London – MENA Herald: On Tuesday, 26 April 2016, the Arab International Women’s Forum (AIWF) was honoured to receive over 120 VIPs, dignitaries and distinguished guests for its 15th Anniversary Celebration and Gala Concert at Kensington Palace in London, England.
This spectacular Commemoration, themed Building Bridges through Culture and hosted in partnership with the Peace and Prosperity Trust in the presence of the Trust’s Patron, HRH The Duke of Gloucester, and HRH The Duchess of Gloucester, attracted an invitation-only gathering of Diplomatic Corps with Ambassadors representing the many government partners that have hosted AIWF over the years; the City of London Corporation, which has hosted AIWF at Mansion House in London on four occasions; the European Parliament; the Foreign & Commonwealth Office; the World Bank; the Arab-British Chamber of Commerce; the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development; the International Bar Association; and the Financial Times, among many others.
Held in the State Apartments of the Palace, this unique evening reception and concert celebrated a decade and a half since AIWF’s inception in London in 2001 as a development organisation with the clear aim of supporting and enhancing the role of women in the Arab world and beyond. Since 2001, AIWF has held over 40 important conferences, seminars and networking events in key international business and financial hubs, including London, Paris, Brussels, Madrid, Berlin, Cairo, Amman, Washington DC, Sharjah, Beirut, Damascus, Palestine, Dubai, Doha, Italy, and later in 2016, Kuwait. In just a decade and a half, AIWF has become a truly global network dedicated to giving Arab women leaders a voice and a platform to prosper, linking Arab women not only with each other but also with their counterparts in the international community to exchange knowledge and develop their leadership potential.
In her welcoming remarks, Mrs Haifa Al Kaylani, Founder and Chairman of AIWF, took the opportunity to pay tribute to the valuable work and commitment of the AIWF Current and Founder Board Members, the AIWF Global Benefactor Partner PepsiCo, and all AIWF Global Corporate Partners, including Pfizer, Shell, Willis, The Dubai Land Department, The Sharjah Business Women Council, PwC, the Jumeirah Group and The Greater Paris Investment Agency. She said: “The developments in the region the last five years have made the AIWF mission, vision and work more relevant than ever before as we seek to overcome the rising challenges and embrace the many opportunities in the years to come.”
Mrs Al Kaylani also said: “AIWF works across the board, with governments, educators, NGOs and the private sector, to advance gender equality, placing special emphasis on the role of women as engines of economic growth realising our founding motto ‘Building Bridges, Building Business’. We believe that women hold the key to economic prosperity and social development in the region and that when women prosper, families and communities also prosper.”
Mrs Al Kaylani acknowledged the Peace and Prosperity Trust for all its important work to link the Arab and Western worlds through culture and the language of music, bringing together Arab, British and international talent to convey timely messages of reconciliation, harmony and peace, saying: “This is a vision that is shared by both our organisations and is truly the keystone in all our work and initiatives. We are especially proud that the occasion of AIWF’s 15th Anniversary can offer a platform for the young and gifted artists of the Trust to showcase their superb talent. We are greatly appreciative of their efforts and dedication in preparing a unique and exquisite performance in honour of AIWF and its commitment to building bridges through business and culture.”