Pa­cific’s First Fe­male Leader To Open Con­fer­ence In Suva

Fiji Sun - - Nation - ASHNA KU­MAR SUVA Edited by Ranoba Baoa Feed­back: ashna.ku­mar@fi­

The Pa­cific is­land na­tions’ first fe­male leader of gov­ern­ment is set to open a Women’s Em­pow­er­ment Con­fer­ence which will be held at the Novo­tel Suva Lami Bay from next week.

Hilda C Heine made history as the first woman to lead an in­de­pen­dent Pa­cific Is­land na­tion when she was elected pres­i­dent of the Mar­shall Is­lands in Jan­uary 2016. She’s also a role model for young Pa­cific girls and women. It is the 13th Tri­en­nial Con­fer­ence of Pa­cific Women and 6th Meet­ing of the Pa­cific Min­is­ters for Women or­gan­ised by the Sec­re­tariat of the Pa­cific Com­mu­nity.

The week­long con­fer­ence will bring across 22 Pa­cific Is­land coun­tries and ter­ri­to­ries to dis­cuss progress and im­ple­men­ta­tion of gen­der equal­ity com­mit­ments in the re­gion.

Pres­i­dent Heine, 66, is the co-founder of the women’s rights group Women United To­gether Mar­shall Is­lands (WUTMI), an as­so­ci­a­tion ad­vo­cat­ing for the elim­i­na­tion of vi­o­lence against women and pro­vid­ing coun­selling ser­vices for vic­tims of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence.

In 2004, she be­came the first per­son (woman or man) in the Mar­shall Is­lands to earn a doc­tor­ate de­gree. She was also the first fe­male pres­i­dent of the Col­lege of Mar­shall Is­lands, and also the first pres­i­dent of the col­lege.

As pres­i­dent, she strongly ap­peals to and urges all coun­tries to take ac­tion to mit­i­gate cli­mate change. In June, she ad­dressed the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment to seek its sup­port to per­suade Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump of the im­por­tance and need for ur­gent ac­tion on cli­mate change.

The Mar­shall Is­lands com­prises over a thou­sand low-ly­ing is­lands and islets that are threat­ened by the ef­fects of cli­mate change such as ris­ing sea lev­els and more fre­quent and ex­treme weather events such as droughts and floods.

Mar­shall Is­land Pres­i­dent Hilda C Heine.

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