In celebration of Egyptian Women’s Day, on Wednesday 16 March 2016 the Embassy of Egypt in Washington, DC hosted a dinner event and awards ceremony with the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee-Women’s Empowerment Forum (ACD-WEF).
The event honored several leading and empowering Egyptian women, including elected members of Egyptian Parliament, the Honorable Dalia Fouad Yousef and Dr. Marianne Amir Azer, founder of the Zahra Breast Cancer Association Dr. Suad M Bin Amer and founder of Coptic Orphans Nermien Riad. Attendees to the event included former U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and former U.S. Congressman Nick Rahall as well as Saudi Arabian Ambassador HRH Prince Abdallah Faisal Al-Turki Al-Saud, among dozens of other leaders from across a variety of professional fields.
H.E. Ambassador Yasser Reda gave remarks honoring the strength and resilience of all Egyptian women, past and present, who have had a profound impact on Egypt’s great civilization. He addressed the important steps Egypt is taking to address gender imbalances and protect women’s fundamental rights, thanking groundbreaking Egyptian women like the Honorable Dalia Yousef and Dr. Marianne Azer for moving the progress of women in Egypt forward. He concluded by noting that while progress has been achieved, more work lies ahead, including expanding opportunities for women in education, creating more social inclusion and building a more diverse society that will benefit not just women but all Egyptians.
Ambassador Reda presented the Honorable Dalia Fouad Yousef with an award for excellence in political leadership and entrepreneurship. During her remarks, Dalia addressed gains made by women since the election of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi and asserted that she and her peers will continue their efforts to increase representation for women across all segments of society and to facilitate the leadership role of women in community relations, politics and business.
Accepting her award for excellence in public service from former U.S. Congressman Nick Rahall, the Honorable Dr. Marianne Amir Azer recognized the cadres of Egyptian women who heroically contributed along Egypt’s path to independence, including Hameida Khalil, the first woman to sacrifice her life for the cause of Egyptian freedom.
Finally, in her keynote address, founder of the Coptic Orphans organization Nermien Riad discussed her organization’s efforts to support disadvantaged children of Egypt and equip them to break the cycle of poverty and become change-maker sin their communities.