Chi Nguyen captures the highlights of Day 1 of the Gender Alliance Summit
Day 1: A Summary
With more than 200 people from over 50 countries signed up to take part over the three days, this inaugural Gender Alliance Summit marks the first efforts to shape how this community can work together to achieve gender equality. With support from the Bosch Alumni Network Online Activities grant and the BMW Herbert Quandt Foundation, this session is being led by volunteer members from across these networks.
Opening Session: Gender Equality: Perception or Reality?
Hosted by ElsaMarie DaSilva, Armin Pialek and Chi Nguyen
Today’s Gender Alliance Summit began with a session that helped to focus on why this new emerging initiative could help to accelerate efforts towards gender equality. The summit was kicked off with a powerful keynote by Ambassador Louise Blais, Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations. She shared her own reflections on the march towards gender equality, from her perspective in her leadership roles as a career diplomat. She noted that gender equality is deeply connected to our own enlightenment, and called us to each of us to take actions: small and big to help advance this work.
Summit participants then spent some time in breakouts where we began to define what a successful alliance could look like. They also explored the kinds of ways that the alliance could support its members, and potential ways to collaborate. This session closed with a playful and symbolic moment: each of us took out a scarf or a tie, and wrapped it across our screens to form a fabric bond across the globe.
Hosted by Trini Saona, Carolina Acosta-Sheinfeld and Dalya Salinas
The first of the four thematic sessions explored the issue of Inclusive Diplomacy. With many forms of diplomacy being upended, in part by COVID-19, there is an important opportunity to reframe this field. Dr. Ines Kappert, head of the Gunda-Werner Institut, delivered remarks about why it is time to care. She introduced this notion of care as a critical value that we must recognize globally. She noted that the pandemic has demonstrated the essential place for care in our society, and that we must begin to centre care as part of our leadership, roles and work. With more than two thirds of care work being done by women and girls in our world, it is time for a radical rethinking of how much of this work is unpaid or underpaid.
Following Dr. Kappert’s remarks, the participants had a chance to explore how their own organizations could take on a healthier approach to care, and shared resources, ideas and ways that care could take on a more significant role. The session concluded with a few ideas and proposals that begin to emerge from the breakout groups — some of which will be workshopped in the final closing session on Friday!
Ms. Chi Nguyen
Chi has spent the past twenty years in the social change sector, and consults and advises on how these movements can build stronger bridges to disrupt systems of harm. She has also worked for some incredible do-gooding organizations including Social Innovation Canada, White Ribbon Canada, United Way Toronto, CBC and MASS LBP. She is a member of the BMW Responsible Leaders network, and the Global Diplomacy Lab. Her work has been recognised for improving the lives of women and girls throughout Canada by the Governor General (2004) and the YWCA (1999). She holds an MSc in Social Psychology from the London School of Economics, and loves her most important job as mom to Sam and Ellis.