Empowering Women for Peace: How to Enable Women’s Entrepreneurship and Economic Inclusion in Conflict-Affected and Forced Displacement Settings

Empowering Women for Peace was the title of an event on Thursday led by World Bank CEO Kristalina Georgieva. The event featured government leaders from around the world, as well as women entrepreneurs living and working in fragile settings, who have overcome immense obstacles to launch and maintain their businesses. Among the panelists: Mayor of Baghdad Thikra Alwash, Deputy Minister of Interna... view more


An introduction to the Empowering Women for Peace panel. Hear from panelist Diane Jacovella on why women's inclusion and empowerment is important in conflict zones and how Canada practically supports women's participation and leadership. Secondly hear from World Bank CEO Kristalina Georgieva about what the World Bank has been doing to promote women's entrepreneurship and economic inclusion in areas effected by conflict.


In this second portion of the panel discussion hear from Mayor Thikra Mohammed Jabir Alwash about some of the challenges facing women business owners in Baghdad, Dr. Sahar Nasr about her experience and advice for increasing women's economic opportunities facing fragility conflict and violence, and lastly from Patricia Veringa-Gieskes on how the Job Factory is contributing to peace and stability in The DRC.


In this portion of the panel hear from Lina Khalifeh about the organization SheFighter she launched in 2010 which has provided self defense training to more than 15,000 women globally as well as from Sigrid Kaag on how to promote the economic empowerment and inclusion of female refugees.


In this closing section of the panel hear from Dr. Sahar Nasr on the role of men in serving as gender champions, and from Mayor Thikra Mohammed Jabir Alwash on her perspective on the role of men in increasing female inclusion. Additionally hear from Diane Jacovella on where she would like to see the conversation move in 1 years time, and from Kristalina Georgieva on whether women's empowerment and entrepreneurship can take place in isolation from the other changes occurring in society. Lastly listen to a short Q&A from the audience.

About the Presenters

Kristalina Georgieva

CEO, World Bank

Kristalina Georgieva assumed her current position as the Chief Executive Officer for the World Bank on January 2, 2017.

As the CEO for the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the International Development Association, the World Bank’s lending arms for middle-income and poor countries, Georgieva will build support across the international community to help mobilize resources and develop more effective solutions for the poor at the scale required.

Previously, Georgieva, a Bulgarian national, helped shape the agenda of the European Union since 2010, first as Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, where she managed one of the world's largest humanitarian aid budget and established herself as a global champion for resilience.

As the European Commission Vice President for Budget and Human Resources, Georgieva was in charge of the European Union's €161 billion (US $175bn) budget and 33,000 staff across its institutions around the world. She tripled funding available to the refugee crisis in Europe and drove rapid progress towards achieving a target of 40 percent women in management by 2019 in order to improve the Commission's gender balance.

Georgieva is widely respected for her efforts to mobilize the international community to find innovative solutions to today's complex challenges. As the co-chair of the United Nations Secretary-General's High-Level Panel on Humanitarian Financing, she secured the adoption of a much more effective system to meet the needs of record numbers of vulnerable people.

Before joining the European Commission, Georgieva held multiple positions at the World Bank. In her most recent role as the Vice President and Corporate Secretary (2008-2010), she was the interlocutor between the World Bank Group’s senior management, its Board of Directors and its shareholder countries. In the wake of the 2008 international financial crisis, she played a key role in the World Bank's governance reform and accompanying capital increase.

From 2007 to 2008, Georgieva was Director for Sustainable Development in charge of policy and lending operations in infrastructure, urban development, agriculture, environment and social development, including support to fragile and conflict-affected countries. In this role she oversaw around 60% of lending operations of the World Bank Group.

Prior to that, in 2004, Georgieva was made World Bank Director for the Russian Federation, based in Moscow. Then she became Director in charge of the World Bank environmental strategy, policies and lending. Following that assignment, she became Director for Environment and Social Development for the East Asia and Pacific Region. Georgieva started working at the World Bank in 1993 as an Environmental Economist.

Deeply knowledgeable in international development and finance, Georgieva established a well-deserved reputation during her time at the Bank for her ability to build broad consensus and turn strategies into practice. She has more than 100 publications on environmental and economic policy topics, including a textbook on microeconomics.

Kristalina Georgieva was born in Sofia, Bulgaria, in 1953. She holds a Ph.D in Economic Science and a M.A. in Political Economy and Sociology from the University of National and World Economy, Sofia, where she was an Associate Professor between 1977 and 1991.

Thikra Mohammed Jabir Alwash

Mayor of Baghdad and Chairperson of the women advancement committee in Iraq

Dr. Alwash became first female Mayor of Baghdad in February 2015. She is also the Chairperson of the women advancement committee in Iraq, the high Committee for Baghdad Creative City of Literature and the Makiya Engineering Consultant of Baghdad Development Foundation. Dr. Alwash was Acting Project Manager in the Ministry of Education (2010-14), managing the rehabilitation/construction of the Iraqi universities project. She also served as Site Engineer for the construction of University of Babylon. Dr. Alwash champions the rights of women and girls and advocates towards gender equality and women’s empowerment in all spheres of life. She holds a Ph.D. in construction project management.

Sigrid Kaag

Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Netherlands

Sigrid Kaag worked for Shell International in London between 1988 and 1990 and at the UN Political Affairs Section of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 1990 to 1993. She subsequently held a series of international positions. From 1994 to 1997 she was the Programme Manager and Head of Donor Relations at the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in Jerusalem. She then worked at the International Organization for Migration in Geneva from 1998 to 2004. In 2004 and 2005 Mrs. Kaag was senior UN adviser in Khartoum and Nairobi. She continued her career at UNICEF, where she held various positions between 2005 and 2010, including Deputy Director of the Programme Division and Chief of Staff in New York, and Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa in Amman. Mrs. Kaag then served as Assistant Secretary-General for the UN Development Programme (UNDP) in New York. From October 2013 to September 2014 Mrs. Kaag, as UN Under-Secretary-General, led the mission to eliminate chemical weapons in Syria. After this mission was completed, in 2015, she became Under-Secretary-General in Lebanon with responsibility for all UN activities in the country, specifically the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701. In 2015 she received an honorary doctorate from the University of Exeter. She was awarded the Carnegie Wateler Peace Prize in 2016 in recognition of her efforts and the results of her work in the Middle East. On 26 October 2017, Sigrid Kaag was appointed Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation in the third Rutte government.

Dr. Sahar Nasr

Minister of Investment and International Cooperation, Egypt

Dr. Sahar Nasr was sworn in as the Egyptian Minister of Investment and International Cooperation on February 16, 2017. On March 14, 2017, she temporarily assumed the charge of the post of Minister of Public Business Sector. Dr. Nasr earned her Professorship from the Supreme Council of Universities. She is a Professor of Economics at the American University in Cairo and a Lecturer at several Egyptian and foreign universities, having published extensively. Since assuming her role as Minister of International Cooperation, Dr. Nasr has made several strides in restructuring and reforming the Ministry, and has focused on strengthening Egypt’s ties with its existing international partners, as well as exploring new opportunities for cooperation. She is the Coordinator of the National Committee for the Follow-Up on the Implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. Dr. Nasr has been a member of the Economic Development Council of the Presidential Office through which she provided economic consultations to the President of Egypt and drafted several proposals for the development of Egypt’s economic policies, boosting economic development efforts, coordinating and streamlining development initiatives and programs across different ministries and authorities, as well as to ensure the modernization of the economic performance system. She was granted the 2015 prize of the most influential woman in the Arab economic sector.

Patricia Veringa-Gieskes

Founder and CEO, The Job Factory

A Dutch-Congolese national, Patricia is founder and CEO of The Job Factory Recruitment in the Democratic Republic of Congo. After 15 years of professional experience in various fields in the Netherlands, Belgium and South Africa, she moved to DRC to open her business. In 2015, she was appointed President of the National Social Commission.

Diane Jacovella

Deputy Minister of International Development, Global Affairs, Canada

On June 23, 2017, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appointed Diane Jacovella as deputy minister of international development, effective July 31, 2017. Prior to this, Ms. Jacovella was Associate Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and served as the G7 Foreign Affairs Sous-Sherpa

Ms. Jacovella also served as Assistant Deputy Minister, Global Issues and Development, at Global Affairs Canada from November 2013 to 2016 and Vice-President of Multilateral and Global Programs at the Canadian International Development Agency from 2007 to 2013. She also held a number of executive positions at Health Canada, Human Resources Development Canada, and the Privy Council Office.

Roula Khalaf

Deputy Editor, Financial Times

Roula Khalaf is Deputy Editor of the Financial Times. She has worked for the FT since 1995, first as North Africa correspondent, then Middle East correspondent and most recently as Middle East editor. Before joining the FT, she was a staff writer for Forbes magazine in New York. Roula oversees the FT’s network of foreign correspondents and bureaus. She writes regularly on global politics and business.