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Diplomacy in Action

Effective Leadership for the 21st Century Economy: Popular Culture and Positive Role Models for Women and Girls

Melanne Verveer
Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women's Issues 
The Georgia Aquarium
Atlanta, GA
October 4, 2012


Welcome, all of you, to what I know will be an exciting and thought-provoking day.  President and CEO of Womenetics Elisabeth Marchant never disappoints when it comes to getting the most influential and inspirational women in a room to tackle our most timely issues!  So I am confident this year will be another success. I remember when I joined you in Atlanta in 2010 as you launched this remarkable program.  And I knew then, that this program had a global and sustainable reach.  I am so sorry I can’t be with you today, but I welcome you all—so many of my friends and colleagues—and I encourage you to make the most of this opportunity for discussion about women in the media.

Secretary Clinton has said that we are living in a “Participation Age,” an age where information can easily transcend borders, opinions and ideas can scale firewalls, and every woman and man can be a contributing and valued member of the global community.  You all know this better than anyone—how media affects participation, and how women in the media make a palpable difference in how we talk about what we talk about.  A growing body of empirical research shows that the vast majority of economic and political issues facing our world today cannot be solved without the participation of women.   Connect a small businesswoman to capital and training, and she can grow her income and become a powerful contributor to GDP growth.  Include women in governments and in peace-talks, and they can help ensure that vital issues are addressed long before they become destabilizing crises, government ministries are better run, and peace agreements are sustained.  Educate a girl and she will be more likely to raise healthier and more educated children, earn a better a living and end the cycle of poverty.

To those of you who submitted essays that provided thoughtful consideration of these topics being discussed today, I say thank you.   You are our next leaders and I commend you for your work and dedication. I urge you to continue your work and passion because you are our hope for the future. I can see we are in good hands.

I wish you all the best.

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