Historically, international diplomacy has been predominantly male-dominated despite the indispensable role women have played in strengthening foreign relations, sustaining universal peace and guaranteeing the protection of human rights. As of 2023, women continue to be underrepresented in the multilateral arena, holding only 20.54 percent of ambassadorial positions. This represents a major increase from the mere 0.9 percent in 1968.

Since the first appointment of a female Arab ambassador in 1933, the Arab world has shown progress, with women constituting 10 percent of the region’s ambassadors in 2022, some serving as permanent representatives to the United Nations. This change reflects a growing recognition of the importance of women’s equal and meaningful representation in foreign policy and systemic breaking of stereotypical perceptions of gender roles in the Middle East and North Africa. However, the region still falls behind the global average for women’s participation in diplomacy.

The WIn Fellowship, part of the Atlantic Council’s empowerME initiative, is hosting an event to highlight the journeys of Arab women ambassadors. Current and former ambassadors will share their experiences, reflecting on the obstacles and opportunities that have shaped their understanding of the political capabilities and leadership styles of Arab women. They will explore the challenges in the diplomatic field and how Arab countries are addressing these issues. This event celebrates Arab women leaders and aims to inspire the next generation to break new ground in diplomacy.

Speakers & moderators

H.E. Sheikha Al-Zain Al-Sabah
Embassy of the State of Kuwait to the United States of America

H.E. Hanene Tajouri Bessassi
Embassy of the Republic of Tunisia to the United States of America

H.E. Amal Mudallali
Former Ambassador
Permanent Mission of Lebanon to the United Nations

Lynn Monzer
Deputy Director, empowerME
Atlantic Council (Moderator)

WIn Fellowship



empowerME at the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East is shaping solutions to empower entrepreneurs, women, and youth and building coalitions of public and private partnerships to drive regional economic integration, prosperity, and job creation.

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