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03.03.11

Women in the World 2011: Welcome!

Extraordinary women from around the globe will gather in New York tonight to kick off The Daily Beast and Newsweek's second annual Women in the World Stories and Solutions summit. Tina Brown on the amazing guests and riveting stories that will pack the three-day event.

Plus, explore our interactive list honoring 150 women who shake the world.

We're doing it again!

Tonight, The Daily Beast and Newsweek will blast off to our second annual Women in the World Stories and Solutions summit, where extraordinary leaders from every field will come together: Brave dissidents speaking out against tyranny and cruelty; dedicated journalists trying to tell the truth in countries where it is a deadly vocation; foreign correspondents at risk in the vortex of wars and revolution; resourceful entrepreneurs launching self-sustaining businesses in the teeth of cultural and political resistance.

At the heart of this summit lies Newsweek and The Daily Beast’s commitment to report the potent stories that are often ignored. We want to inform fairly but frankly, too, we want to provoke action.

On our opening night, we will meet firebrands from the tumult for democracy who talk with Christiane Amanpour. Then, we will hear from a powerful advocate for women, Melinda Gates. And at a special dinner event, President Bill Clinton will bring his uniquely informed perspective to the events shaking our world.

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On Friday, the heroic Dr. Hawa Abdi will speak to us about how a model civic society has emerged from her opening of a health clinic in Somalia. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will be here, too, to underscore why women's rights can be a fulcrum for startling progress, and two former secretaries of State, Madeleine Albright and Condoleezza Rice, will expand on the pivotal role of American diplomacy. That evening, we'll celebrate at the United Nations, where Diane von Furstenberg hosts her second annual DVF awards to women leaders.

On Saturday, we are excited to welcome former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, who will talk with Barbara Walters about her first 100 days as the new director of U.N. Women.

Some narratives we will present are touching, others astounding: Sokha Chen, who was found three years ago scavenging on a trash heap in Phnom Pehn, is now a star student and dancer; Divya Keshav turned around her father’s printing business in Delhi, inspiring a new generation of young Indian business women; Dr. Amy Lehman will tell us about building a floating clinic that will reach up to three million people in Africa.

Because of last year’s amazing response and enthusiasm, what was intended to be a yearly summit is now transforming itself into an ongoing venture and movement on behalf of women and girls everywhere. Last year the audience was encouraged not to be passive observers but to become active participants in the organizations that help replicate the success of the women on our stage. This year’s event is designed even more with outcomes in mind. From raising money to providing each group with the latest HP technology, our Women in the World community has stepped up to support the critical work each organization pursues.

Throughout the weekend, there will be plenty of ways to send the word to the online community. You can:

  • Tweet using the hashtag #wiw11;
  • Interact with fellow and future attendees on our constantly updated Women in the World Facebook page
  • Watch the Livestream of the entire event on thedailybeast.com, where we will also have a live blog, video highlights, and written recaps of the events.

We salute our partners and corporate sponsors, all of whom are committed to initiatives helping women and without whom this summit would not be possible: Founding Partner HP, American Express, The Coca-Cola Company, ExxonMobil, Goldman Sachs, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Thomson Reuters, and the Virtue Foundation.

Nor would it have generated the life it has without my co-hosts Meryl Streep, Sheryl Sandberg, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Judith Rodin, Diane von Furstenberg, and partners Vital Voices Global Partnership, Women for Women International, and the United Nations Foundation.

We are many, but we speak with one voice in the hope that we may inspire and motivate this weekend, and awaken new commitments to change the lives of women of the world.

Let's get started!

Tina Brown is the editor-in-chief of The Daily Beast and Newsweek. She is the author of the 2007 New York Times best seller The Diana Chronicles. Brown is the former editor of Tatler, Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, and Talk magazines and host of CNBC's Topic A with Tina Brown.