NY Celebration of Women Diplomats
A reception to celebrate and highlight the achievements of women diplomats
Hosted by WFPG Member Geraldine Kunstadter

New York, NY—On April 15, 2010, the Women's Foreign Policy Group held a Celebration of Women Diplomats at the home of WFPG member Geraldine Kunstadter. The event, which focused on the achievements of women diplomats, honored six ambassadors to the United Nations and five women consuls general from the New York area. The diplomats spoke of the role of women in foreign policy and reflected on their own goals and responsibilities.

Three women ambassadors, from the Bahamas, Grenada, and Monaco, shared personal experiences and thoughts on progress.

As Ambassador Paulette Bethel of the Permanent Mission of the Bahamas to the UN noted, economic development and the global enfranchisement of women are closely linked. Though the recent financial crisis and spate of natural disasters have been devastating to global economies, the political and socioeconomic progress of women should remain a central priority to the world's powers." It is an inescapable fact that the world's development and prosperity depend on the development and empowerment of fully one-half of humanity: women." She spoke of her own country's contribution by citing the significantly increased political participation of women in the Bahamas since their independence in 1973.

Ambassador Isabelle F. Picco addressed the pivotal role education plays in the lives of young women all over the world, saying, "I was lucky to come from a family where education was a priority," and is convinced that "without education of women we won't achieve any development or peace in the world." In a departure from the other two speakers, Ambassador Dessima Williams of Grenada spoke about women's global leadership and activism. In particular, the Grenadian Ambassador spoke of the unique task of women at the United Nations "not just to have presence and to be there but to really see how we can affect the agenda and how in doing so, by changing the culture to affect the agenda...we can impact our culture."

Several other women officials attended the evening reception and program including Deputy Chiefs of Mission to the UN from Suriname, Barbados, Norway, Tanzania, Armenia, and Finland, as well as diplomats from the Consulates General of Indonesia, Taiwan, Finland, Cyprus, Greece, the Czech Republic, Estonia, and Slovenia.


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UN Ambassador Isabelle Picco (Monaco),
WFPG Member Geraldine Kundstadter,
UN Ambassador Paulette Bethel (Bahamas),
and WFPG President Patricia Ellis

  Speakers Paulette Bethel, Isabelle Picco, and
UN Ambassador Dessima Williams (Grenada)

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Consul General of the Czech Republic
Dr. Eliska Zigova,
UN Ambassador Gabriella Shalev (Israel)

  Patricia Ellis and Geraldine Kundstadter with
UN Ambassador Marta Fekszi (Hungary)

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Consul General of Cyprus Koula Sophinaou with
Patricia Ellis and Consul General of Finland
Ritva Jolkkonen

  Vice Consul for Information, Social, and
Cultural Affairs of the Indonesian Consulate
General Rina F. Wahyuningsih,
WFPG Member Claire Cavanaugh

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Diplomats during Q&A

  Diplomats with WFPG members and guests