Al-Ahram Weekly Online   6 - 12 February 2003
Issue No. 624
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Pushing the agenda

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MRS SUZANNE Mubarak was in the Syrian capital of Damascus on Saturday to attend a celebration in observance of Arab Women's Day. Hosted by Syrian first lady Asmaa Al- Assad, the event also coincided with Sunday's inauguration of the Arab Women and Education Forum.

Several Arab queens and first ladies -- including Queen Rania of Jordan, Sheikha Sabika Al-Khalifa of Bahrain, Fatima Al- Bashir of Sudan, and Andre Lahoud of Lebanon -- took part in the forum, which was also attended by more than 100 women activists and public figures from 20 Arab countries.

A number of recommendations were announced at the forum's final session, including compiling a guidebook to enhance parents' awareness of basic child-rearing techniques, and launching a media campaign to strengthen Arab values.

On Sunday, Mrs Mubarak told Syrian news agency Sana that Syria's hosting of the forum reflects the attention it gives to advancing the status of Arab women and strengthening Arab collective action for a better Arab world. She also stressed the importance of the brand new Arab Women's Organisation, saying that Egypt and Syria were among the first countries who ratified its establishment. After the forum, Mrs Mubarak took part in a meeting of queens and first ladies held to discuss the practical procedures required to activate the organisation's efforts.

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