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Amman, 11 September: The EuroMed Women for Dialogue Forum was launched at the Jordan Media Institute today to promote renewed images of women as agents of intercultural dialogue in the region, and to counter prevailing stereotypes that still hamper women's full participation and potential in their societies. Organized by the Anna Lindh Foundation in collaboration with UNESCO, the forum gathered over 80 participants, including ambassadors, representatives of international organisations, academics, journalists and civil society activists, engaged in the promotion of gender equality and changing cultural stereotypes.
In her opening remarks, Her Royal Highness Princess Rym Ali said: “I am proud that Jordan is hosting this initiative of the Anna Lindh Foundation, as it falls within our country’s values to promote intercultural dialogue and the advancement of women within our societies, especially at a time when voices of progress and calls for accepting the different "other" are not easily heard." "The media bears a huge responsibility in making sure that women from both sides of the Mediterranean are always represented fairly, are able to exchange ideas freely and to take action to 'be the change they want to see'," she stressed.
For her part, Mrs Elisabeth Guigou, President of the Anna Lindh Foundation, said: “The Forum aims to be the point of departure to amplify and give visibility to the work led by all the women and men involved in the promotion of intercultural dialogue and the fight against gender stereotyping in the EuroMed region.” She added: “In a historic moment where we see a constant regression of cross-cultural relations, because of a policy of fear spread at the global level, women are fighters for dialogue, and at the Anna Lindh Foundation, we commit to showing the efforts behind this fight, its results and its challenges.”
Dr. Nabil Al Sharif, the Executive Director of the Anna Lindh Foundation, explained that “as concrete outcomes for the Forum we aim to increase knowledge about stories of women who have engaged, succeeded, learnt and developed actions to fight cultural and gender stereotypes; to facilitate the creation of new collaborations across the Euro-Mediterranean region and to support the creation of a network at the EuroMediterranean level”.
Mrs Costanza Farina, the Head of UNESCO Amman, said: The world is globalizing quickly and societies have never been so connected … We need a new commitment to dialogue from everyone, at every level. There can be no sustainable lasting peace without women’s participation in constructive dialogue. This is the vision of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and notably SDG 5, the goal focusing on gender equality, which lies at the heart of the promise to leave no one behind. This is the vision that lies at the heart of UNESCO’s mission to build the defenses of peace in the minds of women and men, guiding all of our activities and partnerships."
Ambassador Maria Hadjitheodosiou, Ambassador of the European Union to Jordan, emphasized the importance of the EU's commitment "to enhancing women's rights and their struggle to defy stereotypes. Giving a space for those stories that show that modern women can become role models who shape their own future is an important contribution to the public debate in the whole Mediterranean region."
A coalition of actors supported the organisation of the EuroMed Women for Dialogue Forum, including the European Union, UNWOMEN, the Jordan Media Institute, the Royal Interfaith Study Institute, In Place of War, the Swedish Embassy, the Mediterranean Centre for Audio-Visual Communication and Sadaqa.
About the EuroMed Women for Dialogue Forum
The Forum is conceived as a platform to explore on the one hand the work that women around the region do to fight cultural stereotypes and on the other the impact that existing gender stereotypes have on the access of women to the different spheres of life.
The Forum gathers women and men who present and discuss the most recent data and experiences in the fields of media, education, business, and culture to increase knowledge on prevailing gender stereotypes and break those stereotypes, and to facilitate the creation of new collaborations between women and men of the Euro-Mediterranean region who wish to promote renewed images of women and diverse cultural groups in society.
Created in 2005, the Anna Lindh Foundation is an inter-governmental institution established by the countries of the Euro-Mediterranean partnership and the European Union in the framework of the Barcelona Process as the central institution for intercultural dialogue among the peoples of the region.
It represents a network of civil society organizations dedicated to promoting intercultural dialogue and respect for diversity in the region. The Anna Lindh Foundation focuses its intercultural action around four main pillars: Intercultural research and advocacy; Empowering young voices; Intercultural learning; Connecting and empowering EuroMed civil society.