African Women Senior Government Leaders Converge with U.S. Counterparts on Capitol Hill

Julia Duncan-Cassell, Liberia’s Minister of Gender and Development, listens to remarks.
Julia Duncan-Cassell, Liberia’s Minister of Gender and Development, listens to remarks.

On April 21, Meridian partnered with The Coca-Cola Company and Yale University Office of International Affairs to host a breakfast discussion for 11 women senior government leaders from Ethiopia, Liberia, Senegal, Tanzania, Tunisia, and Uganda. The event, which was held in the U.S. Capitol as part of Meridian’s Global Dialogue Series, provided the women leaders with a chance to engage with over 25 of their professional counterparts and other experts on women’s governance in North and Sub-Saharan Africa.

The African women leaders serve as cabinet ministers, parliamentarians, judges and in other senior government positions. They were in Washington as participants of the Leadership Forum for Strategic Impact, a leadership exchange partnership led by Yale and the Spain-based Fundación Mujeres por África. The program consists of a series of discussions and debates on key issues faced by women in leadership positions across the globe.

Ambassador Stuart Holliday, President and CEO of Meridian International Center, provided introductory remarks. The group also heard from Ted Wittenstein, Director of International Relations and Leadership Programs at Yale University; Curtis Etherly, Director of Government Relations with The Coca-Cola Company, Maria Teresa Fernández de la Vega, President of the Fundación Mujeres Por África and Former Deputy Prime Minister of Spain, and Congressman Ami Beri (D-CA-7), a Member of the House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations. This was followed by table conversations among the African women leaders and their U.S. peers.

In addition to Congressman Bera and the other noted leaders, the breakfast was attended by His Excellency Faycal Gouia, Ambassador of Tunisia to the United States; Marisa Lago, Assistant Secretary for International Markets and Development, U.S. Department of the Treasury; Todd Haskell, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of African Affairs, U.S. Department of State; Dr. Nancy Lee, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Women’s Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Michael Goltzman, Vice President of International Government Relations and Public Affairs, The Coca-Cola Company; and visionaries from Albright Stonebridge Group, American Association of University Women, Brookings Institution, DC Mayor’s Office of Community Affairs, International Foundation for Electoral Systems, International Republican Institute, Millennial Challenge Corporation, National Democratic Institute, Running Start, The Washington Post, U.S. Agency for International Development, and the Wilson Center.

Photos by Joyce Boghosian

Project summary

African Women Senior Government Leaders Converge with U.S. Counterparts on Capitol Hill | April 2016
Number of Visitors: 11
Number of Attendees: 29
Regions: Africa, Near East and North Africa
Countries: Ethiopia, Liberia, Senegal, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda
Impact Areas: Empowering Women and Girls
Program Areas: Convening
Partners: Private Sector, NGOs