EMGA Secures US$ 20M Debt Finance for Costa Rica’s Banco Improsa

LONDON, Oct. 31, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Emerging Markets Global Advisory LLP (EMGA) for the second time working with Banco Improsa, secures this US$20M facility from the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) – AECID (advised by COFIDES).

Commenting on the transaction, Felix Alpizar, General Manager of BANCO IMPROSA, said: “Banco Improsa is very honored to be recognized by AECID and COFIDES for both its track record and programs to finance and support Costa Rican micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs). With this credit we will continue our contribution to the economic and social development of the country.”

EMGA’s Head of Investment Banking Sajeev Chakkalakal said, “A pleasure again to facilitate Banco Improsa’s continued vision of supporting SMEs within Costa Rica and complete this funding solution with AECID (advised by COFIDES).”

José Luis Curbelo, chairman and CEO of COFIDES, stated that “we are pleased to support AECID in its first impact project with EMGA and IMPROSA in the Central American region. The transaction will be used to finance small and medium enterprises in Costa Rica, which will contribute to the creation and maintenance of quality jobs and reducing inequalities. We look forward to continuing these strategic partnerships, which enhance economic growth in developing countries by strengthening the private sector through sound financial support.”

Carlos Jiménez Aguirre, General Manager of FONPRODE and Head AECID’s Financial Cooperation Department expressed that “the formalization of this transaction reflects Spanish Cooperation’s aims to contribute to expand the financial support for Costa Rican micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), as MSMEs play a key role in creating and maintaining decent jobs and reducing inequalities. Our intention is to expand this kind of support to other Central American countries in providing access to finance to MSMEs, with a special focus on mainstreaming gender and climate change strategies in private sector activities.”

Emerging Markets Global Advisory LLP, based in London, helps emerging market based financial institutions and corporates seeking new debt or equity capital.

Banco Improsa was founded in 1995 and is a niche bank with a specialization in providing financial solutions and services to MSMEs, which account for most of its portfolio. It has an extensive track record in providing support and advisory services to MSMEs. Banco Improsa’s key success factor lies in its commitment to high standards of personalized, agile, and flexible service, which, together with customized financial solutions, have enabled it to achieve a solid position in these segments. Banco Improsa is part of Grupo Financiero Improsa (GFI).

Fund for the Promotion of Development (FONPRODE), managed by Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) with the support of COFIDES (Spanish Development Finance Institution). AECID is the main management body of Spanish Cooperation and is oriented towards the fight against poverty and the promotion of sustainable development. COFIDES provides support management for FONPRODE with reimbursable financing operations that promote social and economic development of partner countries through investments or transfers of economic resources with a reimbursable nature. FONPRODE may finance non-reimbursable and reimbursable debt and equity. Examples of refundable financing offered by FONPRODE are loans to financial service providers aimed at financial inclusion.

COFIDES, a state-owned company engaging in the management of State and third-party as well as its own funds, pursues several aims; internationalization of Spain’s economy, furtherance of economic development and fortification of the solvency of companies affected by COVID-19. In addition to the Spanish State, its shareholders include Banco Santander, Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA), Banco Sabadell and Development Bank of Latin America (CAF).

Jeremy Dobson


GlobeNewswire Distribution ID 1000753987

Deloitte Global Selects Joe Ucuzoglu as Next Global CEO; Deloitte Global CEO Punit Renjen Announces Retirement After Record Growth

NEW YORK, Oct. 31, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — The Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (Deloitte Global) Board today announced the selection of Joe Ucuzoglu as Deloitte Global CEO, subject to a ratification vote by Deloitte member firm partners. Ucuzoglu has been the CEO of Deloitte US since 2019. Deloitte operates in 150 countries with more than 415,000 professionals and revenue in our latest fiscal year of $59.3 billion.

As used in this document, "Deloitte" means Deloitte LLP. Please see www.deloitte.com/us/about for a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte LLP and its subsidiaries. Certain services may not be available to attest clients under the rules and regulations of public accounting.

Ucuzoglu will succeed Punit Renjen, who has served as the Deloitte Global CEO since 2015. Upon retirement, Renjen will become Global CEO Emeritus. As Deloitte Global CEO, Renjen developed and executed a global strategy that resulted in Deloitte revenue growing from $35 billion to more than $59 billion in just seven years. Today, Deloitte is the leading professional services organization in the world, recognized as the strongest and most valuable commercial services brand, a leader in audit quality, and one of the world’s best places to work.

Under Renjen’s leadership, Deloitte launched WorldClass—a global effort to prepare 100 million underprivileged people for a world of opportunity—based on the belief that when society thrives, business thrives. Renjen also spearheaded Deloitte’s WorldClimate initiative, which includes near-term (2030) greenhouse gas reduction goals which have been validated by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) as 1.5°C-aligned, science-based targets.

“The Deloitte Global Board and I want to thank Punit for leading Deloitte to extraordinary growth and meaningful societal impact, and for his decades of commitment to the organization,” said Sharon Thorne, Deloitte Global Board Chair.

Speaking of his successor, Renjen said, “Joe is an exceptional leader. We have worked together side by side for many years, and I believe he is an excellent choice to serve as the next Deloitte Global CEO. He has been a member of the Deloitte Global Executive team for the last several years, and I am confident that, under his leadership, Deloitte will continue to deliver outstanding results for our people, clients, and the communities in which we live and work.”

In response to his nomination, Joe Ucuzoglu, Deloitte US CEO and the next Deloitte Global CEO said, “It is my great honor to be chosen to lead this extraordinary organization. I believe deeply in Deloitte’s responsibility to lead through the unprecedented pace of change the world is experiencing, and to meet the rapidly expanding needs of our stakeholders. I want to thank Punit for his excellent leadership of Deloitte.”

“It has truly been an honor and privilege to lead Deloitte over the past several years,” said Renjen. “More important than any commercial outcome, I am proud of the incredible societal impact we have been able to make as a purpose-driven enterprise. And I am looking forward to some exciting endeavors, including dedicating time to several societal causes about which I am deeply passionate, including sustainability and climate.”

Deloitte Global’s rigorous and comprehensive nomination, selection and member firm partner ratification process occurs every four years and includes all Deloitte member firms. The member firm partner vote to ratify Ucuzoglu will take place throughout the month of November, and he will assume the Deloitte Global CEO role upon Renjen’s retirement on 31 December 2022.

As Ucuzoglu prepares to assume his new Deloitte Global responsibilities, the Deloitte US firm’s well-established succession process occurs every four years and is underway.

About Deloitte
Deloitte refers to one or more of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (“DTTL”), its global network of member firms, and their related entities (collectively, the “Deloitte organization”). DTTL (also referred to as “Deloitte Global”) and each of its member firms and related entities are legally separate and independent entities, which cannot obligate or bind each other in respect of third parties. DTTL and each DTTL member firm and related entity is liable only for its own acts and omissions, and not those of each other. DTTL does not provide services to clients. Please see www.deloitte.com/about to learn more.

Deloitte provides industry-leading audit and assurance, tax and legal, consulting, financial advisory, and risk advisory services to nearly 90% of the Fortune Global 500® and thousands of private companies. Our professionals deliver measurable and lasting results that help reinforce public trust in capital markets, enable clients to transform and thrive, and lead the way toward a stronger economy, a more equitable society and a sustainable world. Building on its 175-plus year history, Deloitte spans more than 150 countries and territories. Learn how Deloitte’s approximately 415,000 people worldwide make an impact that matters at www.deloitte.com.

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Pawel Lopatka Joins Customertimes as Strategic Portfolio Leader

NEW YORK, Oct. 31, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Customertimes, an international leader in digital solutions and a global Salesforce integration and implementation partner, announced today that veteran IT executive Pawel Lopatka has joined the company as Strategic Portfolio Leader.

Mr. Lopatka brings a broad suite of skills and strategic expertise to his new role. He is regarded as one of the most effective, innovative managers working in Poland’s IT sector, with deep experience in financial technology, retail, media, digital transformation, outsourcing, the Metaverse, and mergers & acquisitions.

Recognized by the Pro Progressio Foundation as Manager of the Year in 2018 and as a Business Tiger from 2017 to 2022, Mr. Lopatka has spearheaded European initiatives for a range of global companies. He is a former Board Member of the Polish Chapter of the Project Management Institute and Poland’s Association of Business Service Leaders.

Customertimes COO Brian Borack said Mr. Lopatka is central to the company’s plans for accelerated European growth.

“Pawel is widely regarded for his strategic and operational acumen,” said Mr. Borack. “We’re scaling dramatically, and Pawel’s vision and insight will be a key ingredient to blaze the trail for our clients, team, and organization.”

Mr. Lopatka considers Customertimes an ideal fit for his skills and personal ethos.

“Customertimes’ primary mission is implicit in the company’s name – serving the customer above all else,” said Mr. Lopatka. “That’s a commitment I share. I’m devoted to driving customer success, ensuring quality delivery, and helping the company scale its client portfolio. Customertimes has a stellar reputation for top talent and delivering cutting-edge solutions on deadline. That’s why it’s growing rapidly, and why I’m proud to join the leadership team.”

To learn more:

Contact us: experts@customertimes.com

Follow us on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/customertimes

About Customertimes:

Customertimes Corp. is a global consulting and software firm dedicated to making top IT technologies accessible to customers. With more than 4,000 projects completed by 1,600+ highly skilled experts, our solutions are engineered to help clients realize true business transformation and achieve maximum value from their technology investments. An early entrant into the Salesforce consulting and implementation space in Eastern Europe and an award-winning product development organization, Customertimes Corp. has headquarters in New York City, with regional offices in London, Paris, Toronto, Kyiv, Poznan, Riga, and Podgorica. For more information, visit www.customertimes.com.

Media Contact:

Meriel Sikora




Conagen’s fermentation platform expands on promising novel forms of vitamin K2

Bedford, Mass., Oct. 31, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Biotech innovator, Conagen announced the development of its fermentation-derived vitamin K2 – a high-purity all-trans menaquinone-7 (MK-7).  This is the first molecule from a proprietary platform for producing novel, pure, long-chain menaquinone forms of the vitamin. The platform enables low-cost manufacturing and yields high-quality products, making it attractive to health brands.

“Conagen’s MK-7 technology produces a clean profile of the vitamin without other similar molecules, such as ubiquinone,” said Casey Lippmeier, Ph.D., senior vice president of innovation at Conagen. “Our process allows us to make pure forms of any long-chain menaquinone, be it 6, 7, 8, 9, and these can be consumed in various combinations with other vitamins or with each other to make the most effective supplement possible. As the clinical evidence evolves, so can the supplement.”

Vitamin K2 helps to regulate calcium mobility in bones and restricts calcium buildup in blood vessels, leading to stroke and heart disease. MK-7 is the more bioavailable form of K2 on the market; the other major form is MK-4, which both have taken a strong position in the markets for bone and cardiovascular health.

The biological activity of MK-7 is strictly linked to its all-trans configuration, which is naturally found in fermented superfoods such as natto. Cis-analogues are considered biologically inactive. Synthetic versions of MK-7 contain some amount of the cis-isomer form. Low-quality sources containing cis forms affect the efficacy of the vitamin.

Other long-chain forms of vitamin K2, such as MK-8 and MK-9, exist naturally in cheeses. Research on the health benefits of these other K2 forms has only begun to emerge.

Personalized nutrition is popular with consumers looking for technological breakthroughs in functional foods and nutrition. Conagen’s cost-effective fermentation-derived MK-7 provides new opportunities for brands to develop products to meet the demand of the growing aging population.

“We’re demonstrating our capabilities with innovative technologies that expand market choices in nutrition,” said Lippmeier. “Our fermentation and bioconversion platforms have also produced the clean nutrient ergothioneine and the antioxidant taxifolin, further demonstrating the versatility of our platform technologies.”

Conagen’s research into the MK-7 production process was done in part as a 3-year collaboration with the lab of Prof. Anthony Sinskey at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Health brands interested in non-GMO, vegan vitamin K2 MK-4 and MK-7 and special ingredients, such as ErgoActive® L-Ergothioneine® and Taxifolin BC DHQ® for nutrition and food and beverage preservation, respectively, can contact Blue California, a pipeline partner of Conagen. To inquire more about Conagen’s products or partnerships, please visit www.conagen.com.

About Conagen

Conagen is a product-focused, synthetic biology R&D company with large-scale manufacturing service capabilities. Our scientists and engineers use the latest synthetic biology tools to develop high-quality, sustainable, nature-based products by precision fermentation and enzymatic bioconversion. We focus on the bioproduction of high-value ingredients for food, nutrition, flavors and fragrances, pharmaceutical, and renewable materials industries.


Ana Arakelian, Head of Public Relations and Communications

GlobeNewswire Distribution ID 8685378

G20 Health Ministers Meeting Delivers Six Key Actions for the Upcoming Leaders’ Summit

BALI, Oct. 31, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Indonesian Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin closed G20 Second Health Ministerial Meeting in Bali, 28 October 2022. This meeting is the culmination of G20 discussions about strengthening the global health architecture and strengthening pandemic prevention, preparedness and response.

G20 Health Ministers Meeting Produced Key Actions to Strengthen Global Health Architecture

While current geopolitical tension had been widely reflected over the three days’ meetings, G20 member states maintain a strong commitment, together addressing global health challenges and finding a common solution. Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin said, “Despite our differences, the G20 member states have come together to speak the same language—the language of humanity, the language of health that knows no border.”

The meeting produced a technical document to be submitted for consideration during the G20 Leaders’ Summit in mid-November. Six key actions will be carried forward as follow:

  1. The Health Track has led to the design and launch of the Pandemic Fund. G20 members will continue and deepen the work envisioned for the Joint Finance and Health Task Force (JFHTF) and call on all G20 countries to build on the major concrete achievement of the Pandemic Fund – previously known as the Financial Intermediary Fund (FIF) on Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness, and Response
  2. Following the completion of the ACT-A evaluation, G20 countries should continue to lead the shaping of successor entities and functions to ensure the readiness of mechanisms to respond to future pandemics
  3. Under the Indonesian G20 Presidency, G20 member states have brought progress on genomic surveillance, which should pave the way for continued attention and progress as a crucial part of pandemic prevention, preparedness and response
  4. Further global collaboration to build on the successes of existing travel certificate systems while moving towards interoperability of these systems;
  5. Conduct a gap analysis and mapping of existing and emerging research and manufacturing networks, which should be taken forward by the next Indian presidency of the G20
  6. Concrete actions emerge from the side events of the G20 Health agenda, with a call to action to increase funding to combat Tuberculosis; a commitment to implement the One Health initiative; and a call to action to enhance improvements in the capacity to prevent, detect and respond to AMR.

Indonesia will pass the G20 Presidency baton to India, where members will collectively further discuss and pursue efforts to address and strengthen global health architecture.

Photo – https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/1933398/Image.jpg

Dominica’s Anichi Resort & Spa provides a 2% annual return while under construction

Roseau, Oct. 31, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Anichi Resort & Spa will be providing a 2% annual return to investors despite being under construction. The management of the much-anticipated five-star luxury resort and spa in Dominica has said that the project is in full swing, and that once construction is completed, annual returns will be based on the resort’s operation.

Following an official update, an estimated 70% of the project is now complete; this includes the flooring as well as an extensive electricity infrastructure. The resort is being built on 12 acres of land, with 128 rooms. I will host world-class amenities, such as a lagoon swimming pool, an infinity pool, restaurants, a business centre and many others. Overlooking a picturesque beach, the resort will tastefully blend its modern architecture with the landscape’s tropical foliage.

Developed by Oriental Developers (Caribbean) Ltd, the resort will form part of the Autograph Collection, a premium international brand developed by renowned hotelier Marriott International. This links the resort to more than 100 luxury lifestyle hotels across 30 countries and territories – all of which have been constructed as part of Autograph Collection Hotels. Furthermore, Anichi Resort will be managed by Highgate, a dominant player in major US gateway cities with a growing footprint in the Caribbean and Latin America.

Anichi Resort & Spa is also one of the premium real estate options approved by the Dominican government’s Citizenship by Investment (CBI) programme. The CBI Index of 2022, published by the PWM Magazine of the Financial Times, recognises it as the “World’s Best Citizenship by Investment Programme”. The minimum investment threshold for Anichi Resort & Spa is $220,000 (USD), an expenditure which also comes with lifetime Dominican citizenship and property ownership.

The resort will bolster the tourism sector and generate extensive employment for locals. The country already occupies a notable position, ranking first among 25 other Caribbean islands – winning due to its lush green jungles, hot springs and striking black-sand beaches. Annually, scores of investors fly to Dominica owing to its large number of government-approved investment projects. The Citizenship by Investment Programme of Dominica allows these individuals to purchase freehold shares in government-approved properties.

Anichi Resort & Spa provides investors and CBI applicants with a Return on Investment (ROI) as well as a route towards diversifying their portfolios and planning their wealth

The Prime Minister of Dominica, Dr Roosevelt Skerrit, praised the CBI Programme, “Thanks to the real-estate investment option of the Citizenship by Investment Programme,” he noted, “the country is catching the attraction of travel-enthusiasts and is now known for [its] luxury tourism offering. Under the Citizenship Programme, investors looking to expand their real estate portfolio have the opportunity to invest in established luxury hotel brands and villas.” 

Dominica’s real estate investment option has long provided premium, luxury projects for investment. A prior example of this is Secret Bay, a real estate property which paid out more than $1 million (USD) in returns to investors. The Residences at Secret Bay also promises great returns, having drawn more than 100 Citizenship by Investment (CBI) owners. The resort has already won a number of awards, and it is anticipated that Anichi Resort & Spa will likewise be counted as one of the jewels in Dominica’s real estate crown.

Anichi Resort promises to be a meaningful asset during this time of global uncertainty. CS Global Partners, a legal consulting firm working in the investment citizenship field, noted that, beyond the resort’s world-class architecture and lush surrounding environment, “[t]he project also brings in interest from investors keen to participate in the development through Dominica’s Citizenship by Investment (CBI) Programme. Once completed, the resort promises to transform Dominica’s tourism sector while also boosting employment for the local community”.

Concurrently, Dominica is witnessing the construction of several other hotels, including a Hilton hotel, which will also fall under the government-approved real estate investment options of the country’s CBI programme. Many of these properties are being built to be sustainable and climate-resilient, with the continued construction of such resorts and hotels positioning the island as a top destination for eco-luxury resorts.

Dominica’s real estate is thus proving to be a popular option among investors and high net-worth individuals (HNWIs). Bolstering investment is the strength of the country’s CBI programme. The credibility and trustworthiness of Dominica’s programme has been maintained since its launch almost three decades ago, and it has been ranked the world’s best CBI programme for its sixth consecutive year. Alongside alternative citizenship, the Citizenship by Investment Programme of Dominica provides a number of other opportunities to investors. These include:

  • The ability to become a global citizen and be part of a global community transcends Dominica’s land borders.
  • The ability to hold multiple citizenships.
  • A citizenship that is granted for life and can be passed on to future generations.
  • An opportunity to provide families and children with a peaceful, stable, safe and welcoming home.
  • Access to countless business opportunities, with the option of portfolio diversification.
  • Enhanced opportunities for wealth planning and expanding business overseas.
  • A stable currency, with Dominica’s currency, the East Caribbean Dollar (XCD), pegged to USD.

These factors, combined with alternative citizenship, present individuals with a rich array of business and personal advantages. As the success and promise of the Anichi Resort & Spa attest, the island along with its CBI programme offers investment with unrivalled returns.

PR Dominica
Commonwealth of Dominica
001 (767) 266 3919

GlobeNewswire Distribution ID 8685334

Hisense a dévoilé son premier réfrigérateur H750FSB-IDS en Afrique du Sud

LE CAP, Afrique du Sud, 31 octobre 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Hisense, l’une des principales marques mondiales d’appareils électroménagers et d’électronique grand public, a lancé un nouveau réfrigérateur intelligent haut de gamme doté de caractéristiques impressionnantes en Afrique du Sud.

La première révélation du produit H750FSB-IDS a été dévoilée chez House & Home à Menlyn Mall, Pretoria, le 26 octobre. La direction de Hisense et House & Home ont assisté à la cérémonie.

« Nous sommes, en tant qu’équipe Hisense, professionnellement et personnellement, très excités de lancer l’un de nos produits Hisense les plus innovants et les plus luxueux en Afrique du Sud. Cette innovation va bien au-delà de la simple réfrigération, elle s’intègre parfaitement à la vie des familles et à leurs activités quotidiennes, en veillant à ce qu’aucun moment important ne soit manqué en raison des tâches de la vie quotidienne. Nous ne vendons pas seulement des appareils, Hisense a un impact positif sur les environnements dans lesquels vivent nos produits », a déclaré Mme Vivi, directrice générale de Hisense Afrique du Sud.

Le réfrigérateur H750FSB-IDS Smart Touchscreen Multi-Door Refrigerator possède des caractéristiques qui améliorent les moments en famille. C’est la valeur que la technologie des produits Hisense apporte aux foyers de nos clients.

Gardez vos aliments frais

Il dispose d’une fonction d’inventaire des aliments qui vous permet de gérer sans effort votre nourriture en nommant tous les articles présents dans votre réfrigérateur et en définissant des dates d’expiration. Le réfrigérateur intelligent PureFlat de Hisense vous avertit alors de l’expiration de vos aliments afin de minimiser le gaspillage alimentaire.

Vos aliments resteront frais plus longtemps grâce aux trois compartiments de refroidissement du réfrigérateur. Ceux-ci contrôlent indépendamment la température et l’humidité pour différents types d’aliments.

En outre, le troisième de ces compartiments a une plage de température allant de -18 degrés à +5 degrés, ce qui lui permet de fonctionner comme un réfrigérateur ou un congélateur.

En combinaison avec la protection antibactérienne du Hisense H750FSB-IDS, jusqu’à 99,99 % des bactéries sont éliminées, assurant que votre nourriture est toujours dans la meilleure condition possible.

Fonctions intelligentes

Le Hisense H750FSB-IDS est aussi intelligent à l’extérieur qu’à l’intérieur.

Son grand écran tactile peut être utilisé pour créer une liste de courses qui se synchronise avec votre smartphone, ce qui la rend facilement accessible en dehors de la maison. Si vous avez du mal à créer une liste de courses parce que vous ne savez pas quoi cuisiner, le Hisense H750FSB-IDS est équipé de plus de 150 recettes pour vous aider à planifier facilement vos prochains repas.

Ces recettes peuvent également être visualisées sur le grand écran tactile pendant que vous cuisinez. Si vous cuisinez alors que le dernier match de rugby est en cours, vous pouvez le regarder sur cet écran en plaçant votre smartphone en miroir sur le réfrigérateur.

Photo – https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/1932224/IMG_3624.jpg

Sec. Hillary Clinton, Canada’s Deputy PM Chrystia Freeland, Oprah Winfrey, Malala, Christine Lagarde, Michelle Obama & Global Women Leaders from Over 14 Countries Sign an Open Letter Calling for UN Action Against Iran

The Open Letter, Published in Sunday’s New York Times, Calls for the Immediate Expulsion of the Islamic Republic of Iran from the UN Commission on the Status of Women

WASHINGTON, D.C., Oct. 30, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The world’s preeminent women leaders in business, politics, advocacy and the arts published an open letter in Sunday’s New York Times calling for the immediate removal of the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) from the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW).

Signatories of the letter include Sec. Hillary Clinton, Canada’s Deputy Prime Minister & Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland, Media Leader & Philanthropist Oprah Winfrey, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate & Education Activist Malala Yousafzai, Economic & Political Leader Christine Lagarde, former First Lady of the United States & Advocate of Girls Education Michelle Obama, former Executive Director of UN Women Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, former head of UN Climate Change Convention Christiana Figueres DBE, former First Lady of the United States & Education Advocate Laura Bush, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate & Human Rights Activist Nadia Murad and women in leadership positions from 14 countries (and counting).

This global effort—a partnership between Vital Voices, For Freedoms and a coalition of Iranian women leaders—comes amid more than 40 days of worldwide protests launched and led by Iranian women and girls after the tragic death of 22-year-old Mahsa Jina Amini. The protestors are demanding justice after Amini died on September 16, 2022 while in police custody. Amini was arrested by the Islamic Republic of Iran’s “morality police” for allegedly not complying with mandatory hijab laws.

Reports of extreme punishments and harsh crackdowns against protestors by Iranian authorities have flooded international headlines and social media feeds in the weeks since Amini’s death, gaining worldwide attention and scrutiny.

The group of women leaders who signed on to the letter came together in solidarity with Iranian women and girls with a clear call to action: the immediate removal of the Islamic Republic of Iran from the Commission on the Status of Women.

Within the first few days of going live, the letter received more than 21,000 signatures and growing. Additionally, more than 130,000 petitioners have also signed a letter asking for the same outcome on Change.org.

The open letter states: “We condemn the brutal violence of security forces against peaceful protesters … Earlier this year, to the dismay of women’s rights advocates around the world, Iran began a four–year term on the UN’s 45–member Commission on the Status of Women. This preeminent global body is exclusively dedicated to promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment. The Islamic Republic of Iran’s long–standing, systematic oppression of women should have disqualified them from election to the CSW.”

The letter also laments the Islamic Republic of Iran’s record on women’s rights, citing gender inequality and legalized discrimination against women regarding marriage, divorce, inheritance, child custody cases and attire. These restrictions include the mandate that requires women to wear head coverings at the onset of puberty.

The signatories of the letter warn that the violence and loss of life will continue without global intervention at the highest levels, and that the Commission on the Status of Women will lose credibility each day the Islamic Republic of Iran remains a member.

“This is a critical moment for leaders in the international community to vocally and unequivocally demonstrate their support for women’s rights by standing in solidarity with Iranian women and girls,” states the letter.

Members of the public are invited to read the full letter here. To join the movement, sign on here.

About Vital Voices Global Partnership
Now celebrating 25 years, Vital Voices Global Partnership has directly invested in more than 20,000 women leaders across 184 countries and territories since its inception in 1997. Driven by the universal truth that women are the key to progress in their communities and nations cannot move forward without women in leadership positions, Vital Voices has provided early support for leaders who went on to become Nobel Peace Prize Laureates, U.S. Youth Poet Laureates, prime ministers, award-winning innovators, pioneering human rights defenders, and breakthrough social entrepreneurs, including Amanda Gorman and Malala Yousafzai. In an effort to advance and expand this work, in 2022 Vital Voices opened the doors to the world’s first global embassy for women, the Vital Voices Global Headquarters for Women’s Leadership. It is a first-of-its-kind space that allows for convening, innovation, planning, and action—all in the pursuit of serving women leaders who are taking on the world’s greatest challenges.

About For Freedoms
For Freedoms is an artist collective that centers art and creativity as a catalyst for transformative connection and collective liberation.

By wielding the power of art, we aim to deepen and expand our capacity to interrogate what is and imagine what could be.

Together, we seek infinite expansion.


Vital Voices Global Partnership

GlobeNewswire Distribution ID 8685121

AU Voices ‘Extreme Concern’ Over DRC Security Situation

The African Union on Sunday said it was worried about the deteriorating security situation in the troubled eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, where rebels have made fresh gains.

In a joint statement, AU Chairman Macky Sall and AU Commission Chair Moussa Faki Mahamat said expressed “extreme concern” at the failing security and appealed for calm and dialogue.

They called “on all the parties to establish an immediate cease-fire, respect international law, the safety and security of civilians,” the statement said.

The M23 rebels seized more territory in the vast, mineral-rich DRC on Saturday, prompting the U.N. peacekeeping mission to increase its “troop alert level” and boost support for the army.

The latest advance came as diplomatic relations between neighbors DRC and Rwanda worsened. The authorities in Kinshasa, who accuse Rwanda of supporting the M23 rebels, on Saturday announced the Rwandan ambassador would be expelled, a move Kigali said was regrettable.

The AU urged all the parties to engage “in a constructive dialogue” to ensure peace in the troubled region.

M23, a mostly Congolese Tutsi group, resumed fighting in late 2021 after lying dormant for years, accusing the government of having failed to honor an agreement over the demobilization of its fighters.

It has since captured swaths of territory in North Kivu, including the key town of Bunagana on the Ugandan border in June.

Source: Voice of America