US government announces United Women’s Economic Development Network

Special Envoy for Economic Normalization Aryeh Lightstone and Ambassador-at-Large Kelley Currie will be keynote speakers at the launch of the Network.

The Gulf-Israel Women's Forum brings children draped in the flags of Bahrain, Israel and the UAE to Jerusalem's Old City.  (photo credit: ISRAEL HADARI)
The Gulf-Israel Women's Forum brings children draped in the flags of Bahrain, Israel and the UAE to Jerusalem's Old City.
(photo credit: ISRAEL HADARI)
The US State Department’s Office of Global Women’s Issues and the US International Development Finance Corporation are hosting the virtual launch of the United Women’s Economic Development Network on January 14.
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Special Envoy for Economic Normalization Aryeh Lightstone is the conceptualizer of the latest American government initiative falling under the auspices of the Abraham Accords, the series of normalization agreements between Israel and Arab nations announced in August and including the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan; and outside the borders of the Accords, Morocco.
Explaining the genesis of the new effort, Lightstone told The Media Line that, “It was at the Abraham Accords Business Summit that I was sitting across the table from a very dynamic female entrepreneur who turned to me and said, ‘First of all, women[-run] businesses in this region are booming. We are on the ascendancy. Secondarily, it is different to be a woman entrepreneur and leader in this part of the world than in other parts of the world. It would be beneficial if we created a network to support each other.’”
Since the signing of the Abraham Accords in September, signatory nations have worked to establish a warm, inclusive peace and to develop cross-country economic partnerships. In pursuit of these goals, the advancement of women’s economic empowerment has come to occupy a role of central importance, according to a spokesperson at the US Embassy in Jerusalem.
Asked about the timing of the launch coming at the end of the administration’s term in office, Lightstone recounted the series of events leading to the actualization of the initiative. He told The Media Line that he received immediate green lights from both the White House and State Department despite its coming after the election and the transition effectively being underway.
“Timing is always right for women’s empowerment and leadership, especially when it has to do with the added value of peace,” Lightstone said. “This initiative isn't guided by politics. Its foundation is in solid USA policy that everyone can and will support. All participants are looking forward to the long-term benefits of this exciting venture. Not once did any of the women from any of the countries call asking whether I work for President Trump or President-elect Biden.”
Women business leaders and entrepreneurs from the United States, Bahrain, Morocco, Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Sudan, Uzbekistan and Kosovo will convene for the virtual launch.
Special Envoy for Economic Normalization Aryeh Lightstone and Ambassador-at-Large Kelley Currie will be keynote speakers at the launch of the Network.
The spokesperson added that “the involvement of the Secretary’s Global Women’s Initiatives Office of the State Department ensures longevity to the network and complements existing S/GWI programs promoting women entrepreneurs. Ambassador Currie is expected to mention other S/GWI programs in her remarks.”