Daily Gulf News - 27/4/2006
A PROFESSIONAL and cultural exchange focusing on women as leaders has been initiated between a Bahraini rights activist and her counterparts in the US. Amnesty International (AI) Bahrain's campaigning and public relations head Fawzia Rabea'a has returned from the US after taking part in a three-week multi-regional programme entitled Leadership Development for Women.
It was attended by women activists, members of political parties, government and judicial officials in the US.
The programme, which focused on professional women as decision makers, is part of the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) sponsored by the US State Department Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
It aims to create "mutual understanding" through training and educational projects.
Participants included women from Botswana, Egypt, Panama, Nigeria, Estonia, India, Japan, Jordan, Malaysia, Mexico, Philippines, Macedonia, Serbia and Sri Lanka.
"It was a fantastic experience," said Ms Rabea'a, who met with women decision makers in Washington, Rochester in New York, Paris in Chicago, Seattle and Florida.
"After meeting with non-governmental organisations women representatives and government officials, we learned how they became leaders in their field, how they reached their position. "We realised education is very important to reach this position, and they had to use it as a tool to fight and reach these positions."
Participants met with women working in healthcare, art, business, trade, politics and social work sectors.
"For me, the topics which were most interesting were civil rights and women's rights, especially violence against women.
"This is the beginning to build relationship between me as a human rights activist and them as women leaders in their fields," she said.
Ms Rabea'a was selected for programme by the US Embassy, after applying to take part.