Women building bridges

Proposals from the South for global change


H. M. the Queen of Spain

Honorary President of the Women for Africa Foundation.


She is currently President of the Council of State of Spain. She is also President of the Women for Africa foundation. As the first female Deputy Prime Minister in Spanish history, Ms. Fernández de la Vega has inspired many women to pursue politics and defend the rights of women.

Shortly after obtaining her law degree and becoming a judge, she entered politics where she took on various roles as Secretary of State of Justice, parliamentarian and general secretary of the Socialist Parliamentary Group. Maria Teresa has also been a member of the Civil Society Advisory to UN Women.

In 2012, she founded the Mujeres por África Foundation, for the purpose of contributing to the development of Africa through the drive of its women.


Dr. Abla Abdel Latif is currently the Chair of the Presidential Advisory Council for Economic Development; and the Executive Director and Director of Research of The Egyptian Center for Economic Studies (ECES). She has been in both positions for the last six years.

Her professional experience is also extensive, starting from being the Policy Unit Manager in the Industrial Modernisation Centre (IMC) to being the Minister of Industry’s Advisor shortly after the 25th of January Revolution and until 2015 when she became the main economic advisor to the President of the Republic. She was also a Member of the Central Bank of Egypt’s Coordinating Council, and a Board Member of the National Bank of Egypt – the first female in this position, for over six years. She has also been a senior international expert in several UNIDO projects and other international organizations.

In 2013, she was honored with membership of the Committee of Fifty, whose mission was to draft Egypt’s Constitution following June 30, 2013. In that capacity, she was officially representing the Egyptian Federation of Industries, and one of only five females in the Committee.

She is also a cofounder and Board Member of BASEERA (the Egyptian Center for Public Opinion Research), and “El Nidaa” Foundation for job creation for women and youth in Upper Egypt.


Advocate for education as a structural axis, women’s empowerment, gender equality and economic progress.

Commissioner for Human Development and Gender of ECOWAS (2008-2014). In this capacity, she was responsible for the departments of education, science and technology, gender, youth, sports and culture, and social and humanitarian affairs (2008-2014). She was Director of Communication at ECOWAS (1997-2010).

Before joining ECOWAS, she was a journalist at RTS (Radiodiffusion Télévision Sénégalaise) (1985-1997) and production manager of the society magazine “Zoom Sur”. At the same time, she taught at CESTI (Centre d’ Etudes des Sciences et Techniques de l’ Information) and directed the magazine “Démocratie locale” (1995-1997).

Adrienne DIOP was Senegal’s ambassador to Malaysia from 2015 to 2018.

AISSATA LAM (Mauritania)

General Director of the Mauritania Investment Promotion Agency (APIM), the government entity in charge of direct national and foreign investments, as well as the country’s investment climate.

Through APIM, Ms. Lam promotes and implements the vision of Mauritania, led by H.E. President Mohamed Ould Cheikh El Ghazouani, for a sustainable and more inclusive development driven by stronger productive sectors.

Ms. Lam is passionate about youth and women’s economic empowerment on the continent, access to finance for start-ups and SMEs, and driving the ecosystem for women entrepreneurs. She is a co-founder of the Young Chamber of Commerce of Mauritania, an organization created with the mission of bridging the gap between young Mauritanian professionals and entrepreneurs, mainly through the i-Lab, an innovation laboratory and venture capital fund, launched in partnership with the National Bank of Mauritania.

Ms. Lam is also a member of the advisory boards of the G7 Gender Equality Council led by French President Emmanuel Macron and the Middle East Institute.


– President of African Alliance for Women Empowerment.

– President of the African Congress for Women Entrepreneurs

– Chair of FEMNET (African’s Women Development and Communication Network).

– President of Egyptian Business Women Association (EBWA)

-President of the Africa Business Council.

– Chair of Trade Promotion Committee, COMESA Business Council (Common Market of Eastern and Southern Africa).

– Past International President International Federation for Business and Professional Women (BPW).

-President of Organization of Women in Trade OWIT – Cairo Chapter.

– President of the Afro-Arab Network for the Empowerment of Women. President of the Federation of Businesswomen’s Associations of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa.

– Founder and Chair of African Training Center for Women and Youth Entrepreneurs and support of SMEs ( Hatchepsut Women Business Development Center and Business Incubator )

– Secretary-General African Society for Scientific Research and Technology.

– Vice President of the Business Council. President of the Human Resources, Science and Technology Cluster of AUECOSOCC. Secretary-General of the African Society for Scientific Research and Technology.


Director of the Gender Affairs Division, United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean.

An advocate for women’s human rights and gender equality, with 30 years of experience in Latin America and the Caribbean, she has been a UN Women representative in Colombia, and previously in Mexico and sub-regional director of UN Women for Mexico, Central America, Cuba and the Dominican Republic, as well as regional advisor to the United Nations Population Fund, UNFPA.

She has previously worked with the World Health Organization (WHO), the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the British Government’s Department for International Development (DFID), the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID), the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) and the Flora Tristan Peruvian Women’s Center.

Dr. Güezmes is a health physician, specialist in community health and management and international cooperation.


Angellah Kairuki is a Tanzanian politician and Currently, She is a Chairperson of the National Advisory and Coordinating Committee on Generation Equality Forum Implementation on Women’s Economic Justice and Rights in Tanzania.

Previously she served as the Minister of State responsible for Investment; Minerals; Public Service and Good Governance; Land, Housing and Human Settlement; and Constitutional and Legal Affairs.

Furthermore, In 2014, Ms Kairuki was selected as a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader. Angellah is an advocate of the High Court of Tanzania and a Member of Tanzania Institute of Arbitrators.


Expert in economic intelligence, entrepreneur and community activist.

Based on more than 25 years of experience in business development and strategic consulting, she manages an integrated group of companies serving foreign investors wishing to establish themselves in Morocco. In 2019, she was awarded the prize of the female entrepreneur of the year by TV5.

President of AREFFE (association of French-speaking networks of women entrepreneurs) since 2018, national president of AFEM (Association of Women Entrepreneurs of Morocco) and of the incubator network Maroc Premières from 2015 to 2018; she is also a member of AFAEMME (Association of Women Entrepreneurs of the Mediterranean) based in Barcelona.

In addition to her professional and associative activities, she is an international lecturer on women’s economic leadership.


Libyan researcher, independent consultant and human rights advocate based in Canada.

She holds a Master’s degree in Public Health from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Ayat has held various positions ranging from academia as a researcher at the Vaccine and Drug Evaluation Centre to government where she was a policy analyst at the Manitoba Legislative Assembly.

Ayat is currently the MENA region curator for the Stories of Girls Resistance, a global feminist storytelling project and course facilitator for anti-racism training in the Canadian public service.

Ayat is the founder of the widely recognized ShababLibya (the Libyan Youth Movement), a social media platform which launched to counteract the regime’s media blackout by reporting the uprising using a network of sources inside Libya.

Ayat is a member of Karama, a regional women’s network across the Middle East and North Africa.

BARBARA HENDRICKS (Sweden/Switzerland)

Since her debut in 1974 she has performed on the world’s most prestigious opera and concert stages. Her vast repertoire spans from baroque to contemporary opera, concert, chamber music and jazz. She is one of today’s best-selling recording artists. In 2006 she started her own label, Arte Verum for which she records exclusively.


An avid human rights activist, she is UNHCR’s only Honorary Ambassador for Life. Today marks 35 years of service to the refugee cause. At the end of 1991 and 1993, she gave two solidarity concerts in war-ridden former Yugoslavia (Dubrovnik and Sarajevo). In 1998 she founded the Barbara Hendricks Foundation for Peace and Reconciliation coordinating her work for refugees and Human Rights Defenders. She works closely with the European Women’s Lobby. Among the many awards Barbara Hendricks has received for her artistic achievements and humanitarian work include Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur, Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres, Prince of Asturias Award; she is a Member of the Swedish Academy of Music.


UN Women Representative in Colombia.

Prior to joining UN Women, she held high-level positions in the Government of Spain as Secretary of State for Equality (2010 -2011) and Minister of Equality (2008 -2010).

At UN Women, Bibiana Aido has served, from 2011 to 2013, as Special Advisor to the first Executive Director of the organization, Ms. Michelle Bachelet, and from 2013 to 2017, as Program Advisor for the Americas and the Caribbean at the headquarters office, during which time she was in charge of the design and development of programs to promote gender equality in the region, as well as the coordination of intergovernmental processes.

She was the UN Women Representative in Ecuador from 2018 to 2021 and since March 2021 she is the UN Women Representative in Colombia, from where she leads initiatives in the normative, programmatic and coordination areas on gender equality and women’s empowerment.


Mme Bineta Diop, is since 2014, the Special Envoy of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission on Women, Peace and Security. She is the Founder and Chair of the Board of Femmes Africa Solidarité (FAS), an international NGO created in 1996, that seeks to foster, strengthen and promote the leadership role of women in conflict prevention and peacebuilding in Africa, Ms. Diop has led numerous programmes to enhance women’s participation in peace processes.

She played an instrumental role in achieving gender parity within the African Union Commission, the adoption of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (2003) and the Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality in Africa (2004). She led the setting up of the Gender is My Agenda Campaign Network (GIMAC).

Ms. Diop received numerous honours and awards. In 2011, Time Magazine declared her one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World. Ms.Diop studied Management in France and Public Relations and Communication in Switzerland. She received an Honorary Doctorate from the United Nations-mandated University for Peace in 2012 and an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Middlesex in London, UK, in 2014.


President of the Association des Femmes des Médias (AFEM). A Congolese organization of women journalists that has been working for 20 years to promote gender equality and fight against sexual and gender-based violence. AFEM has a thematic radio channel whose editorial line is gender equity and the promotion and participation of women. It is the first and only thematic and gender sensitive radio station in the region and throughout the country.

Caddy ADZUBA is also the director of FPM/ asbl, a structure she created 7 years ago, whose mission is to build resilience for women’s empowerment.

She is a lawyer and journalist specializing in gender and women’s leadership. She campaigns for women’s rights in her country and especially denounces the sexual violence used as a weapon of war since the beginning of the armed conflicts in DR Congo in 1996. Caddy ADZUBA is a member of the advisory board for the Women’s Alliance for Peace. She has received several international awards.


Carla Fibla García-Sala is an analyst journalist specialized in Africa and the Middle East.

She has lived and traveled in the MENA region (Maghreb and Middle East) for more than 15 years, opening two news posts for Cadena SER and La Vanguardia.

With a degree in Journalism and specialized in International Information and Southern Countries. At the age of 22 she settled in Cairo (Egypt), where she began her professional career working as a freelance for several media. She later joined the editorial staff of Diario 16 (Madrid) and Euronews (Lyon, France) and collaborated in the launching of several journalistic projects such as El Estado Mental or Contexto. As well as advising NGOs such as Action Against Hunger, Vicente Ferrer Foundation or Amnesty International. She has also collaborated with institutions focused on development cooperation such as AECID and FIIAP.

She has published six books of essays and interviews on migration, human rights, democracy and governance; subjects in which she has specialized. And she has received several awards, most recently the Saliou Traoré Prize from the EFE Agency and Casa África 2020.

In 2021 she worked as a correspondent for the magazine Mundo Negro and El País from South Africa, covering the southern African region and is currently part of the editorial staff of Mundo Negro coordinating the Cultures and African sections, as well as covering current affairs.

CATHERINE SAMBA-PANZA (Central African Republic)

A corporate lawyer and human rights activist, she has led numerous actions in favor of women’s rights within civil society. Woman of mediation, noted for having assumed the presidency in a country suffering from a violent crisis and for her role in conflict resolution (conciliator between Christians and Muslims) and for her “political neutrality”.

An active promoter of gender equality, she advocates for the importance of women’s effective participation in peacemaking, peacebuilding, conflict prevention and mediation processes.

As a female political leader, she is active in advocating for the increased participation of women in political governance.


Distinguished Scholar at the Shar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University and Research Fellow at the Transnational Crime, Corruption and Terrorism Center (TraCCC).

Founder and Executive Director of Be Just.

Member of the International Board of Transparency International.

Former judge, defender of Judicial Independence.

Recognized with the Democracy Award (2017) for her fight against corruption.

Impact topic: Judicial independence as a tool in the fight against corruption.


I am currently Chairwoman of the COTEC Foundation and I am a member of several advisory boards such as Unicef, Spanish Association Against Cancer (AECC), etc… and on the boards of Universities such as the European University.

I am an independent director on the boards of Caixabank, Grupo Logista, Mediaset and Ysios Capital Partners. I have founded several companies such as the Spanish-American company, Satlantis Microsats, of which I have been president until December 2020.

I have recently been appointed advisor to the European Commission as a member of the Space Advisory Council of the European Union.I was Minister of Science and Innovation of the Spanish Government during the IX Legislature (2008-2011).

I have been an advisor to the European Commission as a member of the High Level Group on maximising the impact of EU Research & Innovation Programmes, which has formulated recommendations for the design of the 9th Framework Programme (2021-2027) of the European Union.


Began in the film industry as an actress in 2008. In 2014 she writes, directs and produces the play A Lifetime of Blues, which wins the Best Set Design Award at the Namibian Film and Theatre Awards that same year.

In 2017 she worked as production manager on Namibian director Vickson Hangula’s film Fish Out of Water. The White Line, released in 2019, is her first film as a director. A romantic historical drama, set in 1963 in South West Africa (now Namibia), during the height of the apartheid regime.

Shot with a small crew of 28 people, in three cities, it premiered in 2019 at the Durban International Film Festival and has won, among others, the Best Screenplay Award, Best Direction and the Audience Award at the Namibia Film and Theatre Awards 2019. To which must be added a special mention at the Luxor African Film Festival in 2020.

Kahikopo is currently preparing his next feature film, a psychological drama entitled A Whisper in the Wind, about a woman who lives marked by the trauma of sexual abuse experienced in childhood. She is also working on two other projects, the comedy-drama Rose on Concrete and The Warrior Princess, written by Tokoloho Masemene.


Political Leader, Activist and Entrepreneur.

1995: Created STRATEGIES!, a Leadership and Management consulting firm.

2007: Recognized as one of the 7 influential women entrepreneurs in Africa by the World Bank.

2008: Founded the civil society movement “Cameroon O Bosso” in favor of citizen participation, especially of women and youth.

2011: Only woman to run for president. President of the Cameroon People’s Party (CPP).

2016: Launched the citizen movement “Stand Up For Cameroon” which campaigns for a political transition in Cameroon.

She has been recognized with several awards: The Vital Voices Global Leadership Award in public Life (2012), the DVF Award (2014), and the Vital Voices Vanguard Award (2015).


Politician, Economist and Social Entrepreneur.

Studies: Energy Economics, business management.

President of the Forum for Democracy and Development.

Political Experience: Minister of Energy & Water Development, Minister of Agriculture, Food & Fisheries, Minister of Finance, Minister of Labour & Social Security, former Member of Parliament for Nakonde Constituency and former Member of Parliament for Munali Constituency.

Director for Plant Hope for Our Future Project, a social enterprise aimed at mobilizing Schools and rural communities into conservation groups for planting legumes and trees in Muchinga Province, Zambia.


Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is a Liberian politician and economist who was president of Liberia (2006-2018). She was the first woman to be elected head of state of an African country.

Johnson Sirleaf was one of three recipients, along with Leymah Gbowee and Tawakkul Karman, of the 2011 Nobel Prize for Peace for their efforts to further women’s rights. She has received numerous other awards for her leadership.

In June 2016, Sirleaf was elected as the Chair of the Economic Community of West African States, making her the first woman to hold the position since it was created.

In 2018, Johnson Sirleaf founded the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Presidential Center for Women and Development, which aims “to be a catalyst for change across Africa, by helping unleash its most abundant untapped power – its women”.

In 2019, Director-General of the World Health Organization Tedros Adhanom appointed Johnson Sirleaf as the WHO Goodwill Ambassador for the health workforce.


Emanuela Claudia Del Re has been appointed EUSR for the Sahel from 1 July 2021.

She has been a member of the Italian Parliament and she served as Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Italy.

Italian scholar, Professor of Sociology of Political Phenomena, Del Re is an expert in foreign policy, international relations, gender issues, geopolitics, migrations, minorities, religious phenomena and others. She has carried out long researches on field in conflict areas and areas in transition since 1990 in Africa, the Balkans, the Caucasus, the Middle East and others.


Vice President of the Republic of Costa Rica (2018-2022), the first Afro-Costa Rican woman and the second Afro-descendant woman to hold that high office in the Americas, Afro-Costa Rican leader, two-time congresswoman (2002-2006; 2014-2018) and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Worship (2018).

She is a researcher and human rights activist on issues related to women, indigenous peoples, Afro-descendants, human development, social inclusion and environment. She is currently a member of the Permanent Forum of Afrodescendants of the United Nations.

She was a proponent in Costa Rica of the approval of the Inter-American Convention against Racism, Racial Discrimination and Related Forms of Intolerance (2016); Founder and leader of the Afro-Costa Rican Women’s Center. She promoted the commemoration of the International Day for People of African Descent (2021) and the Permanent Forum of Afrodescendants at the United Nations (2021). In addition, he was a member of the Committee that prepared the “Regional Human Development Report for Latin America and the Caribbean: Multidimensional Progress” (2016) of the United Nations Development Program, director of more than fifteen international researches and author of 20 publications on social inclusion.


Former President of the Algerian National Council for Human Rights and President of the Arab Network of National Human Rights Institutions from 2017 to 2018, former magistrate.

First woman president of the court in Algeria in 1976, advisor to the Supreme Court. First president of the first administrative court in Algeria, first Algerian woman international judge at the Arab League Court, currently professor of law at the National School of Administration.

She has always campaigned for the principle of non-discrimination between men and women in all areas and for the respect of human rights in all sectors, in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to which Algeria has adhered since its independence.


A Pro-active and result-oriented African women’s leader, politician, an expert and trainer in democratic governance, empowering and defending women and youth rights, gender mainstreaming and peace mediation. She is Goodwill ambassador of Africans Rising (AR) for Justice, Peace and Dignity and Chairperson of The Gambia Women’s Finance Association

She has held leadership positions like Gambian and Minister of Women’s Affairs, Minister of Health, Social Welfare and Women’s Affairs and Chairperson of The Gambia National Women’s Council.

She has received numerous awards, including the Award of Appreciation, Center for Democracy and Development (CDD), African Woman of the Year, 2017 and Eminent Person to the OAU (AU). She is also Co-founder and current chairperson of The Gambia Women’s Finance Association (GAWFA) and Member of Women For Africa Foundation Women For Strategic Leadership and Governance.

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