Vital Voices Opens DC ‘Embassy’ to Promote Global Women’s Leadership
Vital Voices, a nonprofit group established in 1999 by then-First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, formally inaugurated its new headquarters May 5 with a celebration that included a parade from the White House, a ribbon-cutting, exhibits, luncheons, receptions, a panel discussion and a performance by pop singer Milck.
Despite gray skies and an unusually chilly morning, the party-like atmosphere surrounding the opening of the 35,000-sq-foot Global Headquarters for Women’s Leadership at 1509 16th Street NW attracted hundreds of dignitaries. These included D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, Vital Voices President and CEO Alyse Nelson, chair of the board Kate James, fashion industry icon Diane von Furstenberg and, of course, Clinton.
“It started out of conversations that we all had,” Clinton said in opening remarks, recalling the organization’s birth 23 years ago following a Beijing conference on women’s rights. “What can we do to create a network that supports women leaders across the globe? How do we empower and enable women who are on the front lines, as changemakers?”
Added Nelson: “We created Vital Voices for women leaders around the world, and the women in our network are the reason we felt we needed … to amplify them and their innovative solutions for tackling the world’s greatest challenges.”
The team at Vital Voices says this women’s embassy is the first of its kind. “We want to be the stop on every senior leaders’ agenda,” said Nelson.