British Council Conference Addresses Women’s Rights in Middle East and North Africa

By British Council Middle East And North Africa Cairo, PRNE
Tuesday, November 22, 2011

STEYNING, England, November 23, 2011 -

Influencers and decision-makers from across the Middle East and North Africa will discuss the unprecedented opportunity to improve women’s rights in the region at a 4-day conference organised by the British Council. The event will take place at Wiston House in Sussex from 24 - 27 November.

With national constitutions being drafted or revised across the region following the Arab Spring, the conference will look at how best to make the most of this opportunity to embed women’s rights at a constitutional level. In a series of presentations and discussions, international experts will share case examples of success stories where women’s rights have already been enshrined in Constitutions, plus pitfalls to avoid.

In organising the conference, the British Council has worked closely with leading gender equality consultancy Shevolution - which designs and implements training programmes, needs assessment reports and communication initiatives all over the world.

Delegates - both female and male - will come to the UK from countries including Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Oman, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia. Key speakers at the conference will include Susan H Williams - The Walter W. Foskett Professor of Law and the Director of the Center for Constitutional Democracy at the Indiana University Maurer School of Law.

The conference is part of the British Council’s work to build trust for the UK through education, English and the arts. The organisation works across the Middle East and North Africa to help improve skills and the development of stronger civil societies, and has been active in the region since the 1930s.

Martin Davidson, British Council Chief Executive, who will speak on the opening day of the conference, said: “The role played by young people in the recent upheavals in the Arab world has caught the attention of the world.  Less noticed, but potentially every bit as far-reaching, are the changes effected and sought by women - of all ages.  Across the Middle East and North Africa, women are voicing thoughts on how their countries are run, asking to make a greater contribution to their societies, and protesting against injustice.  An extraordinary opportunity is now emerging.  With constitutions in many countries being rewritten or reframed, there’s a chance to enshrine those aspirations into law.  The British Council has been working for many years with Middle Eastern partners to improve women’s access to education and economic benefit, and I am delighted that we are trusted by lawyers, drafters, activists and others from the region to convene this important discussion on constitutional rights.”

Notes to Editors:

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations. We create international opportunities for the people of the UK and other countries and build trust between them worldwide. We work in over 100 countries in the arts, education and English and in 2010/11 we engaged face to face with 30 million people and reached 578 million. For more information, please visit:

For more information, contact Mohamed Abdel Tawab on +2010-0170-1106 or Mohamed.abdeltawab at

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