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CARE Spotlights Women and Girls at Canadian Embassy

By Allyson Portee,

On May 22, CARE’s Global Leaders Network hosted a reception for 150 guests at the Embassy of Canada in conjunction with the group’s annual National Conference. The night focused on bringing attention to the world’s underserved, particularly women and girls, with the aim of ending poverty and eradicating child marriages that prevent girls from educational and other opportunities. The nonprofit recognized that our neighbor to the north, Canada, has been a leader in fighting poverty by pushing for gender equality.

CARE works to provide aid, save lives, defeat poverty and promote social justice around the world. It puts a special emphasis on empowering poor girls and women because they often have the power to lift whole families and entire communities out of poverty. In 1945, the group began its first relief efforts, sending CARE packages full of food and essential supplies throughout a recovering, post-World War II Europe. Last year, CARE worked in 95 countries and directly reached 80 million people.

Recently, the Global Leaders Network was created as an active community of politicians, military officials, business leaders and other committed to supporting CARE’s work to enhance global security and continue America’s tradition of leadership toward peace, stability and better lives. Since late 2017, the network has hosted regular events, including several at local embassies.

CARE board member Michèle Flournoy, former U.S. undersecretary of defense for policy, left, presents Canadian Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau with the CARE Global Leader’s Network first-ever Humanitarian Award. (Photo: Neshan H. Naltchayan)

In December 2017, the Embassy of Afghanistan held a CARE Global Leaders Network event to showcase how CARE and Afghanistan are ensuring that young girls in the war-torn receive an education.

And in February of this year, CARE teamed up with the Finnish Embassy to highlight food insecurity in Africa, examining how climate change, access to markets and gender inequality also play a large role in Africa’s food challenges.

The Canadian Embassy reception was filled with various embassy representatives from Jordan, Australia, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Finland and, of course, Canada. CARE board member and WestExec CEO Michèle Flournoy served as emcee, while Ambassador of Canada to the Organization of American States Jennifer Loten opened the evening, noting that she is the first woman to hold her post.

Marie-Claude Bibeau, Canada’s minister of international development and La Francophonie, was also on hand to receive the Global Leaders Network’s first-ever Humanitarian Award.

Canadian Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau, Canadian Ambassador to the OAS Jennifer Loten and WestExec CEO Michèle Flournoy chat during a CARE Global Leaders Network reception at the Embassy of Canada. (Photo: Neshan H. Naltchayan)

“We all recognize the importance of women in poverty. To empower women, we need to educate girls and provide assistance,” said Bibeau. She added that for the G7 Summit in Charlevoix, Canada, this month, Canada brought in young girls to speak with the delegation of world leaders, ask questions and discuss their challenges.

Gillian Barth, CEO and president of CARE Canada, spoke on the importance of educating girls and how Canada has been at the forefront of this initiative. “Women and girls are powerful agents of change,” said Barth, citing a CARE project in the Peruvian Andes to curtail teenage pregnancies.

CARE President and CEO Michelle Nunn, who has spent 25 years dedicated to civic and public service, spoke about CARE’s strategy to guide and grow the hometown humanitarian organization’s impact to 200 million lives by 2020 through scale and innovation. In pursuit of that mission, Nunn has trekked nearly 175,000 miles across 23 countries so far, often to the front lines of the world’s largest refugee crisis since World War II.

CARE President and CEO Michelle Nunn welcomes 150 guests to the Canadian Embassy. (Photo: Neshan H. Naltchayan)

She has helped oversee CARE’s work assisting Syrian refugees, building food security and resilience in drought-stricken Ethiopia and expanding girls’ education in conflict-plagued Somalia. She also traveled to Niger to mark the 25th anniversary of CARE’s pioneering Village Savings & Loan Associations, or VSLAs, which now have more than 10 million members worldwide.

Joe Ruiz from UPS said his company is an active supporter of CARE’s mission. He noted that UPS has worked to help 96,000 taxi drivers around the world be able to spot sex trafficking and contributed to efforts to donate 10,000 pints of blood to women who need it after childbirth.

Adm. Gary Roughead, former U.S. chief of naval operations, shared his appreciation for CARE’s work before and during his Naval career. “I grew up living around the world, and I saw poverty in Iran after their earthquake in 1962. The work that you do and focus on is key, even if people don’t agree with it, because it is what helps fix crises, diseases and other issues.”


Allyson Portee (@allyportee) is a communications professional who has worked in the U.S. government, nonprofits and the media. Her work has appeared in Idealog Magazine, NIAF’s Ambassador Magazine, Propel Women and Converge Magazine. She is also the founder and editor of Seele Magazine.




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