Albert Einstein famously said: "It's easier to break an atom than a prejudice". Dr. Stapelfeldt, Hamburg's Vice-Mayor and Senator for Science and Research, used this accurate quote to start her opening address to the 1st German-Arab Women's Network Forum. However, the event, that is unique in its kind in Germany, managed to achieve just that: Apart from reducing stereotypes, it furthered connection and exchange between the high-profile participants.
There were surprises on both sides. Especially the Arab participants were surprised to learn that in Germany - a country that is governed by a woman - there is still a lot of controversy and a lot to be done about equal gender rights. Equally, the German participants gained new insights into the situatin of women in the Arab region and were impressed by the multitude of Women's initiatives.
Therefore, the event was a great success - many of our participants have approached us to demand that the forum be expanded and held every year.
After the event, Hamburg's Senator for Equal Rights and Justice invited the Forum's guests and speakers to an exclusive reception in Hamburg's town hall. In the context of this special event, Prof. Dr. Siedentopf awarded Mrs. Haifa Fahoum Al Kaylani, founder and chairwoman of the Arab International Women's Forum (AIWF), the first EMA Honorary Membership. Mrs Al Kaylani is one of the most influential women in the Arab Region.
She was very moved by this award and praised EMA for its "bridging" between Germany and the Arab countries. She announced a comprehensive cooperation between the EMA and AIWF.
In the current issues of our publications Mediterranes and Ouissal, you can find a detailed report og the Women's Network Forum and interviews with the speakers and other EMA pertners.