economic Affairs of Kuwait

The Board of the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens visited Bayan Palace in Kuwait on February 11th to have meetings with Kuwaiti Deputy Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and Minister Mariam Eqeal Al-Saied Hashem Al-Aqeal of State for Economic Affairs as well as other delegates of the government.

At the meeting with Minister Al-Aqeal, Co-chair Ban Ki-moon delivered a compliment on Kuwait’s role of mediation and moderate diplomacy. He said that “Kuwait is seemingly the country that has contributed to the unity and solidarity,” aiming for GCC. Ban emphasized that the Centre aims to foster global citizenship and that the protectionism that builds up walls needs to be demolished.

Co-chair Heinz Fischer said that “global risks need global attention.” He stressed the importance of achieving humanitarian goals without unnecessary competitions.

Minister Al-Aqeel said that “Kuwait has implemented the SDGs in National Development of the Plan 2020” and that the implementation is currently in action.

Dr. Khaled Mahdi, Secretary General of the General Secretariat of the Supreme Council for Planning and Development, also mentioned that the Kuwaiti government will deliver the first report on the SDGs by July 2019.

He said that the goals will be implemented “on the national level as well as global level.”

The BKMC Board shared the impact and influence of the Centre’s work in women’s empowerment as well as some ideas on the strategic direction for the Kuwaiti government to reach the level of taking an effective role in women’s empowerment.

BKMC Co-chairs meet with His Highness Amir of Kuwait

Upon the visit of the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens to Kuwait, Co-chairs Ban Ki-moon and Heinz Fischer met with His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Amir of the State of Kuwait on February 11th. Dr. Khaled Mahdi, Secretary General of the Supreme Council for Planning, Minister Mariam al-Aqeel for economic affairs, National Assembly Speaker Marzouq al-Ghanim, and Ambassador Sadiq Marafi, who is a Board member of the Centre, were present at the meeting.

As former Secretary General of the UN, Co-chair Ban expressed his appreciation for the Amir’s leading role in global humanitarian activities and mediation efforts in the Middle East region.

At an interview with the Kuwaiti press, Co-chair Fischer said “we are very proud that we had the honor to be received by His Highness the Amir and he promised and announced full support for the goals of the Ban Ki-moon Centre, the goals of humanity and the goals of supporting the sustainable development.”

He added, “I’m impressed that His Highness is very well informed in supporting the bilateral relations between Kuwait and Korea, and Kuwait and Austria.”

Photos: Kuwaiti government
Interview: https://www.kuna.net.kw/ArticleDetails.aspx?id=2777268&language=en

National Assembly Speaker Marzouq al-Ghanim welcomes the BKMC in Kuwait

On February 11th, Marzouq al-Ghanim, Speaker of the Kuwaiti National Assembly welcomed the Centre’s Co-chairs Ban Ki-moon and Heinz Fischer and the Board members Daniele Bodini, Irina Bokova, as well as Ambassador Sadiq Marafi who organized the visit. Before meeting the Amir of the State of Kuwait, the group had a brief discussion and a tour around the Bayan Palace.

 

Meeting with Representatives of the Kuwaiti Charity Associations

On February 11th, the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens had a meeting with a number of charity organizations and associations in Kuwait. Together with the representatives from the organizations, the Centre’s Board members discussed the importance of global citizenship mindset and volunteer services to achieve sustainable development of all.

Co-chair Ban Ki-moon emphasized “to promote the humanitarian assistance for helping people and fostering global citizenship and empowering women and youth.”

Ban added that together we can contribute much more for those who may need help.

Co-chair Heinz Fischer also said that modern social policy was born in Europe, but “individuals, families, and situations were not covered” since it was based on registration.

“Every step further is necessary,” Fischer said, “Exchange experiences; inform the results.”

Moderated by BKMC CEO Monika Froehler, the meeting opened up an active conversation to which the Kuwaiti representatives actively added their ideas on the areas that need further improvement. Possible areas of collaboration with the Centre and among the charity organizations themselves in cooperation with both private and public sector were also examined.

Kuwait gives another fund to the Ban Ki-moon Centre

The Kuwaiti government donated another fund to the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens through its Embassy in Vienna. H.E. Ambassador Sadiq Marafi and First Secretary Abdullah Alobaidi of the Embassy of the State of Kuwait and Permanent Mission to the United Nations visited the Centre on November 13th, 2018.

The Centre’s Co-chairs Ban Ki-moon and Heinz Fischer and CEO Monika Froehler welcomed the delegation, and during the bilateral meeting, the Centre was given an official certificate of the voluntary contribution of 350,000 USD from the Kuwaiti government to the Centre.

Kuwait has been one of the biggest supporters of the Centre and has offered to tentatively host an affiliated office of the Ban Ki-moon Centre in Kuwait. Ambassador Marafi has also been an active ex officio member of the Board of the Centre and has fully supported the Centre’s various activities and engagements. In the first half of next year, the Ban Ki-moon Centre’s third Board Meeting will be hosted by the Kuwaiti government in Kuwait in February.