The Role of Universities in Advancing the Work of International Development Especially the Struggle for Gender Equality,” was the title of May Rihani’s talk at the International Conference on Gender and Politics, held in Ouarzazate, the “door to the desert”, a Moroccan town at the edge of the Sahara. Held on October 24 to 26 this year, the conference theme was Women and Politics in an Age of Uncertainty: The Road to Sustainable Democracy and Democratization. The conference was organized by a partnership of two universities: the Ibn Zohr University in Morocco and the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the US. 12 Moroccan universities participated as well as 44 international universities from around the world including 17 from the US.

May Rihani was invited to speak by Panel Chair, Dr. Rita Stephan, Director of the Middle East Partner Initiative (MEPI) in the US State Department. The panel was entitled “The Role of International Institutions in Fostering Gender Equality in Relation to Democracy.” May Rihani highlighted the significant role many universities play in forming various kinds of partnerships to advance International Development and their important contribution to socioeconomic analysis of gender inequality. She championed those universities who understand their role as centers where younger generations learn to become future professionals in the field of International Development. And she emphasized how universities can lead by example in ensuring respect for some basic principles of International Development, such as: gender equality, multicultural approaches, multidisciplinary approaches, and the value of diversity.
Professor Fatima Sadiqi from the University of Fez in Morocco gave the opening keynote address entitled: New Post-Revolution Female Voice Recreating North African Feminisms from WithinAfter the conference, May Rihani met with our Gibran Chair’s new Morocco partner, Joussour, under our new International Development project Women as Partners in Progress (WPP). The goal of WPP is to strengthen the leadership and amplify the voices of women in three Arab countries, Morocco, Jordan, and Kuwait. WPP is funded by MEPI at the US State Department.
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