Dialogue for Action


The World Association of Non-Governmental Organizations (WANGO) joined together with the International Herald Tribune (the global edition of The New York Times) and The New York Forum as partners with the Cécelia Attias Foundation for Women for the Foundation's program "Dialogue for Action."

Held June 24 at the Grand Hyatt in downtown New York City, this event was billed as the first event of its kind to build a dynamic community of organizations that champion the cause of women's dignity, equality, and well-being. NGO leaders gathered from every continent and were provided with a platform for dialogue and sharing best practices, while experts and influencers from the public and private sectors of business, politics, media, and academia provided insight to identify solutions to the most pressing issues facing women.

Dialogue for Action is a new platform for Non-Governmental Organizations to discuss the significant issues that women face around the world. It is a project of the Cécelia Attias Foundation for Women, a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating and expanding a community of NGOs, philanthropists, and business leaders that are all committed to achieving tangible improvements in the lives of women worldwide. The Foundation provides a strategic, financial, and media platform for established nongovernmental organizations, associations, and charities who champion the cause of women’s equality and well-being. The president and founder of the Foundation is the former First Lady of France, Cécelia Attias.

An annual event, Dialogue for Action was held in conjunction with the inaugural New York Forum, which took place from June 22-23 in the same location. The New York Forum was organized by Richard Attias, the husband of Cecilia Attias, and gathered  top CEOs (Fortune 1000 CEOs), sovereign fund managers,  financial experts, and governmental leaders from around the world. Richard Attias produced the World Economic Forum for 13 years and launched the Clinton Global Initiative. The New York Forum is the New Davos, but one specifically focused on finding solutions for the economy, rather than the broad issues (health, culture, sports, etc.) now part of the over 300-session World Economic Forum. 

Gathering for Dialogue for Action was truly a blue-ribbon gathering. Mrs. Zanele Mbeki, the former first lady of South Africa and founder of the Women's Development Bank, addressed the event, as did Sophie Delaunay, the executive director of Doctors Without Borders, and Mary Ellen Iskenderian, President and CEO of Women's World Banking. Also presenting were the presidents, CEOs, or executive directors of such NGOs as Muslim Women Resource Center, Pro Mujer, Partnership for New York City, International Women's Health Coalition, Congolese Women League for Election, Tostan, Her Rights Initiative, UNIFEM, SAATHI, Women Without Borders, and Women for Women International.

The media and business worlds were represented by facilitators Cindi Leive (Editor-in-Chief, Glamour Magazine) and Sade Baderinwa (Anchor/Reporter WABC-TV), and speakers such as Alison Smale (Executive Editor, International Herald Tribune), Pamela Gross (Editor at Large, The Hill), and Dina Powell (President of Goldman Sachs Foundation). 

Among the governmental representatives were Ambassador Craig Stapleton, the former ambassador to France, and Fernando Villalonga, the Consul General of Spain. Participants such as Ms. Janet Robinson (President and CEO, The New York Times Company), Ms. Adriana Quinones (Manager, United Nations Trust Fund, UNIFEM), Ms. Ann Nicol (Executive Director, United Nations Association), and Ms. Christine Alfsen (Director, a.i., UNESCO) made for very rich discussions, as participants sought concrete steps to address issues of pressing import for women worldwide.