Tuesday, August 20, 2019
United Nations Official to Speak at Family of Woman Breakfast
Dr. Natalia Kanem
Friday, February 1, 2019


The Under-Secretary of the United Nations will speak at a POV (Point of View) Breakfast associated with the 12th annual Family of Woman Film Festival on Wednesday, Feb. 27.

Dr. Natalia Kanem, who is also the executive director of UNFPA—the United Nation’s Agency for reproductive health and rights--will discuss her organization’s humanitarian relief in crisis situations, in particular training midwives in Yemen.

 Kanem was already slated to speak on “Women Still Waiting for Change” at the Festival’s Bonni Curran Memorial Lecture. That lecture, open to the public, is free of charge. She agreed to extend her stay to lead a discussion at the POV breakfast for Festival donors who give $500 or more to the festival.

Suzanne Bowles

“It’s rare that our community has the opportunity to host such an important figure on an international scale,” said Festival Founder Peggy Goldwyn. “She was in Davos as a speaker at the yearly international conference when we received word that she would be able to extend her stay with us.”

Kanem has worked in epidemiology and preventative medicine and she helped pioneer work in women’s reproductive health and sexuality as a Ford Foundation officer, then served with the foundation on its worldwide peace and social justice programs in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America and North America.

Kanem will be followed by two speakers from Tostan, an organization working to empower communities in West Africa. They will speak at a second POV breakfast on Thursday, Feb. 28.

Suzanne Bowles, head of the Tostan Global Mobilization Team will talk about how her organization has helped communities choose to abandon female genital mutilation and other harmful practices.

Naima Dido

She will be joined by Naima Dido, who was born in Nairobi, Kenya, after her parents fled from Ethiopia as political refugees. A survivor of female genital mutilation, she has worked for more than 20 years with underprivileged refugee communities in the United States and Africa.

Tostan means “breakthrough” in the Wolof language. The program has become a leading model for community-led change implemented in 22 languages across six African countries: Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Mauritania, Senegal and The Gambia.

The program has impacted more than two million lives since its founding in 1991.

Bowles has a degree in Politics and International Relations from Mount Holyoke College and is a graduate of the Tools for Change/Building Sustainable Local Economies at the E.F. Schumacher Society. She has presented at many international gatherings, such as the 2018 Girls Not Brides Conference.

Goldwyn said she shifted the dates of the breakfasts from Thursday and Friday to Wednesday and Thursday this year so if inclement weather forces a cancellation like last year, the Festival will be able to reschedule.

The Family of Woman Film Festival was founded in 2008 by Friends of UNFPA and its Board Member Peggy Elliott Goldwyn, who lives in Sun Valley.

This year’s festival will be held Feb. 25 to March 3 with matinee and evening screenings taking place at the Magic Lantern Cinemas. This year’s lineup includes “The Bleeding Edge” and “The Judge.”

Tickets are now available at Chapter One Book store. For more information, visit www.familyofwomanfilmfestival.org.


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