AMWEC Conference 2017 Focuses on Gender Equality, Education, Diversity & Inclusion
By Anastasia Selberis
On Saturday, November 11th, 2017, the American Muslim Women’s Empowerment Council, with sponsorship from the Central Intelligence Agency, hosted the 2017 Women’s Empowerment Conference. It focused on themes such as gender equality, education, diversity, and inclusion, and drew a substantial participation from a wide range of religious and ethnic American communities.
AMWEC intern and Conference Emcee, Anastasia Selberis, opened with an address to veterans followed by the Pledge of Allegiance to the United States of America. In accordance with AMWEC’s mission to correct current misconceptions about Islam and its practices, protect the rights and promote the well-being of Muslim women in America and other countries, President Anila Ali announced AMWEC’s newest focus: combating female genital mutilation. “FGM, is not an Islamic tradition, on the contrary, it is an ethnic, tribal tradition with no roots or validation in Islam,” she declared.
The conference’s keynote speakers included KCRW/NPR journalist and producer, Andrea Brody, author of the Wild Flower and founder of the SWF International,Dr Nina Smart, and Executive Producer of The Lego Movie, Seanne Winslow. Brody and Winslow discussed the importance of investigating and sharing diverse and inclusive stories. Dr Smart presented her chilling research on female genital mutilation, dispelling the misconception that it is an Islamic practice and instead, confirming it as an ethnic practice.
The Central Intelligence Agency moderated an informative and honest panel discussion on women and culture and careers in public service, with panelists from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department.
The conference then split up into three sessions designed to strengthen women and their careers: women and business, women and education, and embracing diversity and leadership. MahveenAzam, Program Manager, US Pakistan Women's Council at Department of State, flew from DC to meet with the powerful group of women and talk about the Council's work to promote women and close gender and wage gaps.
After a brief lunch, the conference reconvened with a fashion show. A diverse set of models took the runway to exhibit design by Brands Just Pret, in collaboration with Elegant Couture by Maryam Mansoor, and FNKASIA by Huma Adnan, Pakistan’s top fashion designer. In between the two brands, the audience was treated to a special appearance by SitaraAttaie, Hollywood actress and Dutch native. She captured the audience with her compelling Bollywood dance performance.
The American Muslim Women’s Empowerment Council received exceptional positive feedback on their powerful conference. As the United States’ only American Muslim Women’s Empowerment Council, AMWEC’s initiatives continue to make a revolutionary impact on women’s empowerment