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The first OSCE Conference on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment was held

At South East European University in Tetovo, within the framework of the chairpersonship of the Republic of North Macedonia with the OSCE, today (September 5, 2023) the first OSCE Conference on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment was held, under the leadership and initiative of the OSCE Chairpersonship.

This event brought together high-level officials from OSCE participating states and partner countries together with representatives of the private sector, academia, civil society and other international organizations.

The conference began with a high-level opening panel, which included keynote speeches by the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, North Macedonia's Minister of Foreign Affairs Bujar Osmani and OSCE Secretary General Helga Maria Schmid.

“Thank you for joining us at the South East European University, an institution that was founded on the initiative of the first OSCE High Commissioner for National Minorities, the late Max van der Stoel, in 2001. The establishment of this institution in the North Macedonia offered the opportunity to strengthen one of the fundamental accelerating factors for the improvement of the role of women and girls, which is access to higher education, which serves as a basis for their greater involvement in the general social and decision-making processes", said among other things in his opening speech the Minister of Foreign Affairs of North Macedonia, Bujar Osmani.

The High Commissioner for National Minorities of the OSCE, Kairat Abdrakhmanov, during his speech at the opening of the conference, thanked the Rector of South East European University, Acad. Prof. Dr. Abdylmenaf Bexheti, staff and students for the dignified presentation and for the continuous development of the legacy of his former counterpart, Max van der Stoel. Commissioner Abdrakhmanov also held a bilateral meeting with Rector Bexheti, with whom he discussed current events in the field of higher education and other current developments of mutual interest.

Rector Bexheti is also one of the main panelists in the panel on the topic: "Mitigating the effects of corruption on women: towards economic equity and empowerment".

The two-day conference will provide an opportunity to review the implementation of existing commitments to gender equality and women's empowerment across the OSCE region, while reviewing achievements and considering possible ways forward.

There will also be three working sessions of the OSCE's work on gender equality in three dimensions and a closing session. The working sessions are complemented by some lateral events.