In recognition of Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day, the Atlantic Council, in partnership with Vital Voices Global Partnership, is convening a day-long conference exploring the pivotal role of women and girls in tackling the world’s most pressing challenges. 

Through insightful conversations and expert perspectives, the conference will delve into various facets of women’s leadership and empowerment. From shaping foreign policy agendas to advocating for equal access to resources, education, and rights, women are at the forefront of driving meaningful change globally. The conference will also highlight strategies and initiatives employed by women and girls to address multifaceted challenges, emphasizing their resilience, innovation, and determination in creating a more inclusive and equitable world for all. 

Join the Atlantic Council in amplifying the voices of women leaders, celebrate their accomplishments, and explore pathways for greater collaboration and impact. 


9:00 a.m. – 9:05 a.m. ET  |  Welcome and opening remarks

Welcome remarks
Adrienne Arsht, Executive Vice Chair, Atlantic Council

9:05 a.m. – 9:45 a.m. ET  |  The 2024 global election year: Risks to democracy and its impact on women

In a pivotal year for global elections, the role of women in democratic decision-making is paramount. As leaders’ decisions increasingly affect social justice and equality, women’s voices are crucial in strengthening democratic institutions and driving positive change worldwide. Global leaders will discuss the opportunity for women to impact positive change in a year where roughly half the world’s population lives in countries that will hold national elections, and who will vote on leaders that have the power to continue – or cease – our collective progress.  

Amanda Ellis,
Former Ambassador to the United Nations, New Zealand; Senior Director, Global Partnerships and Networks, Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory, Arizona State University
Alena Popova,
 Russian opposition politician and Fellow, Vital Voices
Wai Wai Nu, Executive Director, Women’s Peace Network
Muqaddesa Yourish, Visiting Professor, Elliott School of International Affairs, The George Washington University; Former Deputy Minister of Commerce, Afghanistan

Moderated by
Alyse Nelson, President and CEO, Vital Voices Global Partnership

10:00 a.m. – 11:20 a.m. ET  |  The economic roles of women during and after conflict

During conflict, with men often on the frontlines, women increasingly assume new or additional roles, stepping into jobs and responsibilities left vacant. This shift can often lead to a transformation in gender roles and economic participation, with more and more women becoming entrepreneurs and innovators and taking on leadership roles in small businesses and community organizations. 

Experts discuss how post-conflict economic reconstruction presents a unique opportunity to address previous inequalities and to build back better, fostering economies that are more resilient, diverse, and equitable.

This session will feature a keynote address, two 20-minute panel discussions on ongoing conflicts in Ukraine & Sudan, and discuss the importance of innovating for women’s inclusion in conflict and post-conflict economies.

Keynote remarks
Ambassador Melanne Verveer, Executive Director, Georgetown Institute of Women, Peace, and Security; Former U.S. Ambassador of Global Women’s Issues, US Department of State  

Opening remarks
Kimberly Donovan, Director of the Economic Statecraft Initiative, Geoeconomics Center, Atlantic Council

Regional panel | Ukraine | 10:20 – 10:40
Oksana Nechyporenko, Head of the Board, GoGlobal NGO; Co- Founder Masha Foundation & savED Foundation, and Former Crisis Center Coordinator, Ukrainian Embassy in Warsaw
Olga Zykova, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Finance, Ukraine
Moderated by
Natalia Etten,
Deputy Director, Millenium Leadership Program, Atlantic Council 

Regional panel | Sudan | 10:40 – 11:00 a.m.
Areig Elhag, Senior Interview Producer, Middle East Broadcasting Networks
Sarya Yassin, Digital Content Creator, Middle East Broadcasting Networks

Innovation for Inclusion | 11:00 – 11:20 a.m.
Ananya Kumar, Associate Director for Digital Currencies, GeoEconomics Center, Atlantic Council
Nicole Goldin, Nonresident Senior Fellow, GeoEconomics Center, Atlantic Council
Moderated by
Kimberly Donovan, Director of the Economic Statecraft Initiative, Geoeconomics Center, Atlantic Council

11:20 a.m. – 12:05 p.m. ET  | Impacts of malign influence campaigns on democratic institutions 

Women are disproportionately targeted by malign influence campaigns, targeted disinformation efforts, doxing, and other harassment in online spaces. Over time, this poses a grave threat to democratic societies. When half of a nation’s population cannot engage in free and open expression, the nation itself ceases to be free and open. Why and how are women being targeted in online spaces – including across demographics and platforms? Join for a conversation about how the national security community can come together to address the challenge.

Roberta Braga, Founder and Executive Director, Digital Democracy Institute of the Americas
Maggie Feldman-Piltch, Founder, Unicorn Strategies   

Kellee Wicker, Director, Science and Technology Innovation Program, Wilson Center 

Moderated by
Emerson T. Brooking, Senior Fellow, Digital Forensic Research Lab, Atlantic Council

12:05 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. ET  |  Networking lunch

1:00 p.m. – 1:55 p.m. ET  |  Boosting gender equality through climate action

Climate change is disproportionately affecting women and girls, especially in regions where women rely on work that is climate sensitive—such as agriculture and manual labor. Unequal access to education, employment, ownership, and decision-making opportunities is further widening the gender gap, rendering women more vulnerable and strapped for resources. Empowering women and improving their access to resources can have far-reaching effects, enhancing household and community resilience and advancing global sustainable development goals. Experts discuss how to power forward initiatives that meet the challenges of adapting to climate change and improving gender equality.

Fireside chat | 1:00 – 1:25
Damilola Ogunbiyi, CEO, Sustainable Energy for All
Moderated by
Lisa Friedman, Climate Change and Energy Reporter, New York Times  

Panel Discussion | 1:25 – 1:55
Renata Koch Alvarenga,
Founder & Executive Director, EmpoderaClima
Sarah Barton,
Director, Women & Girls’ Equality, Clinton Global Initiative
Jacqueline Musiitwa, Senior Climate Finance Advisor, USAID; Nonresident Senior Fellow, Africa Center, Atlantic Council
Sia Nowrojee, Senior Director, Girls and Women Strategy, United Nations Foundation
Moderated by
Maia Sparkman, Associate Director, Climate Diplomacy, Atlantic Council Global Energy Center

1:55 p.m. – 2:40 p.m. ET  |  New beginnings: Supporting women immigrant entrepreneurs to multiply their impact on economic growth

At their very core, immigrants and entrepreneurs share an appetite for risk-taking, spirit to innovate, and drive to succeed in the face of adversity. Immigrants or first-generation Americans are more likely to start businesses in the United States than people born in the country, playing a vital role in American society and economy. This panel will narrow in on the pivotal role that women immigrants have played in contributing to the US entrepreneurial landscape—and discuss how these women have continued to surmount the societal, linguistic, financial, and legal barriers that stand in their way. 

Rawan Al-Kharboosh, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, AtPoint tx
Christie Burley, Co-Founder,
Rajakumari Jandhyala, CEO and Managing Partner, YAATRA Ventures
Abai Schulze, Founder and Creative Director, ZAAF Collection

Moderated by
Nour Dabboussi, Assistant Director, Rafik Hariri Center & Middle East Programs, Atlantic Council

2:40 p.m. – 2:45 p.m. ET  |   Closing remarks

Jenna Ben-Yehuda, Executive Vice President, Atlantic Council  



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