GFLA Summit
& Meeting Highlights

Every year, GFLA convenes First Ladies, their staff and expert advisors alongside the UN General Assembly in New York, as well as bi-annually in Addis Ababa, to strengthen relationships, enable coalitions, share best practices, and build the capacity of the Office of the First Lady. The program includes facilitated, off-the-record roundtables for First Ladies to share successes, challenges, personal experiences and shared strategies.

“Today’s discussions were indeed very useful. I am convinced that as role models, change-makers, and leaders in our respective countries, we are increasingly realizing our potential and must now take specific steps alongside our development partners to improve our existing projects and programs to positively change the lives of our people.”

HE Penehupifo Pohamba, former First Lady of Namibia & Chair of the Organization of African First Ladies Against AIDS.

2009 Los Angeles

2010 Washington, DC

2011 New York & Addis Ababa

2012 New York & Addis Ababa

2013 Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, Addis Ababa & New York

2014-2018 New York

Selected highlights from our summits below

2018 Summit

In 2018, GFLA partnered with Scholastic, ATKearney, and Voice of America for a summit focusing on strategic planning. The summit was held during the United Nations General Assembly week in New York and engaged First Ladies and their Offices from thirteen countries. Through this summit, First Ladies refined their priorities, implementation strategies, and methods for evaluation and reporting.

2017 Summit

In 2017, GFLA partnered with Facebook, MAC AIDS Fund and OkayAfrica for The Future of Women: Defining Leadership in a New Era Summit. The summit was held during the United Nations General Assembly Week in New York and focused on tangible solutions for creating equitable societies. Through working sessions on women’s empowerment and the role of technology and social media, First Ladies discussed ways to amplify women’s voices and create positive change. At this summit, GFLA announced #theFutureofWomen 2017 Awardees and celebrated the work of rising African women leaders in the area of technology, social impact, and creative entrepreneurship.

2013 Summit

In 2013, GFLA partnered with the Bush Institute for the “Investing in Women Strengthening Africa” Summit in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The two-day summit brought together Heads of State, current and former First Ladies, including Michelle Obama, Laura Bush and Cherie Blair, government officials, academics and representatives from non-profit and private sector organizations around the world to focus on effective investments in women that lead to greater stability and prosperity in countries. Participants discussed how to effectively empower women entrepreneurs and improve agricultural outcomes for female farmers among other issues.

Learn more about the program and watch the panels here.

2012 Summit

In 2012, GFLA partnered with RAND, the Pardee RAND Graduate School, and the Ford Foundation for a summit focused on becoming effective leaders. The First Ladies were given an invaluable opportunity to meet with their peers from other African Nations, the U.S. and the UK, for a private, facilitated discussion on the challenges and possibilities of their unique roles. The conversations centered around ways to use the First Ladies’ Offices advance women’s health, girls’ education, and women’s economic empowerment. The summit meeting was followed by a five-day seminar for the First Ladies’ senior staff focused on strategic planning, evaluation of health programs, and the development of successful partnerships.

Read more about the participants and sponsor, and access photos here.

2009 Summit

The 2009 summit was the first global gathering of First Ladies of its kind. It paved the way for a long-term partnership with RAND Corporation, which has since grown into the Global First Ladies Alliance. The summit focused on health and education and brought together First Ladies from across Africa and First Lady Sarah Brown of the UK, First Lady Maria Shriver of California, and First Lady Laura Bush, as well as representatives from academia, the private and nonprofit sector, and from international agencies, such as the Honorable Melanne Verveer, former Ambassador At-Large for Global Women’s Issues, Monir Islam of the World Health Organization and France Donnay of the Gates Foundation.