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Global Women’s Action Network for Children launched in Jordan
DEAD SEA, Jordan, 11-13 June 2006 -- The Global Women's Action Network for Children launched at the opening ceremonies where prominent women leaders from around the globe were reminded about the interdependence and interconnectedness of nations, values, issues and vision and a call for unity of purpose in combating the global challenges of maternal and infant mortality and girls' education. The session's speakers also issued a powerful challenge to conference attendees to come together and harness their individual power and resources to turn the tide and move beyond dialog and advocacy to action and solutions to the immoral and unacceptable loss of life needlessly suffered by the world's women and children and the ongoing lack of access to education for some 100 million children.
Queen Rania Al-Abdullah opened the session and spoke of the importance of interdependence as the driving force in tackling humanity's oldest tragedies, and urged the gathering of women leaders to become advocates and actors to mobilize their political will on behalf of maternal mortality, inequality and children's suffering:
"… We believe that the driving force of modern times is interdependence. In the 21 st century, no country can afford to stand apart from the world, to thrive, it must be a part of the world…people today are interconnected as never before – through ties of commerce…culture…communication…and a growing moral consciousness that tells us it is wrong to leave strangers to suffer when we have the means to help them at hand.”
Former US Secretary of State Madeline Albright said it was time the world paid attention to women's health and education.
"We are here to serve notice that women and children have been dying needlessly for too long, that every life matters, and that a global network is coming together determined to defend children and save women's lives," Albright said in her address.
"We want the whole world to know about it and emulate Jordan's example," she told over 1,000 guests at the opening ceremony.
"We cannot succeed in building a powerful and just future for women and children without building strong relationships in the Middle East and we are very glad that Jordan will be a key leader in the region," Edelman added.
Queen Rania and other speakers reminded the audience of the high number of fatalities among pregnant women worldwide.
"These facts are not acts of God. They are our human choices. They can and must be changed. It is women who must lead the way," Edelman stressed.
Noble Peace Prize winner Jody Williams said change in societies would be accomplished when people make "serious efforts to make it happen."
"You do not have to be a president, a queen, a minister or a noble peace prize winner to make change. Anyone can do it," said William, who received the award in 1997 for her work on banning and clearing of anti-personnel mines.
"Each of you has the opportunity to make change. So go for it and be a leader of change," she added.