Women on the front lines

Mr. Faisal Shuboul Minister of Government Communications, in the opening ceremony of WOFL Jordan

I am honored to deliver a speech at the opening of the sixth edition of the “Women on the Frontlines” conference organized by the May Chidiac Foundation. I convey to you the greetings and well wishes of the Prime Minister, and I wish you success and prosperity in your discussions. I welcome you to Amman, the jewel of capitals, the sanctuary of Arabs, the capital of tolerance, harmony, dialogue, and peace. I am delighted to welcome Dr. May Chidiac, who is keen on holding this annual meeting in Amman, bringing together women leaders in their second country, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, which values this gathering and celebrates every guest.

In this conference entitled “Women on the Frontlines,” I would like to emphasize that all decisions, legislations, and measures aimed at supporting and empowering women to be on the frontlines will not enable them to succeed unless they believe in themselves and their abilities. Moreover, the political and social environment must show sufficient respect for women and their role in society and public life.

Based on this belief and recognition of the Jordanian woman’s role, position, capabilities, and achievements, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan has entered the beginning of its second century under the direct patronage of His Majesty King Abdullah II, with three paths of modernization: political, economic, and administrative. Empowering women and enhancing their roles in various fields, as well as reducing the accumulated political, economic, and administrative gaps, are among the top priorities of these paths of modernization.

At the forefront of these efforts were the amendments made to the Jordanian constitution, which included rights for women. The most prominent addition was a paragraph to Article 6 stating, “The state ensures the empowerment and support of women to play an active role in building society, ensuring equal opportunities based on justice and fairness, and protecting them from all forms of violence and discrimination.”

In accordance with the royal directives and in response to the new constitutional provisions, the new laws, such as the Election Law for the House of Representatives, the Political Parties Law, the Local Administration Law, the Labor Law, and the Income Tax Law, have included rights for women aimed at supporting and empowering them in various aspects of life. The political impact will depend on the results of the upcoming parliamentary elections, which will be conducted based on the new election and party laws. Similarly, the results of the local elections, as stipulated by the Local Administration Law, will ensure that women are represented in municipal councils and governorate councils by no less than 25%.

On the administrative level of the government, this government has worked to enhance women’s empowerment in occupying advanced government administrative leadership positions. The number of women holding such positions has increased to 18 out of 97 positions, compared to only seven women in 2020 and 11 women in 2021.

As a member of the ministerial committee for women’s empowerment, chaired by Her Excellency our colleague Wafa Bani Mustafa, I would like to emphasize that the government is working according to a clear national strategy and in partnership with all sectors and institutions representing Jordanian women. This includes developing plans, programs, and measures to ensure a safe working environment for women without discrimination or marginalization. The strategy is supported by an inclusive media plan that responds to the new legislative achievements and advocates for women’s, children’s, and youth’s issues. It is important to highlight the role of local media outlets that consistently stood alongside women, their rights, and their fundamental role in development and nation-building.

In conclusion, we hope that our overall policies, legislation, and procedures will achieve the desired goals of women’s empowerment, which is inherently empowering for a secure, cohesive, and strong society in facing future challenges.

Read more: Khasawneh opens 6th ‘Women on Front Lines Conference’ in Jordan



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Khasawneh opens 6th ‘Women on Front Lines Conference’ in Jordan

AMMAN — Prime Minister Bisher Khasawneh on Monday said that Jordanian and Arab women have left a distinguished mark on their societies over the years.

“Women in our area have proven themselves, and have assumed very high positions, and surely left an important mark on their own societies,” Khasawneh said.

However, “our societies are still dominated by masculine ideologies that relics from the past,” Khasawneh told the gathering.

“We need to put such ideas behind us, and aim to keep empowering women in our societies,” the premier stressed.

Khasawneh’s remarks came during the sixth edition of the “Women on the Front Lines Conference (WOFL) — the Middle East North African Region Edition — Jordan 2023”.

Khasawneh acted as patron to the event, which was organised by the May Chidiac Foundation (MCF) in Amman.

The one-day event saw the participation of HRH Princess Basma Bint Ali, HH Princess Dina Mired, as well as prominent figures in the fields of politics, diplomacy, media, arts, economics and technology.

Minister of Government Communications Faisal Shboul presented the official speech on behalf of Khasawneh, and noted that all decisions, legislation and procedures aimed at empowering women to be on the front lines “will not enable them to win the bet if they do not believe in themselves and their abilities”.

The minister added that the political and social environment should reflect sufficient respect for women and their role in society and public life.

At the beginning of the second centenary of the Kingdom, and under the direct auspices of His Majesty King Abdullah, the Jordanian state entered the three paths of modernisation: political, economic and administrative, Shboul said.

“Empowering women and strengthening their role in various fields is at the forefront of the priorities of the modernisation paths,” the minister stressed.

Shboul added that the government, under Royal directives, made several legislative amendments to empower women and increase their political participation, including the Political Parties Law, which “is expected to boost women’s presence in Parliament”.

“We will have to wait and see the results of the upcoming parliamentary elections, which will be held on the basis of the new election and party laws,” Shboul pointed out.

Also addressing the conference was President of MCF, May Chidiac, who praised the Kingdom’s efforts to enable and encourage women’s participation in public life.

“There are many challenges facing women in some societies where women’s roles are still absent due to traditions and social values,” added Chidiac, who was a former Minister of State for Administrative Development in Lebanon.

“There is no doubt that the struggle of societies is necessary for women to obtain their full rights, bearing in mind that what is meant here is the struggle of women and men together,” Chidiac said.

“The road may still be long, but we believe in the victory of the truth in the end,” Chidiac added.

MCF Executive Board member and chair of the conference Maha Shair pointed out the “courage of Jordanian women who played a pivotal role in developing the economy, education and healthcare system, and who actively contributed to the promotion of peace and stability in the region”.

The WOFL MENA Chapter-Jordan 2023 aims to enable women and to encourage them in their pursuit towards accomplishing sustainable goals that serve the public and societal good in all its dimensions, in addition to shedding light on the stories of ladies and young women who have achieved multiple successes and left their distinguished marks on various sectors.

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WOFL Jordan 2023 Welcome Notes Mrs. Maha Shair

It gives me great pleasure to stand once again here in Amman, representing the MCF Foundation and as the Chairperson of the WOFL Conference. I extend my greetings to the recipients of the “Path to Peace” award and the “Zayed Award for Human Fraternity” for the year 2022. And who else deserves these awards but His Majesty King Abdullah II bin Al Hussein and Her Majesty Queen Rania Abdullah, who play their roles with utmost dedication to uphold and elevate the image of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and promote the role of Jordanian women in society and public affairs.

The year 2022 was remarkable for Jordan in terms of tourism prosperity on one hand and the outstanding achievements of its youth in various fields on the other hand. Whether in sports, arts, sciences, politics, or others, Jordanians, especially Jordanian women, left a distinct mark.

Speaking of the remarkable courage of Jordanian women, who have always been at the forefront of the struggle for their rights, development of their society, and contribution to progress, we see the importance of reminding ourselves: “Why Jordan?” Why did MCF choose Amman to host the Women on the Front Lines (WOFL) Conference in its Middle East edition? Simply? In appreciation of Jordanian women, who played a pivotal role in the development of the economy, education, and healthcare system. In appreciation of them, who have effectively contributed to promoting peace, stability in the region. They were at the forefront of combating terrorism and extremism. They played an essential role in fostering interfaith dialogue, and addressing the refugee crisis. They shattered stereotypes and proved that they are capable, like men, of facing all challenges with determination and courage. They have become a source of inspiration.

Today, in the sixth edition of our annual conference, we look forward to more stories and deeper experiences. We anticipate the participation of women from around the world who will share their experiences and the challenges they have faced in life with sincerity and transparency, both in this esteemed gathering and through live streaming on social media. These extraordinary women have fought against injustice and discrimination and have changed the reality.

And this time, we will listen to men as well…men who believe in women, value them, support them, and insist on their involvement in culture, media, art, and politics .Under the patronage of the Prime Minister of Jordan, Dr. Bisher Al-Khasawneh, we are pleased to announce the program for the sixth edition of the WOFL MENA CHAPTER-JORDAN conference, which includes the following:

We will begin with the first discussion through a special dialogue with Mrs. Najla Al-Mangoush, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Libya, the first Libyan female foreign minister and the fifth woman to hold this position in the Arab world.

In the field of politics and diplomacy, we will host a panel discussion with Her Excellencies: Dr. Nabeela Al-Mulla from Kuwait, the first diplomat from the Arab Gulf, Her Excellency the British Ambassador to Jordan, Bridget Brind, the Goodwill Ambassador for the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in the Middle East and North Africa, Princess Basma bint Ali, Her Excellency Haifa Jediea, Head of the Saudi Arabian Mission to the European Union, and Ambassador Mira Daher, the Lebanese Ambassador to Italy, via the application Zoom. We will then hear from the first French woman to serve as Minister of Education, Higher Education, and Research, the French-Moroccan judge and politician, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, in a special dialogue.

Afterward, we will move on to a world that is now needed by every politician, diplomat, lawyer, and specialist in any field – the digital world and artificial intelligence. The second panel discussion will focus on the topic of CHATGPT, with the expertise of Dr. Rima Diab from Jordan, an artificial intelligence expert and advisor at Tesla and Galaxy Technology Foundation, Dr. Shurooq Amin, an artist from Kuwait, and from Lebanon, Dr. Manal Jalloul, an artificial intelligence consultant as well as Daniel Hatem, a financial advisor.

From the digital revolution to the social and political revolution, with women leading the protests, we will have another discussion table where we will listen to Deputy Editor-in-Chief of Middle East Magazine in New Lines Magazine, Rasha Al Aqeedi from Iraq, the political activist and National Coordinator of the taqaddom political party, Laury Haytayan from Lebanon, Tara Kangarlou, an Iranian writer and journalist specialized in Iranian and international affairs, and Rahela Sidiqi from Afghanistan, the founder and executive director of Rahela Association for Women’s Education in Afghanistan.

Finally, we will conclude by addressing women’s issues and shedding light on relevant social issues through art and creativity. In this dialogue, we will host Sadek Al-Sabah, the winner of the Lebanese National Cedar Medal and Chairman of Al-Sabah Brothers Company, who is considered one of the leading figures in the media industry in the Arab world. With him, we have the Syrian director Samer Al-Barkawi, who gained recognition for his work, especially in “Al Hayba,” and the Egyptian star Elham Shahine as well as Valérie Abou Chakra, the former Miss Lebanon.

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Q and A with Rachel Dore-Weeks at WOFL 2022

Q and A interview with Rachel Dore-Weeks the Representative of UN Women in Lebanon extracted from opening panel of Women on the Front Lines 2022 conducted by Mirella Abou Khalil Journalist and reporter at MTV Lebanon.Q and A interview with Rachel Dore-Weeks the Representative of UN Women in Lebanon extracted from opening panel of Women on the Front Lines 2022 conducted by Mirella Abou Khalil Journalist and reporter at MTV Lebanon.

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About Women on the Front Lines conference

Women on the Front Lines – Let’s Win an Optimistic & Sustainable Future Through Outstanding Leadership!

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Meet Our President and Founder Dr. May Chidiac

 Dr. May Chidiac is the President and founder of May Chidiac Foundation- Media Institute (MCF-MI), Head of GROUND-0 Beirut Relief Committee, May Chidiac is a veteran Journalist, an editor, a Radio Host and a news anchor since 1985 with a career spanning for more than 25 years. She fought for the freedom of the Lebanese people when few dared to speak up against the prevailing state of tyranny, through morning political shows. Six months after the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in 2005, Chidiac was attacked by a car bomb causing her to lose her left leg and arm. She returned to the TV screen in a prime-time political talk show called “With Audacity” from 2006 till 2009.

In parallel, Chidiac published an award-winning book: “Le Ciel M’attendra”, to be followed later on by another prized book “La Télévision Mise à Nu”. She obtained her PhD in “Sciences de L’Information et de la Communication” with high distinction from Université Panthéon -Paris II Assas and also continued her teaching career as Professor of Radio/ TV at Notre Dame University-Louaize till present.

She was also the Head of the Press Division at the Lebanese Embassy in Bern-Switzerland between 1989 and 1990. May Chidiac is the recipient of several Decorations and Medals including the “Chevalier de L’ordre de la Légion D’Honneur”, decorated by the Former President of the French Republic, Jacque Chirac in May 2007 at Elysee Palace, as well as the Medal of “Dame de L’ordre de Saint Gregoire- Le- Grand” awarded by Pope Francis in 2017, that she received by the Maronite Patriarch Cardinal Bechara Rai in May 2018 at Bkerke.
Throughout her career, Chidiac received numerous international awards and prizes, of which: “Le Prix de la Francophonie pour la Liberté d’Expression”, and the “UNESCO Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Award”.

In October 2006, she was awarded the IWMF (International Women Media Foundation) “Courage in Journalism Award” delivered in Los Angeles, New York and Washington.In 2017 she was the recipient of “Minerva Anna Maria Mammoliti of Human Rights and Civil Rights Award presented in Rome.Dr Chidiac is the member and member of Jury of several organizations as well as vice president such as Member of the “High Panel for Peace and Dialogue of Cultures” UNESCO in 2010, was Honored as part of “She Made it” by the Museum of Television and Radio in 2007 in New York and the Vice president and Jury member of UNESCO for the award of Emir Jaber Al Ahmad Al Sabah for Empowering People with Disabilities through Digital Technologies since 2016.

She is the Member of Jury at the L’Association des Femmes Leaders Mondial de Monaco in 2017 and was the Moderator in the International Conference on Youth and Information and Communication Technologies Preventing Violent Extremism at Cyberspace UNESCO in Beirut the same year. May Chidiac was a participator in several forums and colloquiums throughout the years, she was the honorary speaker as one of the Guillermo Cano Awardees in Paris in 2006, a keynote speaker and Guest at the Women’s Forum at Deauville- France from 2007 till 2014, a key participant in the UNESCO Global Forum on Media and Gender in Thailand “Documenting Change/Empowering Media- Gender Mainstream in the Media Middle East Report in 2013 as well as an Honorary Guest and Lecturer at the University of Sydney on “The role of Women in The Media” in 2014. She was the participant in the Fourth World Conference on Women:

The Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action: “Enhancing Women’s Share in Peace and Security at the 1325 UN Resolution-Vienna with the Request of the Austrian Parliament in 2015. In regards of the Foundation programs and the academia, Dr Chidiac as president of MCFMI has contributed through her foundation that is dedicated to training, research and educate on issues of Media, and democracy executed several projects on subjects such as GBV in collaboration with UNESCO and currently executing a similar project with UNWomen.

Some of the projects that MCF conducts highlighting women are Women on The Front Lines projects with panels such as “Women Fighters and Survivors of the Iraqi Conflict”, “Mother of Extremists: Stories and Recommendations” and Women of Honor” Heroines of Peace in Times of Conflict.” Politically, Dr. May Chidiac was designated Minister of State for the Administrative Reform in the government of His Excellency the President of the Council of Ministers, Mr. Saad Hariri.


  • “Le Ciel M’attendra” (Heaven Can Wait) in 2007 awarded the “Prix Vérité” in Le Cannet, France.
  • “La Television Mise à Nu” (Influence of politics on the television scene) in 2014. The book was awarded the “Phoenix Prize” for literature.

Awards and honors

On 27 October 2006 May Chidiac received one of the three Courage in Journalism Awards presented by the International Women’s Media Foundation.

In June 2006, she received the “CRANS Montana Foundation Award” for Freedom of Expression offered by his Royal Highness Prince Albert De Monaco, Monte Carlo.

On 3 May 2006, UNESCO awarded the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize to May Chidiac in recognition of her courage in defending and promoting freedom of the press.

In December 2007, May Chidiac was honored in the frame of “She Made It” by the Museum of Television and Radio, New York City.

In April 2006, she received an Honorary Award, presented by his Royal Highness Prince Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi.

On 3 May 2007, the former French president, Jacques Chirac awarded May Chidiac the Legion of Honour at the Elysée Palace in Paris.Chirac described Chidiac as a “symbol of free speech in Lebanon.”

In March 2008, she was honored as a prominent and audacious figure in politics and journalism during the Olympe De Gouge event, at Montauban France. In December 2010, The “Prix Verité” (“Truth Prize”) was awarded to Chidiac for Le Ciel M’attendra in 2007 in La Ville de Cannet, Cannes, France.

In 2010, Chidiac was named one of the International Press Institute’s World Press Freedom Heroes.

Chidiac has participated in significant symposiums and colloquiums such as the UN’s Resolution 1325 Symposium in Vienna, the University of Sidney Ideas Talk, the International Press Institute Congress in South Africa and Jordan, UNESCO International Colloquium in Beirut, and UNESCO’s Global Forum on Media and Gender in Thailand, its former Regional Forum for Media Development, as well as its Symposium for Freedom of Expression.

In 2016, Chidiac was awarded with an honorary doctorate from the American University of Science and Technology.

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