October 21 2016

Gulf Area Office: Helmut Kutin represented SOS Children’s Villages International in high level conference for women and girl empowerment

The second conference of ‘Investing in the Future’ (IFFMENA), an event that aims to overturn negative cultural stereotypes that hinder women's progress in the Middle East, was held in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates from the 19th to 20th October under the theme of ‘Building the Resilience of Women and Girls in the Arab Region.’

SOS Children’s Villages was presented in the conference by highlighting the importance of the role of women and girls in the region.
Organized by The Big Heart Foundation, a Sharjah-based international humanitarian body dedicated to helping the vulnerable and people in need worldwide, IFFMENA was run in collaboration with the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women. The conference took place under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah and Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Wife of His Highness The Ruler of Sharjah, Chairperson of the Big Heart Foundation, UNHCR Eminent Advocate for Refugee Children and Chairperson of the NAMA Women Advancement Establishment.

The IFFMENA conference brought together government officials, representatives of international organizations and NGOs, advocates of gender equality, academics and a number of regional and international media personalities. It aimed to be a platform for participants to forge new partnerships, share successful practices and develop innovative methods for gender equality. During the event, the participants were able to discuss the progress achieved by women in MENA, outlining the measures to introduce a sustainable approach to development and formulating an integrated package of programmes designed to build the capacities of women and young girls.

During day one of the conference, Mr Kutin participated in a lively debate on the resilience of women and girls within the theme of education and employment. Other speakers alongside Mr Kutin included Naser Haghamed, CEO, Islamic Relief Worldwide, Ngoné Diop, UN Economic Commissioner for Africa and the Right Honorable Priti Patel MP, Secretary of State for International Development for the UK Government, who opened the discussion.