In partnership with the Consulate of the United States, Faculdade dos Guararapes, a Laureate network institution in Brazil, held a roundtable with Melanne Verveer, U.S. ambassador-at-large for global women’s issues, on Friday, Feb. 18, as part of the seminar, "Women's Empowerment: Achievements and Challenges." Verveer spoke to students, reporters, consuls and political authorities regarding the role of women on the world stage and their expectations for the future.
Ambassador Verveer discussed the subject, "New Roles, New Expectations," with several other members of the roundtable in front of a group of students and reporters as well as consular and political authorities. Roundtable members included Luisa Saldanha, founder of the Pharmapele company; Federal Judge Margarida Cantarelli; Ana Carolina Salgado, director of C.E.S.A.R.; Daisy Andrade, course director of Law & Legal Studies at Faculdade Guararapes and Laureen Kido; researcher at the Northeast Center of Technologic Strategies (Cetene).
Based on the experiences of women who prosper in nontraditional careers as a result of their hard work, the roundtable explored the vital role Brazilian and American women fill in business and government. The guests shared their life experiences and the challenges they have faced to fight prejudice. The ambassador also answered questions regarding the growing role of women on the world stage, and she praised Brazilian projects supporting women's rights.
Verveer was appointed ambassador-at-large for global women's issues in April 2009 by President Barack Obama, due to the elevated importance given to this matter by the U.S. government. As ambassador, Verveer coordinates foreign policy issues and activities relating to the political, economic and social advancement of women around the world and, also, works with initiatives to combat violence against women and increase women's access to education and healthcare.
On the first day of the seminar, Faculdade dos Guararapes students had the opportunity to meet and hear the life story of Maria da Penha, a symbol of the fight against violence to women in Brazil, who inspired the law to defend women's rights. Penha spoke about her personal tragedy when she was almost murdered by her husband, her fight for justice which currently plays a central role in the history of women's rights in Brazil and the work being done by the Maria da Penha Institute, which is strongly supported by the U.S. consulate.