The Hilton Dubai Jumeirah Resort was agog with an unusual activity from 20-22 November, 2014. It was not the wedding of some Arabian prince, No! It was the 2nd edition of the Africa –Middle East –Asia Women Summit.
This annual event is organized by the Centre for Economic and Leadership Development (CELD) in strategic partnership with the CEO Clubs Network Worldwide.
Delegates converged from countries cutting across the regions for 3 days of enlightenment, networking, brain storming, business sessions, experience sharing and peer-support in an intense and extraordinary level.
There were first ladies and representatives of first ladies of nations, royalties, ambassadors and their spouses, leading women of influence in politics, business, the arts, academia, sciences and entertainment; all gathered together under one roof.
Mrs. FuroGiami, the Executive Director of Centre for Economic and Leadership Development (CELD), gave the welcome address where she reiterated the objective of the summit, stating that the case for investing in women is consistently being made around the world with a range of overwhelming statistics and economic research justifying this case. She reminded the audience that the intention of the summit was not to overwhelm them with statistics but to find answers to salient questions, such as, how do women invest themselves and work together to achieve maximum results? How do we overcome the barriers that the staggering number of women owned SMEs face? (Which is just a third of the world SMEs), as it relates to market entry and business growth. How do we successfully replicate best practices and outstanding women empowerment initiatives across the regions here represented?
The Executive Director expressed satisfaction and confidence that the summit will produce answers to these questions based on the impressive list of renowned and experienced guest speakers present.
Dr. Tariq Ahmed Nizami, the founder/CEO of CEO Clubs Network Worldwide gave his opening remarks and the summit was officially declared opened.
Rep. Dee Haigler, Chair of the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus, USA gave the welcome charge, followed by the keynote address presented by H.ESheikhaLubna Al Qasimi, UAEs Minister for International Cooperation & Development, represented by MsHallaLootaha.
At about 11.30am, there was a networking tea break and group photograph where delegates exchanged business cards and pleasantries.
The group gathered again at 12.00pm and the President –elect of the National Black Caucus of State Legislators, USA, Sen. Catherine Pugh, gave the first presentation on the theme: Exploring Sustainable Financing Models for Women’s Economic Empowerment.
This was followed by a presentation on – Closing the Credit Gap: Solutions and Investment Implications of Women’s Access to funding by Mr. Peter Middlebrook, MD/CEO of Geopolicity Inc.
There was a panel on ‘The Heroine’s journey.’ During this session, leading Female entrepreneurs from Asia, Africa and the Middle East, shared their success stories and the impact of their work in various regions. The panel comprised of the following:
- Elizabeth Filippouli, Founder/CEO Global Thinkers, London-UK
- Pamela Ajayi, MD/CEO Pathcare Laboratory, Nigeria
- Sam Arshi, Founder of Life Design FZE
- Ana Lima Barber, Business Lawyer, Cape Verde
- Monika Agarwal, Executive Director , Oasis Elite. UAE
There was an animated question and answer session after which the women converged at the Iconic Hilton Jumeirah restaurant for Lunch.
The ‘Business beyond profit’ panel session followed immediately after lunch with panelist comprising of:
- Access Bank Nigeria Plc
- Shalaka Joshi, Managing Director, Asia Pacific of Toniic LLC,
- Peter Middlebrook, MD/CEO GeopolicityInc,
- Monika Papadopoulou, Community Relations Manager, Potential UAE.
This session was highly intense, as the panelists highlighted the various women empowerment initiatives in these regions as well as the possibility of replicating same in other nations and regions.
Furthermore,Shalaka Joshi, Managing Director, Asia Pacific of ToniicLLC, gave a presentation on the topic-An introduction to Impact Investing and a primer on the gender lens. Rep. Laura Hall, President, National Association of Female Black Legislators, USA, expatiated on Women’s Health: A missing sustainability issue; whilst Senator Gloria Butler, Vice Chair of the Georgia Legislative Black caucus, USA, spoke on ‘The power of women working with women.’
The curtain for the day, was drawn with Gloria Belendez –Rairez, a Mexican Motivational Speaker, giving a closing charge on‘Staying happy No Matter What!’This highly inspiring session left the delegates really charged up as they dispersed for the day.
Activities for Day 2 started with a Yoga (Women Yin & Flow) sessions alongside other games.
The Highlight of the event was the Africa –Middle East- Asia Amazons Awards and The Global Women Leaders Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. There was also a special legislative commendation from the Georgia General Assembly, USA, to some of the women for their contributions to the development of various sector. The day’s event came to an end, with the Anniversary celebration of the CEO Clubs Business Women Division and a raffle that saw participants winning all various gifts packages and expense paid trips to various holiday destinations around the world.
There was a professional Etiquette & Grooming Session on the 3rd day, bringing the 2nd African –Middle East –Asia Women Summit, 2014 to a successful end.
Amazons honored at the Awards and Induction Ceremony, are as follows:
- Her Excellency, Mrs. LordinaDramaniMahama, First Lady of the Republic of Ghana
- Her Excellency, SheikhaLubna Al Qasimi, UAE Minister for International Cooperation and Development
- Her Excellency, MrsAmina Abbas, wife of the President of the State of Palestine
- Her Excellency Mrs. Ligia Dias Fonseca , First Lady of Cabo Verde
- Mrs. Merit Gordon Obua , Wife of the Chief Security Officer to President Goodluck Jonathan, Nigeria/ Founder Branzukikuli Center for Social Rehabilitation(BICSR)
- EghoghoAdoghe –Sanomi, CEO Midel Group
- Shalaka Joshi , Managing Director, Asia Pacific of Toniic LLC
- Madam NillaSelomey, MD/CEO Universal Merchant Bank Ghana
- NgoziChianakwalam, Chairman(Chief Judge) Investments and Securities Tribunal, Nigeria
- Pamela Jackson Ajayi, CEO Pathcare Laboratories
- Patience Akyianu, MD/CEO Barclays Bank Ghana
- NimiAkinkugbe , Founder & CEO Bestman Games LTD
- ShikaAcolatse, Country Director of Enablis Ghana Enterprise Development Centre
- Precious MoloiMotsepe, Executive Chairperson, African Fashion International, South Africa
- AdedoyinOdunfa, Chief Executive Officer, Digital Jewel, Nigeria
- Clare Omatseye, Managing director, JNC International Nigeria Ltd
- SherifatAdebisiAjayi, Zonal Manager, Bank of Industry, Nigeria.