International Women’s Day is a day that is observed annually at the United Nations and is designated by many countries as a national holiday. It began as a remembrance and celebration of the struggle faced by women around the world in the name of equality, justice, peace and development. Though the role of women around the world has continued to evolve in the nine decades since the inception of International Women’s Day, women in the 21st century still face many obstacles in the advancement of their status worldwide. Regardless of ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic and political differences, the desire and need for progressive change is universal.
2016 Keynote Speaker
Sheila Watt-Cloutier is one of the world’s most recognized environmental and human rights advocates. Experienced in working with global decision makers for over a decade, Watt-Cloutier offers a new model for twenty-first-century leadership. She treats the issues of our day—the environment, the economy, foreign policy, global health, and sustainability—not as separate concerns, but as a deeply interconnected whole. In 2007, Watt-Cloutier was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore for her advocacy work in showing the impact global climate change has on human rights, especially in the Arctic, where it is felt more immediately and more dramatically than anywhere else in the world.
In addition to her Nobel nomination, Watt-Cloutier has been awarded the Aboriginal Achievement Award, the UN Champion of the Earth Award, and the prestigious Norwegian Sophie Prize. She is also an officer of the Order of Canada. From 1995 to 2002, she served as the elected Canadian president of the Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC). In 2002, she was elected international chair of the council. Under her leadership, the world’s first international legal action on climate change was launched with a petition to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. In December 2015, she received the Right Livelihood Award from Sweden, generally considered the "Alternative Nobel Prize."
Published in December 2015 by Penguin Canada, Watt-Cloutier is the author of The Right to Be Cold: One Woman's Story of Protecting Her Culture, the Arctic and the Whole Planet.
2016 Cultural Speaker
Katie Kennicott will speak on how the flower industry positively impacts the women of Columbia and Ecuador. Kathleen Doyle was born in Lansing, Michigan a long time ago, the second of six children (five of them girls). All were educated at Michigan State University. She graduated in 1958 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Secondary Education with emphasis on History and Mathematics. Harrison Kennicott and Kathleen Doyle Kennicott were married in 1959. They have five children, fifteeen grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Katie taught school for five years before entering the flower industry, with Harrison, as the Business Development and Customer Service Representative for Kennicott Brothers Company. She currently serves as vice-president and on the board of directors. As the company grew, Katie and Harrison traveled extensively to South America, Europe, the Far East, and Australia, in addition to the United States in an effort to locate the best flower growers to serve an ever-expanding global market. Kennicott Brothers Company was started in Chicago in 1881 and continues to this day as an ESOP (employee stock ownership) company under the leadership of the Kennicott family. Kennicott Brothers Company is an importer of fresh flowers with more than 450 employees in sixteen locations in ten states.
Tickets start at $65.