Tracey Attended The Women In The World SummitWomen in the World Summit gathers heavy hitters like Angelina Jolie, Chelsea Clinton to honor activists
Young women are looking beyond Snooki and Kim Kardashian at the real world - and solving its problems
Young women are looking beyond Snooki and Kim Kardashian and their own shoe closets out at the real world and its problems — and solving them. That was the high-energy conclusion of the Women in the World Summit at Lincoln Center Saturday, organized by Newsweek/Daily Beast Editor-in-Chief Tina Brown with a list of guests she alone could gather.
From Angelina Jolie, who opened the three-day event, to U.S. Secretary of State Clinton, who closed, 2,000 attendees met speakers like International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde, former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, Israeli opposition leader Tsipi Livni, Meryl Streep, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, Madeleine Albright, Gael Garcia Bernal, Kosovo President Atifete Jahjaga, Diane von Furstenberg, Christy (Every Mother Counts) Turlington, Chelsea Clinton, Jenna and Barbara Bush (Global Health Corps) and their cousin, Lauren Bush Lauren (FEED). But it was the courage of women and girl activists from all over the world who blew even these top leaders and philanthropists away.
Women such as Zin Mar Aung, jailed in solitary confinement in Burma for 11 years just for carrying political flyers about Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi — then, the minute she got out, she started organizing again. And Suma, who was sold in Nepal by her parents at 6 into indentured servitude for six years until an organization called Room to Read helped liberated her. Now, she helps liberate the 20,000 other girls who remain enslaved.
Suma's story will be told as part of a film called '10x10,' scheduled for release early next year.
Or Dalia Ziada, who like other Egyptian women walked first into Tahrir Square in front of the men because they thought soldiers wouldn’t touch them — only to be blocked by men from winning office now. She told the room, "There is no spring without flowers; there is no Arab spring without women."
And other activists fighting forced marriage in Pakistan and India, sex slavery in Mexico and even the right to drive in Saudi Arabia. Six months ago, Brown set up the Women in the World Foundation to connect and fund nonprofits helping girls and women around the globe. "What's exciting about this event is that these women come here and get energized by the freedoms that we have here," said Brown, who became a U.S. citizen in 2005. "I think that by showing these women that we care about them, that we support them, either financially or with time, it fortifies them in their struggle."
What these girls are doing could energize a nation. Look at 17-year-old Talia Leman, who is linking companies with kids to raise money for their favorite causes, after raising $10 million for Katrina relief at her website RandomKid.com.
Jessica Matthews and fellow 23-year-old Julia Silverman invented Soccett, a soccer ball which, when kicked, recharges a battery inside to provide two hours of electricity for use in Third World places where there is none.
Lauren Bush Lauren sells bags at her FEED nonprofit that each feed two children in Kenya for a year. Columbia student Julie Zeilinger, 18, raises feminist consciousness on her blog at thefbomb.org. And anti-bullying activist Emily-Anne Rigal, 18, was praised by Lady Gaga for her WeStopHate.org site.
There's Chelsea Clinton, who has helped stop the passage of the HIV virus to newborns in partnership with Mothers2Mothers.org. And another First Daughter, Barbara Bush, whose Global Health Corps sends volunteers to clinics around the world based on the Teach for America model. "Our friends don't care what Kim Kardashian tweets," Jenna Bush, who co-founded Global Health Partners with her sister Barbara, told the Daily News.
"It's a choice," brilliant comedian Tracey Ullman told The News. "You can watch reality shows, or not. I mean, have fun. I heard all the women over there at the charity boutique shopping and saying, 'Aren’t these African bracelets gorgeous?' We love to shop. As Diane von Furstenberg said yesterday, 'Girls will be girls.' Have fun. But then get serious."