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Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Global Women's Action Network for Children-Closing Ceremony

Dead Sea, Jordan

Thank you, Marian, for your warm words, … for your wise words… and for your inspiring words to us all just now. 

When I opened this conference, I spoke about the challenge ahead of us – one that we must all jointly embrace – to set in motion a "reverse domino effect" where every woman lifts another up and passes the gift of strength on. 

This morning, though you may not know it, I think you all look taller and stronger than when we started…

One woman who is looking particularly tall and strong is Maha.

On Sunday, you heard how Maha, a young woman from Yemen, overcame tremendous odds to complete school… walking many kilometers everyday… suffering physical and psychological hardship… straining relations in her own family and community… she even learned how to sew so that she could buy her own school books. 

I met Maha yesterday.  Maha, where are you?  Your story…your spirit and your stamina have really inspired me…

Equally, I know that your wings have been strengthened by all our friends here…

And that's what this network is all about…the will of women like Maha… and  the conscience of women like Marian… women like all of you.  That is the strength of our network…

… Women from different parts of the world… different sectors… different backgrounds… different cultures… Women who are on course.

And yet, there are millions of women who are off course, through no fault of their own.  Women who are lost to the world every day. Professor Amartya Sen has called them “the missing women”… Women who did not have access to professional care during child birth… girls who are doing housework rather than homework… babies who died for want of a knit cap.

We need to find them. And I have the confidence we can.

By strengthening partnerships from grassroots communities to NGOs to corporations and governments…we will nurture the most basic partnership of all a mother and her baby.

By speaking for those whom the world cannot hear, we will echo their stories in the halls of power and bring about real change.

By engaging today’s young girls and showing them the power they have within, we will help save the next generation of at-risk mothers and babies.

It will not be easy; the launch of the Global Women’s Action Network for Children is our first marker. But the real measure of our success will not be what we have accomplished here, but what we will do when we leave.

So, as you head home, let us remember… that to the world, each of us may be just one woman, but to one woman, we may be the world…

Thank you very much.