November 16, 2011 – International Day of Tolerance

This past Wednesday, November 16, 2011, was the International Day of Tolerance and in celebration, I attended a conference at the Hyatt Regency in Century City, Los Angeles called The Feminine Light in the Middle East. WriteGirl sponsored me and Kirsten, Programs Manager of the organization, was going to be on a panel to talk about WriteGirl’s program that mentors teenage girls in Los Angeles.

Exactly as it sounds, the conference was about girls and women in the Middle East, but also about “feminine light”, which I would argue is not feminine at all, but rather an understanding of oneself. The conference was therefore not “masculine” in its format, but instead featured panels full of people who work in organizations that support the rights of girls and women in the Middle East, in addition to breathing and meditation exercises.

I met many wonderful people from Middle Eastern countries, breathed pretty deeply after each panel, and learned about the work of Global Girl Media ,  UN Foundation Girl Up, and the Global Peace Project.

The most impressive part of the conference was when a 13 year old Girl Up ambassador encouraged us to use social media to connect inspirational leaders to young girls around the world. She was so well-spoken and passionate about inspiring young girls, just as she had been inspired, that we all stood up and applauded for her five minutes.

I had a wonderful time discussing Islamophobia, the veil, and other heavy topics with the sensitive and intelligent attendees. I hope you all had a wonderful International Day of Tolerance as well, and thank you so much to WriteGirl for bringing me to this wonderful conference!

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