Vital Voices Global Partnership Receives Institutional Excellence Award from Arab American Institute Foundation and Launches New Middle East North Africa Women's Leadership Fund

By Vital Voices Global Partnership, PRNE
Wednesday, May 4, 2011

New Fund Will Double Investment in Women's Training, Resourcing and Mentoring to Increase Women's Impact in Peace and Prosperity, Business and Politics in the Middle East and North Africa-

WASHINGTON, May 5, 2011 - On Wednesday evening, on behalf of the organization, Alyse Nelson,
President and CEO of Vital Voices received the Arab American Institute
Foundation's 13th Kahlil Gibran Spirit of Humanity Award for Institutional

To view the multimedia assets associated with this release, please click

In recognizing Vital Voices, the Gibran Awards Committee cited the
organization's "inspiring work and commitment to support prosperity by
educating women entrepreneurs and promoting social development in the Middle

AAIF Founder and President Dr. James J. Zobgy said: "Vital Voices has
shown remarkable leadership in the Middle East. Its programs have empowered
so many extraordinary women, promoting the common desire of all people for
dignity, peace, and respect. We are so pleased to be honoring them for all
that they have done and what they will achieve in the future."

Founded by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in 1997, Vital
Voices advances women's leadership internationally as a vehicle for
transformative change in economic development, human rights and political

Bill Daley, Chief of Staff to President Barack Obama, said at the
ceremony that "since 1997 Vital Voices has been changing lives and nations
throughout the world."

Samia Farouki, a member of the Vital Voices Board and the Arab American
Institute Board of Governors, introduced and presented the Award to Vital
Voices CEO Alyse Nelson who said:

"Vital Voices is honored and humbled by the committee's recognition of
our work. But tonight, we take this recognition as a challenge to do so much
more: to seize this moment; to stand with and support these leaders on the
frontlines of change.

"So tonight we announce the Middle East and North Africa Women's
Leadership Fund. We commit to double our efforts by training, mentoring and
resourcing thousands of women throughout the region over this critical next
five years."

View clip of Alyse Nelson's remarks at

View clip of the 13th annual Kahlil Gibran Spirit of Humanity Awards Gala

Over ten years, Vital Voices' Middle East and North Africa team has
worked across 12 countries, supporting a regional network that includes
current and aspiring political leaders, businesswomen and civil society
leaders all of whom are working to increase entrepreneurship, improve
domestic violence services and advocate for more women-friendly policies.

The proposed fund would help by 2015 to double the support to three
existing regional initiatives which have already demonstrated considerable

    - Businesswomen's Network: launched in 2005, has more than 2,500 members,
      has supported nearly 500 new businesses started by women and has hosted
      training programs that have reached over 18,500 women and men.
    - Advocacy Network: operates across 11 countries empowering communities
      to advocate for women's issues and influence decision makers and to
      effect policy, procedural and legislative decisions.
    - Peace and Prosperity Initiative: convenes international teams of peace
      builders working with Israeli Arab and Jewish peers to overcome
      entrenched social division through cross-cultural dialogue and best
      practice exchange.

Two Vital Voices members from the region attended the gala. Mozn Hassan,
founder and executive director of Nazra for Feminist Studies in Egypt,
believes that the January 25th movement in Egypt serves as the perfect
opportunity to amplify women's voices.

"As young women, we did a lot during the revolution- we formed new groups
that were visible both locally and internationally. We created this space and
we have to make sure it continues - it's a challenge to keep putting women's
issues onto the political agenda."

Vital Voices member from Jordan, Nadia Bushnaq, president and executive
director of the Family Guidance and Awareness Center said:

"It is known that the progress of women in any country reflects the
magnificence of that same country. I have seen the impact of Vital Voices'
programs, not only in my life, but in the lives of other women. This award
supports our work in the region, encouraging us to reach even more women, to
expand our efforts to support an inclusive society."

About Vital Voices Global Partnership:

Vital Voices' mission is to identify, invest in and bring visibility to
extraordinary women around the world by unleashing their leadership potential
to transform lives and accelerate peace and prosperity in their communities.
It is an international non-governmental organization (NGO) that identifies,
trains and empowers emerging women leaders and social entrepreneurs around
the globe, enabling them to create a better world. Its international staff
and team of over 1,000 partners, pro bono experts and leaders, including
senior government, corporate and NGO executives, have trained and mentored
more than 8,000 emerging women leaders from over 127 countries in Asia,
Africa, Eurasia, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the Middle East since
1997. These women have returned home to train and mentor more than 500,000
additional women and girls in their communities.

Visit to learn more.

    Related Links:
    Vital Voices (

    Media Contact:
    Margaux Bergen
    Vital Voices Global Partnership


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