About Conference

The U.S. Vital Voices Democracy Initiative

The Vital Voices Democracy Initiative is a public-private partnership which reflects U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright's commitment to promote the advancement of women as a U.S. foreign policy objective. U.S. First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton has actively supported the Vital Voices Democracy Initiative. Mrs. Clinton will be the concluding keynote speaker at the Conference to underscore her support for the Conference's objectives, and for implementation of projects drawing on the Vital Voices network.

Stable and Prosperous Democracies and Regional Cooperation

The main objectives of the Conference are to:

  1. Develop practical solutions to issues that affect all citizens in the region working for prosperous and stable democracies;
  2. Promote regional integration and contacts through initiatives that build cooperation among countries of Northern Europe as a basis for lasting security; and
  3. Encourage the full participation of women in the political and economic life of the region.

Focus on Women

The Conference will concentrate on strategies to enable women to fully participate in the political and economic life of their countries. It will address 10 broad areas:

  1. 21st century learning skills;
  2. Developing leadership potential;
  3. Networking and mentoring programs;
  4. Participating in public life;
  5. Energizing entrepreneurship;
  6. Creating a quality workplace;
  7. Increasing NGO effectiveness;
  8. Promoting equality through legislation and practice;
  9. Mastering information technology and the media; and
  10. The changing roles of men and women.

Northern Europe in the 21st Century

The Conference in Reykjavik is designed to strengthen democratic institutions and prosperous market economies and to encourage regional integration in Northern Europe by promoting the status of women. Those are also the goals of the U.S. Northern European Initiative (NEI), which seeks to bolster the security and prosperity of the Baltic Sea area through enhanced regional cooperation in a variety of fields. Private sector investment and the activities of non-governmental organizations contribute to the evolution of stable, democratic, market-oriented societies where the rule of law is respected and entrepreneurship can flourish. By involving representatives of governments, the business community, and non-governmental organizations, the Conference will maximize resources available, and reinforce the impact of projects and initiatives to be developed and implemented over the coming years.

Public-Private Partnerships

Supporting initiatives to encourage the full participation of women in the development of democratic societies and prosperous market economies offers the business community the opportunity to:

  • Interact with a group of dynamic and successful women among whom can be found the present and future political and economic leaders of the region;
  • Identify potential partners and colleagues with whom to build mutually beneficial relationships ; and
  • Shape a more positive climate for trade, investment and commerce, as well as gain favorable exposure in the regional marketplace.

Implementing Change

Putting into practice the strategies and initiatives developed at the Conference will be key to its long-term success, and to the achievement of the broader goals it serves. Implementing partners are needed to participate in creating solutions and carrying out initiatives developed at the Conference. They will be drawn from governments, NGOs and the business community. Implementing partners can contribute expertise, technical assistance, training and educational opportunities or financial resources to support the initiatives discussed at the Conference. Examples of initiatives which implementing partners are supporting include:

  • Internships, professional enrichment, and executive training opportunities;
  • Technical assistance and advice;
  • Support for networking activities (establishment of web sites, computer and language training, etc.);
  • Sponsoring scholarships, travel, and familiarization visits.
  • Organizing regional seminars, conference, and other exchanges; and
  • Job training and placement programs.

For more information about the Conference on Women and Democracy at the Dawn of the New Millennium In Conjunction with the Vital Voices Democracy initiative contact: