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UN Television Debate, "Face to Face"
“Women’s Empowerment, Development Cooperation and Culture”


  • Ms. Daljit Dhaliwal, Host of 21st Century UN Television Series and former TV anchor of the ABC News Now, BBC, CNN International, and the Independent TV News (ITN).


  • Ms. Irina Bokova, Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO;
  • Ms. Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund, UNFPA, and United Nations Under-Secretary-General;
  • Ms. Kavita N. Ramdas, President and CEO of the Global Fund for Women;
  • Professor Kwame Anthony Appiah, Laurance S. Rockefeller University Professor of Philosophy and the University Center for Human Values, Princeton University.

What:  In the context of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) 2010 and the International Year for the Rapprochement of Cultures, the television debate will address an important nexus in today’s human development: international development cooperation, cultural literacy and the ultimate goal of empowering women and achieving gender equality. Speakers will address 4 positions:

  • Advancing human rights and gender equality cannot be achieved without linking women's empowerment and culture as a systematic and deliberate developmental approach;
  • Culture is integral to inclusive, equitable communities and societies as it provides an environment conducive to gender equality and sustainable development;
  • Engaging with ‘culture’ risks relativizing human rights abuses, particularly harmful practices and attitudes towards women, and can be a serious drawback to human development; and
  • Presenting an academic reading of the competing perspectives on culture and development.

When: Wednesday, 30 June  2010, 4 p.m. – 4:45p.m. **Seating is limited, please arrive early!

Where:  Dag Hammarskjold Auditorium, United Nations Headquarters

For media queries please contact:
Paul Simon, DESA (Tel: 917 367 5027, e-mail: simonp@un.org)
Newton Kanhema, DPI (Tel: 212 963 5602; e-mail: kanhema@un.org)
Abubakar Dungus, UNFPA (Tel: 212 297 5031, e-mail: dungus@unfpa.org)
Suzanne Bilello, UNESCO (Tel: 212 963 4386, e-mail: bilello@un.org)  

ABOUT THIS EVENT:  The recent 2009 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Report stressed that MDG 3 - promoting gender equality and empowerment of women - needed critical attention. Culture, which determines social norms, plays a significant role in how societies perceive women’s roles and place in development, and leads to gender stereotypes that affect the pace at which countries will achieve gender equality and the empowerment of women. Firmly fixed traditions can sustain gender inequalities and gender-based violence is validated and sustained through social norms. However, it is far from simple to address gender inequality and, as illustrated in the 2008 State of the World Population Report, if “international development agencies ignore or marginalize culture, it is at their peril”. Given the urgent need for international development cooperation, cultural literacy and the ultimate goal of empowering women and achieving gender equality, a discussion on the relationship between these themes is warranted.