The Changing Middle East and the Implications for Women and Girls

On July 22, the Council on Women’s Leadership at Meridian hosted a discussion and book signing on The Changing Middle East and the Implications for Women and Girls. The conversation featured Kim Ghattas, the BBC’s State Department Correspondent and author of The Secretary: A Journey with Hillary Clinton from Beirut to the Heart of American Power (published in March 2013) and Eamonn Gearon, author, Middle East analyst and Professorial Lecturer at Johns Hopkins SAIS. It was moderated by Council Chair, Michele Manatt. Ms. Ghattas, who was born and grew up in Beirut, Lebanon, described her intellectual journey to better understand and explain to readers the machinery of U.S. foreign policy-making, which was heightened by the December 2010 and Winter 2011 events of the Arab Awakening, later the NATO-led military intervention in Libya, and the ongoing response of the Obama Administration to situations like the recent upheaval in Egypt. Ms. Ghattas balanced her sobering assessment of the macro picture with encouraging examples of women in countries across the region who are advancing in small business, independent media and science. Mr. Gearon stressed how Western observers must look beyond easy stereotypes and sound bites to more fully understand “other” cultures and traditions. Ms. Manatt opened the discussion to the audience, with questions about the danger of power vacuums and about simplistic perceptions of women in and outside of the Middle East. Attendees enjoyed informal conversation during a reception that followed the program, along with the opportunity to have copies of The Secretary signed and personally inscribed by the author.

Project summary

The Changing Middle East and the Implications for Women and Girls
Regions: Near East and North Africa
Countries: Lebanon
Impact Areas: Empowering Women and Girls, Cultural Diplomacy, Foreign Policy, Public Diplomacy
Program Areas: Forums
Partners: Individuals/Donors