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Cherie Blair inaugurates female empowerment program

The Daily Star Lebanon, 8 September 2011

"Our aim is to enable women to develop and build on their business talents"

Beirut: Cherie Blair, wife of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, joined Lebanese women and several NGOs Wednesday for the launch of a project that aims to empower women in the country.

The project, entitled “Women Entrepreneurs in Lebanon,” was launched collectively by Tomorrow’s Youth Organization, the Rene Mouawad Foundation and the financial services company, J.P. Morgan.

Prior to the launch of the program, 42 women participated in an intensive four-day training at the Business Incubation Association in Tripoli in July.

Wednesday’s ceremony saw former Social Affairs Minister Nayla Mouawad, along with Blair and the founder of TYO, Hani Masri, kick off the project to help create new opportunities for qualified and creative women in northern Lebanon.

Blair said that the training provided to the Lebanese women through the project would empower them on several levels: “Our aim is to enable women to develop and build on their business talents, and to use this growing financial empowerment to help themselves, their families, and wider society.”

Blair heads the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, which works to support women in developing and emerging markets to set up and expand their businesses. The women who took part in the training in Tripoli came together from different parts of northern Lebanon and the program was designed to strengthen their understanding of the critical success factors for developing and managing a business.

There have been many calls for the integration of women in key administrative and executive positions in the country.

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