I can't think of a better location than Amman for a unique international museum celebrating the work of women artists from around the world. That's the reason I recently spent a fascinating weekend in Jordan joining a delegation of the International Museum for Women in the Arts (IMWA) Board of Directors for an audience with Her Majesty, Queen Rania, at the Royal Palace to discuss the museum project. This IMWA Board seeks to create a world-class museum celebrating the genius of women artists from around the world.
During these historic days when citizens are defining the future of their countries through peaceful protests, I am reminded of the power of the freedom of expression. Never has it seemed timelier to establish an international gathering place for women in the arts which will serve as a cultural and educational center -- to showcase the art of women from around the world, with a special focus on the Middle East. To jump-start this effort, Queen Rania generously offered a fantastic site in the center of Amman to house the new museum, and expressed her support for the project, as well as its importance to help empower women through art and expression and to bring cultures together from around the world. Secretary Clinton has expressed support for bringing UNESCO's priorities to life in furthering culture, education, capacity-building, and gender equality -- all in celebration of the incredible contribution of the world's great women artists. For me, this is an exciting project that brings together so many elements of our work to improve intercultural dialogue, help advance freedom of expression, and empower women in the region and globally. To advance these goals, we will work to formally associate this project with UNESCO at the Spring Executive Board meeting, which would create the first such UNESCO art museum.
As we celebrate International Women's Day in the weeks ahead, we will strive to build partnerships to secure support to renovate the building, and move the project forward, with an anticipated launch in 2013. As women play vital leadership roles in our communities, we would be remiss not to establish a vibrant international center, which will encourage youth through featured artistic works of women. We are committed to reach out to every nation to educate and inspire the young artists of tomorrow using cutting-edge technology in order to foster peace and cultural dialogue through art and free expression. Will you join us?