The globally centred, dynamic United Arab Emirates welcomed the G100 last week from January 21-25. Dubai, as host of the spectacular Expo 2020 is a city of epic vision, effective infrastructure, and has an effervescent economic energy. Immersed in the splendid vistas and scintillating buzz of the city, the G100 global leaders reached out to those in need and advocated for the building of a more inclusive future for all.
The agenda of the UAE meetings was to seek guidance on the way forward towards meaningfully work in shared spirit and the cause of gender equality this decade, in accordance with 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), of which gender equality is a part as SDG 5.
Our meetings began by engagement with leading Emirati business group engaged in philanthropy. It was heartwarming to see their focus on gender equality along with climate and environment, and we agreed on next steps of cooperation.
Given the international activities happening during the Expo, we also had to opportunity to meet the delegation of businesswomen coming from Serbia and the Hon’ble Minister of Labor, Employment and Social Affairs who invited and welcomed us to Serbia, which we gladly accepted.
It was followed by an evening of leisurely exchange: of learnings, business cards, sisterhood bands, gestures of gifts from our cultures that each one had thoughtfully carried in our travels. At this meet and greet, we were also excited to welcome one Denim Club partner. His presence and commitment to join us was a great boost to our morale and efforts to engage the men for positive gender balance in all walks of life.
The following day was spent mostly with one on one meetings amongst the delegation members whilst walks on the beach, enabling deeper connections and stronger bonds.
The UNDP Afghanistan meeting was an eye opener. But for different reasons and with a very refreshing vision offered by a most dynamic businesswoman and young leader who told us and taught us not to pity or judge the people of Afghanistan, but instead to extend their support and strength to them; and to not isolate or alienate 40 million people but to care even more for them with actions and outreach in mutual respect, equality and dignity (these themes came up frequently as a worthy reminder to our shared humanity and oneness). We were deeply moved and invited Nilofar to lead the sector of Development Finance at the G100 so we could together build strength for her vision and efforts.
Of course, there was the essential visit to Expo2020 and especially to the UN Hub, Women’s Pavilion, and Slovenia Pavilion in honour of G100 Global Chair for Ecocivilisation, H.E. Violeta Bulc, former Deputy Prime Minister of Slovenia who was part of the delegation.