International Women's Day 2012

“Capitalizing on women’s potential in times of crisis”

On the occasion of International Women’s Day 2012, some of the world’s leading human rights activists, politicians and thinkers will gather to reflect on the impact of the global financial, food and climate crisis on women and the role women play in promoting peace and human rights. While women are often the first to suffer when basic human rights are threatened, given the chance, they can be powerful agents for change for a better world. 

A high-profile panel discussion, hosted by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, will take place on Thursday 8 March 2012 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in Room XX, Palais des Nations, Geneva, Switzerland. Following a “talk-show” format, the High Commissioner will ask panellists questions on the impact of the current crisis on women and how capitalizing on their potential can lead to more sustainable and just societies.

8 March 2012, 6 p.m. - 8 p.m.
Room XX, The Human Rights and Alliance of Civilizations Room

Welcome remarks by the President of the Human Rights Council and Permanent Representative of Uruguay to the United Nations Office at Geneva, Ms. Laura Dupuy Lasserre.

Video: reading of the poem Remember? by Alice Walker

Interactive panel discussion moderated by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms. Navi Pillay, with:

  • Mr. Stephen Lewis (Canada), Co-Director of AIDS-Free World
  • Ms. Maryam al-Khawaja (Bahrain), Head of Foreign Relations for the Bahrain Center for Human Rights
  • Mr. Kumi Naidoo (South Africa), International Executive Director of Greenpeace
  • Ms. Kim Phúc Phan Thị (Vietnam), UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador

Part I: the impact of the global climate, financial and food crisis on women
Part II: role of women in promoting peace and human rights

After the conclusion of Part II, the moderator will take questions from the audience. The audience is therefore encourages to ask concise questions (no statements) related to the interventions of the panelists.

Some 350 participants are expected to attend the event, including delegates of the Human Rights Council, United Nations staff, media and academics.

For security reasons, access to Room XX will be limited to accredited members and external participants with invitation. To register, click here.

The two-hour event will be entirely recorded and transmitted live on the UN Webcast - Human Rights Council website (channel 11 or 12).

All journalists accredited to the United Nations are invited to cover the event.

Simultaneous interpretation will be provided in English, French, Spanish and Arabic.

For security reasons, access to Palais des Nations is restricted to accredited participants only. 

Profile of speakers
Stephen Lewis, Maryam al-Khawaja, Kumi Naidoo, Kim Phúc Phan Thi, Alice Walker.

Statements and messages
Statements by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay.

UN activities to celebration International Women’s Day 2012
See how the UN celebrates International Women’s Day around the world.

Download the brochure (PDF) of the International Women's Day event held in Geneva, Switzerland, on 8 March 2012.