Opening remarks

by the NATO Special Representative for Women, Peace and Security, Irene Fellin at the High-level women's breakfast

  • 12 Jul. 2023 -
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  • Last updated: 12 Jul. 2023 15:07

With the participation of Allied Female Foreign and Defence Ministers and other Invited Guests

(As delivered)

Dear participants and dear friends, 

A very warm welcome to all of you to this high-level women's breakfast. 

The world is watching us. The Alliance is taking important decisions for the future as Russia continues its war of aggression against Ukraine, bringing death and destruction to the heart of Europe. 

At this historic moment for transatlantic security, when we make Ukraine and Alliance even stronger, we also make our bond stronger. 

Following the successful gathering of women ministers at last year's Summit in Madrid, today we are getting again together to contribute to this discussion. 

This is a space that we have gained, and that we can all be proud of. Because leadership matters. And women's leadership matters, and we would like to see more women across the Alliance – even among NATO leaders. 

But how can we leverage women’s leadership? We have a collective responsibility to do more. We are here making the change that we seek, leading by example, and inspiring women and girls to join us, now and in the future. 

As we know, you can't be what you cannot see. Life is showing us how leadership manifests itself in a variety of ways, from politics to civil society. And this is why I'm particularly glad to have with us today representative from civil society: Your strong leadership has paved the way for women's political representation and participation in peace and security matters, and you continue to be at the forefront of the Women, Peace and Security agenda every day.

In this critical time for our security and for international peace and stability, as we are facing multiple security challenges, our voices and leadership are vital. It is only through our diversity and inclusivity that we can get a comprehensive understanding of the world, and find the right solutions for longer lasting and more sustainable peace. 

This is why we are establishing here this unique space to exchange on imperative issues to transatlantic security. NATO is an alliance of democracies based on our common values and at the same time, we are also building a new alliance between women leaders, political and non-[political]. Leadership matters, and I am committed to continue to create and promote space such spaces for dialogue: It is together that we can expand and enhance women's voices in peace and security. 

This Summit is making Ukraine stronger as we set out a vision for its future, and reaffirm that Ukraine will become a member of NATO. It is only with the inclusion of women's leadership and voices that this support will bring the change and results we want to achieve. 

I would like to thank Lithuania and all those who have worked hard to make this event happen. It is now with great pleasure that I give the floor to Viktorija Čmilytė-Nielsen, Speaker of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania. 

Viktorija, the floor is yours.