Many inspiring people attended the conference, Madelyn Albright, Kim Campbell (former PM of Canada), Rev. Dr. Ishmael Noko, Her Excellency Mary Robinson (Former President of Ireland) and Ashley Judd (haha- she is the ambassador of Global Youth AIDS). There were also many executive directors of the multi-million dollar nonprofits that operate all over the world.
Some of the most inspiring words that were expressed include:
(paraphrasing) Poverty is not something inherent in our society, it is a collective choice we make to allow people to live in those conditions. If we can choose it, we can change it -Madelyn Albright
Youth are the heartbeat of the breakthrough [in ending global poverty] - Youth Ambassador from Jamaica
This is gender apartheid, and it is happening, and it is real. It is sexual terror and I am absolutely determined to be a part of the solution- Ashley Judd, speaking about rape as a tool in war
The youth were tools of destruction, the youth were tools of pain, and I was ashamed to be called a youth because we were part of the problem. We were part of the people going to the fields - Youth Ambassador from Kenya talking about the violence in her country .. So they started a campaign "Give tomorrow a chance...because we needed that tomorrow"
[Young Women] want to be part of the solution, we don't want to be pitied, we don't want to be victims.. we want to make a difference and the difference we acknowledge starts with us - Kenyan Youth Ambassador
One of the reasons this conference was so inspiring was beyond the words that were spoken, but the commitments made by the nonprofits. Millions of dollars were committed to empower women in girls in the struggle against poverty. Other nonprofits committed not to monetary amounts but to the number of women impacted. For example Islamic Relief Services committed themselves to over 1 million women and girls in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East to break out of the cycle of poverty by providing aid that makes life-changing through increased programs for girls education, provision of jobs, income generating projects, clean water, support of female orphans, basic nutritional medical support.
At the end was an interpretative dance that was so beautiful I almost wanted to cry, tears of joy :) It is hard to explain in words, but the cover of the program for the conference was a young girl "breaking through" a finish line ribbon way out ahead of a lot of boys.. Well, at the end of the ceremony there were these ribbon dancers who were jumping over each other weaving together three ribbons into one braid and then dancing with the braid. At the end, they turned they held the ribbon straight out and a beautiful woman in a flowing red dress leaped through the ribbon with the biggest smile on her face. It was beautiful, and here is a picture that almost captures it.
These were the ribbons that were weaved together to make the "finish line"
Here are some more of the beautiful moments in the conference:
This is the same woman who ran through the ribbon- beautiful