On the occasion of the International Women’s day and for the second year in a row, the May Chidiac Foundation organized its annual “Women on the Front Lines” (WOFL) conference under the high patronage of the first lady of Lebanon Mrs. Wafaa Sleiman on March 3rd, 2014.
The conference begun with Mrs. Cecilia Attias, President and Founder of the Cécilia Attias Foundation for Women and Author of “Une Envie de Vérité, who divulged her inspiring story as the former wife of President Sarkozi. The keynote speech was followed by a Q/A moderated by the former director of the Bureau of Field Coordination at UNESCO, Mr. Mogens Schmidt. Ms. Attias had a book signing for her book “Une Envie de Vérité ”.
The first panel, entitled “Women Bringing Change to the Arab World’, tackled the issue of the discrimination that women face in the Arab World. Reem Abu Hassan; Lawyer & Human Rights Activist in Jordan, Parween Babakr; Former Minister of Industry and Energy in Kurdistan, Dr. Rania Barrak, Professor at the Military Academy of Fondok Jeddid & School of Internal Security Forces in Tunisia, Hanaan Saab; Founder & Managing Director of Pharmamed & President of the MENA Jury of the Cartier Women Initiative Award spoke about the delierate attempts made by many parties to discredit women and their efforts in contributing to local and international economies.
The second panel, “Women TV Shows Hosts”, featured Arab women working in media organizations, specifically as TV shows hosts. It highlighted the experiences of these journalists in hosting prominent male figures from the Arab World and the tools and techniques they use, as women, to face them. the moderator, Jad Al Akhaoui, who is journalist & former consultant to the Ministry of Information in Kuwait, led the conversation with panelists Muntaha Al Ramahi; Anchor & TV Presenter at Al Arabiya, Laila Al Shaikhali; Anchor & TV Presenter at Al Jazeera, Lamees al Hadidi; Anchor CBC Network, and Gisele Khoury; TV Host at BBC Arabic.
The third panel “Gender Based Violence in the Arab World” moved the audience with the issue of gender based violence in the Arab World. Honor crimes, early marriage, trafficking, rape, and domestic violence were discussed, among testimonies and experiences. Malek Maktabi, the executive producer & TV host of “Ahmar Bel Khat El Arid” on LBCI asked sensitive questions that influenced audiences and decision makers alike. Panelists included Dr. Rehab Bitar; Syrian Lawyer & Artist, Dr. Dima Dabbous; Editor in Chief of Al Raidy Journal, Institute for Women’s Studies at the Lebanese American University, Rana Husseini; Author & Senior Reporter & Human Rights Activist, Dr. Elham Manea; Yemeni Swiss Associate Professor at the Institute of Political Science University of Zurich.
The “Women in the Field, in Humanitarian Aid Agencies” panel focused on women working in the field, in humanitarian or aid agencies. Speakers included Nadim Houry; Deputy Director of the MENA Division at Human Rights Watch, Joelle Eid; Spokesperson for the UN Refugee Agency UNHCR in Lebanon, Carole Malouf; Founding Member of “Lebanese for Syrian Refugees Initiative”, Krystel Mousally; Field Epidemiologist at Doctors Without Borders in Africa & Asia.
Mr. Nicolas Gregorieff, Editor in Chief of Fashion 1 Television and General Manager ME, Africa, and Europe of the TV station gave a keynote speech showing the link between fashion, media, and women. Dr. Jad Melki, Assistant Professor of Journalism and Media Studies at the American University of Beirut gave a talk focusing on gender discrimination and sexual harassment of female journalists in Lebanon. Last but not least, Dr. Rihab Nasr, Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Department of Anatmony, Cell Biology and Physiological Sciences at the American University of Beirut presented about science and women.
Our Highly Distinguished Guests
Field Epistemologist at Doctors Without Borders in Africa and Asia
Director of the Bureau of Field coordination at UNESCO
Minister of Social Development in Jordan
Author, Senior and Human Rights Activist
Anchor and TV Presenter at Al Arabiya TV