By: Zina Hassan Salama
Egypt finally hosted the World Congress of the International Federation of Business and Professional Women (BPW International) this week under the patronage of President Sisi.
The long-awaited event is an achievement that cannot be overstated. Egypt has been trying to host this event since 2002, and is now the second African country and the first ever Arab country to host this prestigious congress.
The five-day congress was held at the Mena House Hotel and attended by Ameenah Gurib – President of Mauritius Republic– ministers, ambassadors, members of BPW alongside some of the most successful businesswomen from every region of the world. The theme of the congress is “Making a Difference through Leadership and Action” and attempts to develop effective programs and solutions to help promote female equality.
All this is great news – very worthy of being reported, but allow me to report what I saw happen before my eyes during the opening ceremony of this congress last Monday at the Giza Pyramids. I saw 600 women from 73 different countries unite at one point in the world. I saw power in unity and in numbers.
Smiles lit up the faces of these women as they got off their seats to sing with Dalia and Lily. Women from all over the world, of different ethnicities, ages, skin color and body types were stomping their feet to the music, waving their country flags up high and dancing side by side. Music filled the hearts with oneness and joy, in the light of one collective intention: to promote gender equality.
“Since this is a gathering from all over the world, it was the perfect occasion to see art take its rightful place in our society. When powerful women come together, magic happens. Imagine when music is involved,” said Dr. Mona Zaki, Founder and President of Soft Power Productions and Chair of the Cultural Committee of BPW Egypt.
Female empowerment and the revival of fine arts in Egypt are forces of development essential for economic growth as well as social, cultural and intellectual progress.
I refer to them as forces because they hold values that are intrinsically transformative. I refer to them as forces because they are true agents of change.
The energy in this opening ceremony was so vibrant, you could feel it in the air.