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Phoebe M. Asiyo, Kenyan Advocate for Women, to Speak at U.Va. on Tuesday

November 11, 2010 — The Honorable  Phoebe M. Asiyo, a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations Development Fund for Women and chair of the Kenyan Caucus for Women's Leadership, will speak at the University of Virginia on women's leadership and the new constitution of Kenya on Nov. 16, from 5 to 7 p.m., in Jefferson Hall, Hotel C on the West Range.

The adoption of the new Kenyan constitution on Aug. 26 has been heralded as the start of "a new dawn in Kenya" Asiyo will discuss the national and international implications of the new constitution for women and society, and share some of her own experiences in women's leadership initiatives in Kenya and around the world as the first female member of the Kenyan parliament and as a UNIFEM Goodwill Ambassador.

UNIFEM – part of UN Women, the United Nations' Entity on Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women – was established in 1976. It provides financial and technical assistance to innovative programs and strategies that foster women's empowerment.

"UNIFEM works on the premise that it is the fundamental right of every woman to live a life free from discrimination and violence, and that gender equality is essential to achieving development and to building just societies," the organization's website says.

Asiyo has also served as commissioner for the constitution of Kenya Review Commission, the chief executive officer of the Child Welfare Society of Kenya, a delegate to the UN Commission on the Status of Women and a delegate to the UN General Assembly's Committee on Human Rights. Along with her current roles, she serves as a board member of countless nongovernmental organizations and nonprofit organizations.

Asiyo lives in Kenya, where she remains a dedicated activist, community leader and champion of women's rights.

Her presentation, sponsored by the U.Va. Women's Center and the Organization of International Students, will be followed by a reception in Jefferson Hall.

Seating will be limited; guests are asked to arrive early to guarantee seats. RSVP or send inquiries to Betsy Graves at

— By Anne Bromley

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