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2019 International Women’s Day: Six Women who shaped the World Order

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Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala – Nigeria makes the list

Today is International Women’s Day. This day of recognition shines a spotlight on the achievements of women past and present. It was formally established in 1975, when the United Nations celebrated International Women’s Year and held the first World Conference on Women in Mexico City. However, the day’s origins can be traced back to the first decade of the twentieth century and the women’s labor and suffrage movements.

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All too often women and their stories are edited out of history. However, women have played critical roles in forging the contemporary world and the international institutions that help govern it. Thanks to women, we gained—among other fixtures—the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the first treaty to articulate the fundamental human rights that should be universally protected. Eleanor Roosevelt steered the treaty through a tumultuous drafting and adoption process; Hansa Mehta, Minerva Bernardino, and Bodil Begtrup insisted upon inclusive language that referred to “humans” instead of “men”; and women such as Begum Shaista Ikramullah, Evdokia Uralova, and Marie-Helene Lefaucheux pushed for it to address women’s issues such as marriage and equal pay. Furthermore, women such as Hannah Arendt, Marie Colvin, and Elena Poniatowska have challenged us to understand the world in new ways. And in recent years Margaret Chan, Christine Lagarde, Angela Merkel, and Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka have changed the face of leadership.

Today, in honor of International Women’s Day, we highlight just a few of the women whose contributions have helped to shape world order into its present form.

Mabel Newcomer. Dr. Mabel Newcomer was a respected economist, passionate educator, and prolific writer. From 1917 to 1957, she taught economics at Vassar College, where she was known as the best “tax man” of those years. In addition to teaching, Newcomer served as the first female vice president of the American Economic Association and as a consultant to the U.S. Treasury. In 1944, she represented the United States at the UN Monetary and Financial Conference at Bretton Woods. She was the only American woman at the conference that would establish the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, later to grow into the World Bank. At the meetings on the IMF, Newcomer was the only woman at the table, though not the only woman in the room. The other women present sat behind male delegates as expert consultants. After the conference, Newcomer helped sell the program to American women, and traveled throughout the country speaking to many groups, contributing to the success of the institutions that have been essential in managing the world economy.

Doris Stevens. Doris Stevens was a champion for women’s rights both at home and abroad. Stevens was a prominent organizer and leader within the American suffrage movement. Though she was arrested multiple times, she remained committed to her cause. In 1922, the suffragists secured the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and Stevens turned her attention to international women’s rights and legal status. She was appointed as the inaugural chair of the Inter-American Commission of Women (IACW), the first intergovernmental agency established to ensure recognition of women’s human rights. During her tenure, the IACW meticulously documented how laws around the world codified gender inequality. In 1933, this work yielded the Convention on the Nationality of Women, which was the first international instrument adopted concerning the rights of women. The treaty ensured a woman’s right to retain her own nationality in the event of marriage to a man of another nationality. Decades later, women around the world continue her fight for legal equality.

Gro Harlem Brundtland. Beyond becoming the first woman and youngest individual to hold the office of Norwegian prime minister, Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland played an essential role in popularizing the idea of sustainable development. In 1983, the UN General Assembly established the World Commission on Environment and Development and mandated it, among other items, “to propose long-term environmental strategies for achieving sustainable development to the year 2000 and beyond.” Brundtland chaired this commission and oversaw the three years of deliberations that produced its seminal report, Our Common Future [PDF]. The findings of the Brundtland Report, as it came to be known, have served as a foundation for much of the United Nations’ subsequent work on environment and development, including the 1992 Rio Earth Summit and, more recently, the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. The concept of sustainable development articulated in its pages has gained currency well beyond the halls of multilateral institutions, becoming a twenty-first century global social, cultural, economic, and political touchstone.

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. While some international institutions, like the Brundtland Commission, have had women at their helm, others have proved more recalcitrant to female leaders. One such institution, the World Bank, saw cracks in its glass ceiling in 2012, when Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala ran to become its president. After serving terms as Nigeria’s foreign affairs minister and finance minister, and then as a managing director at the bank, she (and Colombia’s Jose Antonio Ocampo) squared off against American physician Jim Yong Kim in the bank’s first-ever contested presidential selection. Historically, a longstanding transatlantic gentlemen’s agreement has put an American in charge of the bank and a European in charge of the IMF as a fait accompli. Okonjo-Iweala helped to challenge that non-meritocratic status quo with her candidacy. Although unsuccessful, she put up fierce opposition and laid the groundwork for future challenges from non-Americans, especially from developing countries. With the World Bank presidency now up for grabs once again and the controversial David Malpass as the U.S. nominee, Okonjo-Iweala has garnered attention as a potential alternative. As the current chair of the board of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and an influential figure on the world stage, she will remain an inspiration for women across the globe regardless of whether she assumes the mantle of World Bank president.

Jody Williams. For decades, Jody Williams has been one of the world’s most effective peace advocates. In 1997, Williams and the International Coalition to Ban Landmines (ICBL) jointly received the Nobel Peace Prize for their work to ban landmines. Williams was first exposed to landmines’ devastation during her work in El Salvador in the 1980s. As an aid worker, she was responsible for providing prosthetic arms and legs to children who had lost limbs to mines. She returned to the United States, and in 1991 began working with ICBL as its chief strategist and spokesperson. Williams was a triple threat: she had a flair for activsim, was an effective organizer, and did not mind if people found her difficult. Within six years, she had grown the coalition to some 1,300 organizations across ninety-five countries. In December 1997, ICBL achieved a major victory when world leaders gathered in Ottawa, Canada, to sign the Mine Ban Treaty, which bans the production, use, stockpiling or transport of antipersonnel mines. Although these weapons still exist, the treaty contributed to a strong norm against their use. Ever the activist, Williams continues to work toward peace. In addition to her work with the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, she co-chairs the Nobel Women’s Initiative, and has joined with fellow survivors of sexual assault in lobbying world leaders to end sexual violence in conflict.

Lise Meitner. Science, alongside politics, is one of the most powerful forces shaping the modern world. Dr. Lise Meitner, a prolific and pathbreaking Austrian physicist, had a profound influence on both. She was a critical member of the team that first unlocked the potential of the atom, a structure central to international politics since World War II. After her colleague Otto Hahn’s bombardment of uranium with neutrons in 1938 yielded barium isotopes, Meitner correctly inferred that the splitting of the atomic nucleus—nuclear fission—was responsible. She and her nephew Otto Frisch articulated the process through which this occurred, leading scientists to surmise that a fissile chain reaction would release enormous amounts of energy, generating an explosion of immense power. Although Meitner, who had fled to Sweden due to her Jewish lineage, had made a contribution integral to the development of the atomic bomb, she refused to participate in the subsequent Manhattan Project. The Nobel Committee overlooked her several years later, when it awarded the 1944 Nobel Prize in Chemistry to Otto Hahn “for his discovery of the fission of heavy nuclei.” Meitner’s personal legacy, then, is one of profound humanity, having escaped the atrocities of Nazi Europe and abstained from the making of the bomb only to see her genius employed toward the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and bring the world to the knife’s edge during the Cold War.
The Way Forward
The women highlighted here represent only a small proportion of the women who have worked across borders to build a more peaceful, prosperous, and equal world. Their already challenging work was made even more daunting by the barriers—legal, economic, and social—that they had to overcome in order to do their work. Today, in addition to honoring these women and their achievements, we should take a clear-eyed look at the barriers that remain intact and double-down on efforts to dismantle them. A generation of young women waits to engage in the hard work of changing the world, and it is our responsibility to make it easier for them to do so.
Piece by Rebecca Hughes, research associate for Women and Foreign Policy, and Kyle L. Evanoff, research associate for International Institutions and Global Governance, at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Doris Stevens. Doris Stevens was a champion for women’s rights both at home and abroad. Stevens was a prominent organizer and leader within the American suffrage movement. Though she was arrested multiple times, she remained committed to her cause. In 1922, the suffragists secured the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and Stevens turned her attention to international women’s rights and legal status. She was appointed as the inaugural chair of the Inter-American Commission of Women (IACW), the first intergovernmental agency established to ensure recognition of women’s human rights. During her tenure, the IACW meticulously documented how laws around the world codified gender inequality. In 1933, this work yielded the Convention on the Nationality of Women, which was the first international instrument adopted concerning the rights of women. The treaty ensured a woman’s right to retain her own nationality in the event of marriage to a man of another nationality. Decades later, women around the world continue her fight for legal equality.
Gro Harlem Brundtland. Beyond becoming the first woman and youngest individual to hold the office of Norwegian prime minister, Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland played an essential role in popularizing the idea of sustainable development. In 1983, the UN General Assembly established the World Commission on Environment and Development and mandated it, among other items, “to propose long-term environmental strategies for achieving sustainable development to the year 2000 and beyond.” Brundtland chaired this commission and oversaw the three years of deliberations that produced its seminal report, Our Common Future [PDF]. The findings of the Brundtland Report, as it came to be known, have served as a foundation for much of the United Nations’ subsequent work on environment and development, including the 1992 Rio Earth Summit and, more recently, the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. The concept of sustainable development articulated in its pages has gained currency well beyond the halls of multilateral institutions, becoming a twenty-first century global social, cultural, economic, and political touchstone.
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. While some international institutions, like the Brundtland Commission, have had women at their helm, others have proved more recalcitrant to female leaders. One such institution, the World Bank, saw cracks in its glass ceiling in 2012, when Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala ran to become its president. After serving terms as Nigeria’s foreign affairs minister and finance minister, and then as a managing director at the bank, she (and Colombia’s Jose Antonio Ocampo) squared off against American physician Jim Yong Kim in the bank’s first-ever contested presidential selection. Historically, a longstanding transatlantic gentlemen’s agreement has put an American in charge of the bank and a European in charge of the IMF as a fait accompli. Okonjo-Iweala helped to challenge that non-meritocratic status quo with her candidacy. Although unsuccessful, she put up fierce opposition and laid the groundwork for future challenges from non-Americans, especially from developing countries. With the World Bank presidency now up for grabs once again and the controversial David Malpass as the U.S. nominee, Okonjo-Iweala has garnered attention as a potential alternative. As the current chair of the board of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and an influential figure on the world stage, she will remain an inspiration for women across the globe regardless of whether she assumes the mantle of World Bank president.
Jody Williams. For decades, Jody Williams has been one of the world’s most effective peace advocates. In 1997, Williams and the International Coalition to Ban Landmines (ICBL) jointly received the Nobel Peace Prize for their work to ban landmines. Williams was first exposed to landmines’ devastation during her work in El Salvador in the 1980s. As an aid worker, she was responsible for providing prosthetic arms and legs to children who had lost limbs to mines. She returned to the United States, and in 1991 began working with ICBL as its chief strategist and spokesperson. Williams was a triple threat: she had a flair for activsim, was an effective organizer, and did not mind if people found her difficult. Within six years, she had grown the coalition to some 1,300 organizations across ninety-five countries. In December 1997, ICBL achieved a major victory when world leaders gathered in Ottawa, Canada, to sign the Mine Ban Treaty, which bans the production, use, stockpiling or transport of antipersonnel mines. Although these weapons still exist, the treaty contributed to a strong norm against their use. Ever the activist, Williams continues to work toward peace. In addition to her work with the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, she co-chairs the Nobel Women’s Initiative, and has joined with fellow survivors of sexual assault in lobbying world leaders to end sexual violence in conflict.
Lise Meitner. Science, alongside politics, is one of the most powerful forces shaping the modern world. Dr. Lise Meitner, a prolific and pathbreaking Austrian physicist, had a profound influence on both. She was a critical member of the team that first unlocked the potential of the atom, a structure central to international politics since World War II. After her colleague Otto Hahn’s bombardment of uranium with neutrons in 1938 yielded barium isotopes, Meitner correctly inferred that the splitting of the atomic nucleus—nuclear fission—was responsible. She and her nephew Otto Frisch articulated the process through which this occurred, leading scientists to surmise that a fissile chain reaction would release enormous amounts of energy, generating an explosion of immense power. Although Meitner, who had fled to Sweden due to her Jewish lineage, had made a contribution integral to the development of the atomic bomb, she refused to participate in the subsequent Manhattan Project. The Nobel Committee overlooked her several years later, when it awarded the 1944 Nobel Prize in Chemistry to Otto Hahn “for his discovery of the fission of heavy nuclei.” Meitner’s personal legacy, then, is one of profound humanity, having escaped the atrocities of Nazi Europe and abstained from the making of the bomb only to see her genius employed toward the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and bring the world to the knife’s edge during the Cold War.
The Way Forward
The women highlighted here represent only a small proportion of the women who have worked across borders to build a more peaceful, prosperous, and equal world. Their already challenging work was made even more daunting by the barriers—legal, economic, and social—that they had to overcome in order to do their work. Today, in addition to honoring these women and their achievements, we should take a clear-eyed look at the barriers that remain intact and double-down on efforts to dismantle them. A generation of young women waits to engage in the hard work of changing the world, and it is our responsibility to make it easier for them to do so.
Piece by Rebecca Hughes, research associate for Women and Foreign Policy, and Kyle L. Evanoff, research associate for International Institutions and Global Governance, at the Council on Foreign Relations.

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HRH Oba Aderemi Ilesanmi Ogidan, (Ogidan I), IV Alase of Ase-Akoko

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History was made on the 18th of May, 2021, when Ase-Akoko community in Akoko North-West Local Government Area in Ondo State of Nigeria produced a successor to the throne of Alase of Ase-Akoko in the person of Aderemi Ilesanmi Ogidan, in a keenly contested election.

Aderemi Ogidan became the fourth Alase of Ase-Akoko after the kingmakers “Afobaje” voted four against one in his favour, defeating two other interested candidates at Community Primary School, Ase-Akoko, Akoko North West LGA, Ondo State.

The election which was conducted by the local government officials, witnessed and captured by the media and observers from the state government, was a crowd pulling event.

True to his name “Aderemilekun” meaning “Crown Ogidan Aderemi Ilesanmi is no doubt an enigmatic, influential and easy going personality, committed to the course of development of the community. In 2002, he voluntarily relinquished his job in Lagos to answer the call of duty in his community he so loved.

According to him, “How can the Kabiyesi sent to Ikaram for a writer before he can write ordinary letter?

For his education, he attended Moslem Primary School, Ikaram-Akoko and was later admitted to Otolomi High School, also in Ikaram-Akoko. When Otolomi High School was closed down due to state government policy then, he joined Community Comprehensive High School, Ikaram-Akoko and finally wrote his West African Examination at Akunnu Comprehensive High School, Akunnu-Akoko where he bagged his West African School Certificate (WASC).

In his quest for academic excellence, he attended the prestigious Adekunle Ajasin University (AAUA) at Akungba-Akoko to obtain a Diploma in Business Administration.

Before becoming the king elect, Aderemi has his hands in so many things including politics. His desirous for the development of his community brought about the construction of the road from ikaram to Ae through his unparallel activities I  the political scene.  He has been a pillar of note to many indigenes.

HRH, Oba Aderemi Ilesanmi, (Ogidan 1), is a man of policy, principle and integrity. He’s loved and cherished by his people.the His coronation ceremony will immediately take place after receiving the Staff of Office from the Stae Government.

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G-Brain, A Fast Rising Star

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G-Brain, born Abiodun Bamisile, a fast rising music star. Was born in 1988 from Omuo-Ekiti in Ekiti State, He attended his primary at Benin and secondary school at Community Comprehensive High School. . Ikaram-Akoko.

He proceeded to University of Benin (UNIBEN). Where he studied International Studies at Diploma level,

A Lagos based hip-hop artiste. His first hot “Obente” was a crowd pulling hit followed by many others,

He took his music to international scene. When he travelled to Ghana for an international musical and festival event. Where he was the toast of the fans,

He later travelled to Canada for shows and was invited for another show in the United states of America (USA)by his teeming fans,

G-Brain is planning big for year 2021, According to him. He intends to tour thirteen (13) states before the year runs out. With what he knows how to do best – Music,

G-Brain is a proud husband to his charming and elegant wife-Tolani. With valued and well cherished children,

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CAJ Holds Maiden Conference in October

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A Pan African Journalists Organisation registered in Nigeria (RC:153753), Congress of African Journalists (CAJ) will hold its first annual conference in Nigeria in October this year.

According to the Acting President of CAJ who is also the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Michael Adeboboye “The three-day conference with the theme – Africa and Security Challenges; The Role of Journalists in Finding Lasting Solutions will serve as an interface between stakeholders in the Africa’s development project, security gurus and information gatekeepers with the aim to map a path of progress for the continent”

The conference will hold in Lagos State, Southwest Nigeria, starting from October 6 and ends in October 8.

The conference will feature investiture of patrons, conferment of awards and film shows about CAJ and its objectives. The film shows will project Africa richness and versatility in culture, tourism and languages.

“Considering the various challenges of African countries recently, particularly in the areas of fake news and security with their adverse consequences in the genuine African leadership roadmap to the continent’s growth and development, CAJ believes that telling the true and positive Africa narratives and opportunities abound in the continent. Hence its resolve for the 2021 conference to bridge the gap between the information gateway and leadership in the continent,”  said Ashraf Aboul Yazid Dali, President, Asian Journalists Association, AJA and Vice President, CAJ North Africa. Dali an award winning journalist is an Egyptian poet, Editor-in-Chief, The Silk Road Literature Series, Chairman, CAJ Conference 2021 and also a Keynote Speaker at the conference.

Other speakers at the conference include; Retired Brigadier-Gen. Sani Kukasheka Usman (MNI), Hon. Gospel Kazako and Mohammed Ibrahim Moalimuu.

Usman is the Consultant Director, Corporate Affairs and Information at the Nigerian Army Resource Centre, Abuja, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Mahangi Communication Services and Mahangi Farms. He is also a member of the Editorial Board of African Leadership Magazine and member of the Board of Trustees of Security Watch Africa Initiative. 

Hon. Gospel Kazako is a foremost journalist and Malawian entrepreneur who founded the Zodiak Broadcasting Station; a national broadcasting station in Malawi. Kazako is also a poet and current serving Minister of Information, Malawi. While Mohammed Ibrahim Moalimuu is a senior Somali international journalist and unionist, formerly with BBC and Reuters. Moalimuu is the current Spokesperson of Federal Government of Somalia and Senior Media Adviser to the Prime Minister.

According to CAJ Acting Vice President, West Africa, Joseph Adika who is the CEO of Jubilee Broadcasting Network, Ghana, CAJ African Leadership Award 2021 will recognise outstanding performance and leadership qualities of the recipients in a bid to encourage dedication to service to humanity and fine governance in Africa.

The African great men nominated for CAJ Leadership Award are; His Excellency, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Executive Governor of Lagos State, Nigeria, Hon. Thandi Modise, Speaker, South Africa National Assembly and Chief Justice of Malawi, Hon. Justice Andrew Nyirenda.

According to CAJ Secretary General, Moise Manoel, “Some members of CAJ will also be recognised for their various contributions to the organisation”

The CAJ Conference Planning Committee are; Ashraf Aboul-Yazid Dali (Egypt), Chairman, Moise Manoel (Paris), Secretary – General, Joseph Adika(Ghana), Member, Admire Mackenzie Kudita (Zimbabwe), Member, Ajong M. Laurean (USA), Member, Blessing Kenache (Malawi), Member.

Ashraf Aboul Yazid dali

Others are; Habibat Mobolaji Salami, CAJ Vice President Diaspora (USA), Member, Emmanuella Maikem Manzie (Cameroon), Olusiji Balogun (Nigeria), Ibrahim Olayiwola (Nigeria), Edache Ochola (Nigeria), Abimbola Owoseni (Germany), Amina Anebi (Nigeria), Amina Mussa (United Kingdom) and Ngozi Amadi (Nigeria)

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