tv Women Global Leadership CSPAN January 19, 2018 10:37am-11:15am EST
the challenge." >> anyone that says cocaine is not addictive they lie. >> when you do cocaine, you lie to yourself about being in control. >> cocaine is not hip. it's hype. anyone who tells you it's okay is a liar. >> watch "american history tv" every weekend on c-span3. >> next, an all women panel of foreign ambassadors to the united states talking about their lives and careers. they discuss overcoming challenges and offer advice to the next generation of women lead in other words global politics.
good evening, everyone. whether you're joining us in the room here and a lot of you are, or you're joining us online, thank you for being here for our smart women, smart power event tonight. we're delighted that seven ambassadors currently representing their countries here in washington can join us for a look at the view of the u.s. from abroad. as you may have noticed they happen to all be female ambassadors, a subset of those representing their countries here in washington. before we begin, i'll get to introducing the ambassadors in a few moments. first i want to give you a few social media reminders. we hope you're following us on twitter @smart women. there should have been handouts with all the ambassadors' twitter handles. if you're live tweeting use the #tag csi live. we have a smart women podcast with our smart women events. we hope you're following those, as well. our smart women smart power
speaker series wouldn't be possible without the support of citi. thank you very much for helping us amply nices the voices of women in international development. i'm pleased to welcome christian solheim, director of federal government affairs at citi. >> hi. happy new year. happy 2018. this is our fourth year sponsoring this series and i'm really excited to kick it off with this group of fabulous women. they have the most amazing resumes. they represent a slice of the women that are here in the united states representing countries from around the globe. so this is going to be a fascinating panel. the countries ta they're coming from you'll hear more about. but st. kitts and nevis, kosovo, rwanda, finland, sweden,
fascinating different places from around the world. i'm sure they all have different perspectives. they're all women so i'm sure there's going to be a little grain of similarity between their thoughts what's happening in if the united states and around the world. there's no one better than nina easton to conduct the panel and i know she's back from what looked like a phenomenal trip in africa. so excited to hear about that and a lot more. so thank you for being here. i'm happy to turn it back to kathleen hicks. [ applause ] >> thank you, kristin. thank to you citi for continuing support. i have the unenviable task of introducing these seven women and i say that because it's not without its challenges in enunciation. so i hope you will forgive me. i think i have this right. if i mess it up, please believe i tried. if you can just indicate who i'm
saying as i walk down the line. on stage, we have her excellency the ambassador of kosovo. her excellently the ambassador of libya. we have thelma phillip brown, ambassador of st. kitts and nevis. her excellency the ambassador of rwanda. her excellency ambassador of sweden. her excellently dr. arak aana, d her excellent ambassador of finland. the ambassador of the african union. our moderator is nina easton, also the chair of fortune's most powerful women international summit and the co-chair of the fortune global forum. thank you all again for joining
us. over to you, nina. >> thank you. a round of applause for all of these women, first of all. [ applause ] >> it is truly an awesome and entim dating experience to be around all these amazing women. we're first going to go down and talk to each of them a little bit about themselves and their countries and then we'll talk about some overarching geopolitical themes. i really want to include you. so once we do two rounds, we are going to take questions from the audience. go ahead and have them ready. there's cards. we will pick them up. and we will read off the questions to our participants. so thank you. i'm first going to turn to my left. from sweden, ambassador olaf's daughter. it's really interesting that sweden has what it overtly calls a feminist foreign policy. >> we do. >> how is that going and what is
it? >> it's going very well. we actually have the first fem mystic government that then has a femininistic foreign policy. >> you say femininistic. >> that's maybe a language thing. >> i like that word. >> in a way it's a shame we even need to have it and that is remarkable that we sit here as women, as well so in a way sad. but it's true. so i'm very proud and happy to represent a feminist tick government and being maybe the result of a femininistic government because i'm the first woman appointed as ambassador to the united states from sweden. going into policy, it's really something. it's not just a important policy. that is something that -- does it sound weird? actually, all of government is working on a femininenistic agenda. it doesn't matter which government agency. they have to real dig into equality issues, make sure that
their work is for equal rights and women and men have the same opportunities. we still have challenges in my country. does this -- it's okay? maybe i'm just hearing myself. no, but for instance, still in sweden, women only earn 87% of what men earn. there's a pay gap, et cetera. we have challenges in my country that we are dealing with nationally. but then the government thought it was very important to take these issues further and really in all our foreign policy matters we always have to look at women's issues. because it's very important that we really strive for that women have the same rights and responsibilities and representation as men. >> gin me an example of that. >> for instance, right now sweden is a nonpermanent member of the united nations security council. so in all the presidential statements that have been done on the security council since we've been there, 100% of them have included women's issues.
so that's one very important result i think. we bring it up in our development corporation much more than we did before focusing on women and their economic power and also sexual and reproductive health is extremely important to us. there we don't see eye to eye with u.s. administration right now. and we think this is very serious because of course, a lot of women die and are abused, et cetera. so those are issues that are very important. when we look to trade, we always try to look so where are the women and how can we through our work strengthen women as economic actors in the field. we do that with all countries so even krupps within the european union, we address it all the time. so it really is something that we consciously look at in all the issues we are working on. >> so your focus is bringing women's issues in. do you ever look at things like
conflict in a different way if it's a feminist foreign policy? >> i think so because what we have concluded is women are for instance represented in peace negotiations, you probably have a much more stable peace afterwards because women bring other issues to the table than men. so it's extremely important. and why shouldn't 50% of the population be included in all these issues? why have we been excluded before. it's just the right thing to do actually. >> so turning to the african union within the doctor, now this is interesting. she was for 25 years a medical doctor in tennessee in a town near where bev grew up. how do you say that. >> murfreesboro. >> both her daughters are graduated. one's already graduated from yale medical school and the other one is in jail medical school. pretty impressive.
what drove to you take on this position that you have now? >> well, i was minding my own business. actually in bed. it was exactly 3:02 in the morning when my phone rang. and it was then chairman of the african union chairman zuma informing me that my predecessor had turned in her resignation and that she was going to be running for president of tanzania. and that she couldn't think of anyone better than myself to take on that role. because i laughed at her. i couldn't see myself as an ambassador. i said, what do you think i know? i'm a medical doctor. and she reminded me that she
herself is a pediatrician. and that i should -- i should take some time and think about it. i thought she was kidding. about a week later, she called me again and then slowly i began to realize that she was really serious. so we joke about it. we say she quoted me like a man would be courting a woman. it took her six months to finally get me to say yes. but it was not an easy decision because it never occurred to me that my experience as a family physician would more than prepare me for diplomacy. and before i finally made the call to the chairman to say that i would take the position, i had
a conversation with my husband who reminded me of how as a physician we can very nicely tell a woman that she's overweight but that it is our problem together. and that together, we are going to deal with it. and that you and this woman who otherwise would be exceptional uncomfortable having this conversation can actually laugh about it, joke about it and get on this journey together. so he reminded me that every day sometimes ten, 20 times a day is one episode in diplomacy after the other because of the different scenarios that we run into as doctors.
we can picture a situation where in exam room number one it's a lady who just lost her husband that calls for a specific emotion at that time. and then you emotion at that ti. then you leave exam room number one to exam room number two, a young lady who just came back from her honeymoon, because she just got married. you are going through two extremes of emotion in a short period of time. the emotions and the changes that are required, they go on from one exam room after the other. each exam room being a different adventure and a different change of years at a much faster pace, i should say, in a doctor's life than what's happening in diplomacy. i can comfortably say being a doctor compared to what i would
have thought more than prepared me for what i am doing now. >> ambassador, as a doctor, can you diagnose the african union and tell us what the problems are? >> yes. i think the african union requires a multi-specialty approach. i think in some cases general surgery is definitely needed. in some cases, we need orthopedic surgeons to break some bones. in some cases, we need neurosurgeons to drill into the brains. occasionally, maybe we need a psychiatrist. yes, we do. >> i want to hear more about that in the next round of questioning. let's move on to finland. ambassador, finland has always been known as a country that is
pretty good on the gender equality level. what's fascinating is this new number that just came out that actually in your countrymen spend more time with their kids than women by eight minutes but still. >> eight minutes per day. >> do you think that's cultural? how much is cultural and how much is policy driven? >> i think it is both. culture has impact on policies and policies have an impact on culture. it is both. early on in the history of my nation -- by the way, the nation is 100 years old as an independent country. last year we celebrated our sen
t centenial. when we started as an independent country, finland was quite poor, one of the poorest countries in europe. we had a civil war and today we are one of the most successful countries in the world. if you want to find one sort of explanation, single most important explanation, we do think it is equality, gender equality, equality at-large. the social policies that we have put in place, all of them have the goal to promote gender equality. >> do you feel like you have made it and you are there or are there initiatives to go farther on that front? >> absolutely. like karen said, there are a lot of challenges. it is funny, even if you reach a
high level, you can never sort of rest, because there are always new challenges. there is even the possibility of sliding back. one of the big areas which we have is a very strong social policy. a lot of policies are in place to make it possible for women to be fully part of the workforce. also, to share the so-called burden of children equally between men and women. there are a lot of challenges. one of the areas which is a very challenging area is work. the work, jobs and work is changing very rapidly, because of technologies and because of
economic changes. how do you maintain the high level of, for instance, public services in that kind of a situation? that is one of the big challenges. i might also say or i should say that we have to remember that gender equality also means equality for men. in some areas in finland, we are more worried about what is happening to boys and men. so it is very important to remember that as well. >> same for us. >> that is very interesting. >> now, we turn to rwanda. ambassador, you spent a lot of time in this country teaching history in sacramento. how many years? >> ten years. more than that. >> before you took on this job? >> yes. >> what drove you? >> thank you so much. for a long time, i lived in california as a refugee.
with the experience that most rwandans went through, i left my country when i was 13. >> how long ago was that? >> prior to the genocide. i was pretty much separate from my parents for many countries until i landed in california for a number of reasons. what i can tell you is that rwanda never ceased to be part of us. in foreign countries, we tried to organize so we can go back. i always said the united states became one and i was given the opportunity to be able to go back. there was a time when you said rwanda was not a country we were proud to go back to because of
division and a few things. a few years back, it was one of the best things that i could embrace. the security i had in california and so on and so forth. for me, it was always like a mission and responsibility to give back. when we talk about women, most of them, the majority of people in rwanda, or at least now, they were refugees. the majority survived the horrible genocide. i don't want to go back to that but there was an institution
functioning. the women did a lot to survive, to mend the fabrics of the broken society and families and so on and so forth. also, the new leadership that was coming in was intending to use or to open the door to women. because, number one, because of the reality, more women survived. there was a big gender ratio that is corrupt in rwanda. there was 60% of women. for us, the empowerment of women was also part of recovery. not only that, but because even before the energy was cut, before the programs came, the women tried to take and mend to try to survive. our women, they are not subjects where you come and give
something. after the genocide and the recovery, it was a separate agenda. it was to practice framework. we are not perfect but what i'm saying once the legal framework came and we put it in the constitution, that women had to be represented, then we had that. >> in rwanda, they call it rosie, the riveter phenomenal. the men were killed and the women started businesses. >> yes. people died but women were even more violated than anybody. so, for instance, we had more than 600,000 rapes. >> 600,000?
>> yes. people were infected with h.i.v. we had generations of rwandans that were born out of rape. if you talk about reconciliation and what we had to put in place to bring a society that can function together, you have to think in terms of intimate reconciliation. when you look into the eyes of your child and you are able to forgive them and forgive yourself. someone who has accused your husband and you don't have proof that person was there. when we talk about reconciliations, it is a very up hill battle. but rwandans are able to function together and have an identity. it is one of the biggest challenges. we have the children that were born out of rape, children whose parents died during genocide, children whose parents are
killed. how do you bring society together? that's pretty much why i had to go to my country. there was no single way we were able to bring all these people together, able to bring a society that is functioning. you can't really remove the role of women. because of the women, they were married to the victims. they were sometimes the mothers to those children and they were violated at sometimes. you are looking at women who became kvery strong and build o resilience. >> turning to st. kitts, ambassador philip brown, tell us about your country. the smallest sovereign state in the western hemisphere. you did okay but not great during the past hurricane season with luhurricane irma and maria.
what are the key issues? >> first of all, thank you for having me. it is great to be among such a diverse group of wonderful women here. our country is the smallest in the western hemisphere. st. kitts and nevis, nevis is all of 36 square miles. it was a little large he but a tsunami took jamestown in the 1700s. pure beauty, both of them. they are interesting in that when the trade winds come off of africa, they are two of the first islands that the trade winds meet. normally, antigua and barbuda and st. kitts and nevis are the first to experience hurricanes. if you follow the track, they
were headed directly towards us. irma deviated a little north and maria deviated a little bit south. so we were spared. $150 million worth of damage. it is nothing to sneeze at but whether you compare it with dominica, over $3 billion. we have not commuted the damage and human suffering. we got off pretty good. in small islands and the lesser antilles, the islands are very close. we move around a lot. everyone in saint kitts and nevis has relatives in puerto rico and st. martin and so forth. so you are on facebook and asking where your relatives were. i department hear from didn't hy nephew in total for a week. the first sign i had of anything
to do with him, we had a picture with his pickup in the sea. that was frightening. then, i go back and people tell me of the devastation and the anxiety looking at the hurricane coming towards them. the extend yur to prepare for the hurricane. though they were happy, they still left a scar. at one time, they ran out of food because they had to send boxes to all these other countries. it is very traumatic for the islands. we are hoping against hope that this year is better. we are mindful of the issues of climate change. it might not be political
correct to say but for me who was born a stone's throw from the sea, 20 years ago, we had to build a seawall to keep the sea out. that is one of the biggest challenges we have, because it is a threat to our very existence. it is health, economics, security, mental health, everything. >> you are going to be facing that. it is getting worse as the years go. thank you for sharing that. >> moving on to libya, you are home here. you went to catholic university and got your chemical engineering degree and spent time at gwu. libya, talk about a country that's been through difficult times. you have been involved in rebuilding civil society and participation of women. where do things stand on that front now? >> you talking about women or the country? >> let's start with civil society.
>> well, first of all, i would like to thank you for organizing this great event. we follow it. thanks to all the participants and audience here. libya, my country, is going through a very challenging time. it's been challenging since the uprising in 2011. things didn't quite go according to our aspirations and hopes. despite all the challenges we are facing, hope still drives us to continue working to regain back our stability and rebuild our institutions. it is very much, i would say,
after the conflicts, a broken country with no institutions. it is not an easy job to rebuild. you need all the institutions to hold it so you can implement all of it and legislation and rule of law. now, women fought hard after the uprising to enter the political landscape and their aspirations were very high. nevertheless, after a while, security threats, instability, social and cultural barriers hindered those efforts a great deal. civil society was really strong right after the uprising and as my colleague, the ambassador of
rwanda said here, women step up always in crisis and they hold the society. this is what happened to libya while men were fighting on the front lines. it was women who had come together to take care of daily life so life would continue. nevertheless, when the dust settled down, we were back to square one, social, economic barriers surfaced again up. security threats and crimes and violence. the efforts of women, of course, faded. nevertheless, we are still hoping that we will come back
and start where we ended. >> i sense some pessimism in your voice while you try to be hopeful. >> it hasn't been easy. it has been very challenging and very difficult. it has been a tough 17 years on the country. each year, we were hopeful. we had great elections. we were on the road for democracy. we were fighting hard to promote women's rights and we were issuing legislation and society was very active. we were pushing hard for women participation. we didn't realize that things would have this turn and then it became security that became a priority now. it's not womens rights anymore.
when people are searching for security and tlo security and thriving. we have extremism and crimes and a lot of unsecured borders. it has been very challenging. we are hopeful of working out a plan with us. we hope it will work. i am cautiously optimistic. we might still have to struggle for some time. things don't stay status quo. people are struggling for daily life in a very rich country. health care, education, everything has become challenging and difficult.
to see that happening is sometimes way beyond bearing. it is very hard. >> kosovo, ambassador sidicu, your country went through difficult times and you have been involved in the campaign for women who were raped during the kosovo war. why don't you talk about the healing process that brought the country to where it is now? >> first of all, thank you very much for having us here. it feels great to be in an all-women conference. it is not very common. i am from kosovo, which is the youngest democracy and youngest democracy. my colleagues have heard this joke so many times and i keep repeating it, because i love it. we are just two years younger
than twitter. we are a very young demography. 70% of the population are under 30. so i'm not young for kosovo standards. it is by far the most extraordinary nation on earth. we have a bill clinton statue next to george w. bush boulevard. we are very unique. we are going to celebrate our tenth birthday next month. i was so envious of my finnish colleague. 100 years. when we grow up, i hope we will become like finland. it is truly an inspiring model
of gender equality. it is true kosovo has gone through a lot. just 18 years ago, it was a state on ruins, on ashes. over half of the population was deported. thousands of women were raped. families were destroyed. families were torn apart. but kosovo is no longer known only for its tragic past because of women. kosovo has become a story of success and inspiration. we were the first country in
southeastern european to have a commander in chief, a woman president. we also are the country with the largest number of golden miles per capita. so i don't confuse you, that is just one. that was also won by a woman, a young girl. she waited for her chance, because kosovo just joined the olympics and we had the chance to compete for the first time. there was this young woman. by the way, judo. you never say in kosovo you fight like a girl. you don't end up very well. there was this young woman who trai