800 Attendees Gather to Listen to Inspiring Women

March 6 2015 | 09:10 AM

For the third year in a row on International Women’s Day, the May Chidiac Foundation-Media Institute organized annual “Women on the Front Lines” Conference. Under the Patronage of Mrs. Lama Tammam Salam, 800 guests attended this conference to listen to about women who have inspired change and leadership in various fields, it’s a day featuring local, regional and international female role models discussing their success and failures.

The first panel focused on the role of women in the political level in countries. How do women infiltrate the political scene in a patriarchal society? What is the value women potentially bring to the existing political elite? How does the rise of extremist ideologies affect the role of women in politics?

HE Ziyad Baroud, Former Minister of Interior and Municipalities, moderated the session, which included HE Reem Abu Hassan; Former Minister of Social Development, Jordan, HE Raya Al Hassa; Former Finance Minister, HE Fawzia Ben Fedda; Second Deputy Speaker of the Parliament in Tunisia, and HE Moushira Khattabl Former Minister of Family & Population of Egypt, Ambassador of Egypt to the Republic of South Africa, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

This second panel highlighted the contributions of women in Finance and Finance-related Management in both private and public institutions. It also aimed to shed a light on the challenges related to development in the region and their impact on improving the state. How can women succeed in an industry that is predominantly managed by men? Are women in developing markets gaining more ground in high level power positions? How can women make a difference in the world of finance and development projects? Or s their role no different from men in that field? What are the key challenges and opportunities for development projects in the Middle East and how can we be sure that financial support reaches its intended targets effectively?

Ghassan Hasbani, CEO Graycoats. Panelists, moderated the session. Panelists included Gretchen Biery; Senior Governance specialist at the World Bank, Samara Kazzi; Managing Director of SK3 Capital Group, and Raya Raphael Nahas; General Manager Banque Libano-Francaise s.a.l.

The third panel, entitled “Women in NGOs/Causes’, gathered female social activists in NGOs and civil society. How are women initiators of social causes in societies? What role do female activists play in the process of policy making in the region? Is working in civil society an initial gate to enter the political field in MENA countries? How are female activists welcomed by the society ? Are they supported or ignored?

Rabih El Chaer, Political Communication expert and President of “Sakker El Dekkene”, moderated the session. Dr. Rose Mary Boustany; Board Member Open Minds, Zeina Kassem; President of Roads for Life, Nadya Mekdashi; Co-Founder and Director Skoun, Lebanese Addictions Center, and Maha Shair; Active Board Member of Different NGOs were the panelists of this sessi0on.

The fourth panel, entitled, “Influential Female War TV Reporters, gathered rising field female journalists who cover the news from conflict zones. What drives a female journalist to risk entering war zones? Does being a woman impede one’s ability to cover news from conflict zones? How are female journalists able to restrain their emotions when faced with barbaric acts committed in areas ruled by extremist groups, particularly when they are aimed at women? How do women journalists weigh their field tasks and their desk research duties? The moderator, Alexander Marquardt who is the ABC News Foreign Correspondent, attempted to tackle the previous questions with panelists Hoda Abdel Hamid; Senior Correspondent with Al Jazeera, Nima El Bagir; Senior International Correspondent based in CNN’s London Bureau, Rima Maktabi; Senior Anchor and Senior Roving Correspondent, Al Arabiya in UAE, and Jenan Moussa; Roving Reporter for Al AAN TV.

Special guests included Claire Chazal, the French journalist and director of News at TFI and Alexandre Najjar, the Attorney at Law and Writer and Director of “L’Orient Litteraire”, and Roula Moussa, the Founder of Netaways and Forbes 200 most powerful Arab women 2014.

International Journalist and  CNN Correspondent/Anchor Jim Clancy sat down with Hanin Ghaddar, Managing Editor at NOW Lebanon and columnist, in order to understand the relationship between media and personal political views.

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