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Penn Law’s de Silva de Alwis to facilitate high-level roundtable of women heads of state, Nov. 28 in Reykjavik, Iceland

On November 28, Rangita de Silva de Alwis, the University of Pennsylvania Law School’s Associate Dean for International Programs, will be a featured participant, or “Conversationist,” at a major international summit, the Women Leaders Global Forum in Reykjavik, Iceland. De Silva de Alwis will moderate a high-level roundtable event titled “Power Together,” featuring the participation of several women heads of state and other world leaders, including Prime Minister of Serbia Ana Brnabić, Katrín Jakobsdóttir, Prime Minister of Iceland; Amal Al Qubaisi, President of the Federal National Council of United Arab Emirates; and Nicola Sturgeon, First Minster of Scotland.

This extraordinary roundtable will address the means by which women leaders can accelerate progress toward peaceful societies, at a time when the global focus is on fractures, chaos and violence. In addition, at the summit de Silva de Alwis will facilitate the Reykjavik Declaration, a document which will be signed by the women world leaders and which aims to rededicate their commitments to solving some of the pressing challenges of the 21st century, including threats to multilateralism, extremist violence across the globe, and xenophobia.    

The Forum is annually co-hosted by Women Political Leaders (WPL), the government and parliament of Iceland, and co-chaired by leaders of the OECD, World Bank, World Economic Forum and others. It is an invitation-only platform where attendees, called Conversationists by summit organizers, share ideas and solutions on how to further advance society, increase equality between women and men, and promote and positively develop the number of women in leadership positions. The Forum launches on November 26 and runs through the 28th, and the inaugural event with high level women leaders will be held at the Höfði House, a historically significant building in Reykjavik which hosted a momentous summit between U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in 1986.

De Silva de Alwis is a women’s human rights scholar and practitioner. At Penn Law, she founded the Global Women’s Leadership Project under the auspices of U.N. Women’s Executive Director Under Secretary General Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka to map the laws that regulate the status of women in the family. She also serves as Special Advisor to the President of Wellesley College on global women’s rights and women’s leadership, and serves on the UN Women High Level Working Group on Women’s Access to Justice. From November 2016 to November 2018, she served as a Global Advisor to the UN Sustainable Development Goal Fund and is currently Senior Adviser to the Executive Director of UN Women.