The U.S. Embassy in Port of Spain was pleased to participate in the "Women Leaders as Agents of Change -- Caribbean Regional Colloquium," which was hosted by Prime Minister of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago Kamla Persad-Bissessar on June 29-30.
The Colloquium brought female political leaders, parliamentarians, and civil society representatives from around the region to address issues related to women's political participation in the region. Participants shared experiences and challenges, strengthened the network of Caribbean women in politics, raised awareness about gender equality commitments in international agreements, and agreed on priorities and goals for advancing women's interests in the political, public, and private sectors throughout the Caribbean.
The high-level U.S. delegation attending the Colloquium demonstrates our strong commitment to advancing policies that support the political and societal concerns affecting women. Ambassador Carmen Lomellin, U.S. Permanent Representative to the Organization of American States, led the U.S. delegation, accompanied by U.S. Ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago Beatrice Welters, Congresswoman Yvette Clarke (NY-11), former New York City Councilwoman Dr. Una Clarke, and several representatives from the U.S. Department of State. In a personal video message, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton sent her greetings and congratulations to participants and organizers. Participants received the video enthusiastically, commenting that they felt encouraged and inspired by the Secretary's interest and support.
To continue the momentum from the conference, a year-long "Women's Leadership Development Series" will involve women from the Caribbean and from the United States in professional exchanges, speaking tours, cultural presentations, videoconferences, and other fora to build networks and raise awareness of women as leaders.
The U.S. government was particularly pleased to be part of this Colloquium, because 2011 is the Global Centenary Year of International Women's Day, making this a unique opportunity to focus on the realities of women over the past 100 years after. This event was also a forerunner to a proposed high-level colloquium on "Women Leaders as Agents of Change in the Global Fight against Poverty" to be held on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly in September.