Vital Voices Ukraine Summit Features Leadership Initiatives for Young Women of Eurasia

    KYIV, Ukraine, Oct. 16 /CNW/ -- With the words to a new pop song, "Not
For Sale," echoing in their ears, women leaders seeking to advance civil
society and combat human trafficking in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet
Union were the focus of Vital Voices of Eurasia: A Leadership Summit for Women
& Girls, launched by the international nonprofit Vital Voices Global
Partnership here today.
    The Washington, DC-based NGO, dedicated to building the capabilities,
connections, and credibility of women leaders around the world, opened the
second of five high-profile women's training, leadership development, and
mentoring Summits it is conducting in different world regions as part of a
four-year project, Vital Voices 2010: A Global Leadership Initiative for Women
and Girls.
    During four days in Kyiv, 150 Eurasia Summit participants from 25
countries will be encouraged to seek political and governmental careers by
distinguished female mentors such as former Canadian Prime Minister Kim
Campbell, Baroness Mary Goudie, Member of the British Parliament, and former
U.S. Congresswoman Connie Morella (R-MD,) who has just completed a term as
Permanent Representative to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and
Development (OECD.) The emerging female leaders will learn corporate and
business strategies from top women executives from Boeing Co., Coca Cola Co.,
Wells Fargo & Co., and LexisNexis; they'll be counseled by prominent women
from major international nonprofits, foundations, and government agencies; and
they'll mingle with regional officials including Ukraine's First Lady Kateryna
Yushchenko and Foreign Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, along with former First
Lady and foundation leader Jolenta Kwasniewski of Poland
    "Without the full and equal participation of women, democracy cannot
flourish, market economies cannot grow, and nations cannot advance. Global
prosperity depends on women having the right to jobs, education, and credit,"
said United States Senator Hilary Clinton (D-NY,) by video, in a moving
message that opened the Summit, which commemorated a conference of 300
international female leaders in Vienna when Mrs. Clinton was First Lady. The
agenda of that historic conference, Vital Voices: Women and Democracy, was to
explore ways to strengthen the role of women in developing open, democratic
societies in the emerging countries of the former Soviet Union and Eastern
Europe. The 1997 conference inspired both the name and the mission of Vital
Voices Global Partnership, which has since built a Global Leadership Network
of 5,000 women leaders in 85 countries, focusing on three key areas:
generating political opportunities, increasing political participation, and
protecting human rights.
    "We are here to celebrate 10 years, but there's still a lot of work to
do. So get in there and use your power," Melanne Verveer, Co-Founder and Chair
of Vital Voices, and an organizer of the original conference, told the
gathering. Ambassador Morella cited OECD statistics that underscore Ms.
Verveer's message: Women constitute 40% of the work force internationally, yet
they occupy only 10.4% of corporate board seats, 17% of parliamentary seats,
and 32% of managerial positions. Former Prime Minister Campbell added her hope
that the gathering might "inspire young men to think that great things are
possible for their sisters."
    One of the organization's youngest "vital voices," Ukranian pop singer
Ruslana Lyzhchko, winner of the 2004 Eurovision song contest, appeared at a
press conference with Vital Voices leaders to announce a joint public
awareness campaign to combat human trafficking in Eastern Europe and the
former Soviet Union. Ruslana played excerpts from a new song she has written,
"Not for Sale," that encourages young women to be wary when shady recruiters
approach them with promises of high-paying jobs abroad.
    Vital Voices of Eurasia: A Leadership Summit for Women & Girls is
supported by the U.S. Department of State; UNESCO: National Commission of
Ukraine for UNESCO; Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Ukraine; AntiAIDS
Foundation, Ukraine, and founder Elena Franchuk; and corporate partners Liz
Claiborne, The Coca Cola Co., Chevron, Procter & Gamble, ExxonMobil, CH2M
Hill, Marathon Oil, LexisNexis, Microsoft, and Avon.
    About Vital Voices Global Partnership
    Established in 1997 as a government program and in 1999 as a 501(c)3
nonprofit corporation, Vital Voices Global Partnership believes in the
transformative value of women's participation in society. Vital Voices has
invested in over 5,000 women leaders in 80 countries - pioneers of economic,
political, and social advancement in their countries - and has helped build
the capabilities, connections, and credibility these women have needed to
unlock their potential as catalysts of global progress.

    For more information about please contact:
    Eileen White Read, media contact, Vital Voices Global Partnership
    Phone 8 095 480 9058 in Kyiv until 18 Oct. 2007
    Phone (202) 861-2625 in Washington, DC

For further information:

For further information: Eileen White Read of Vital Voices Global 
Partnership, 8 095 480 9058 (in Kyiv until 18 Oct. 2007), +1-202-861-2625 (in 
Washington, DC), Web Site:

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