Johannesburg served  as the host city for the recent International Women’s Forum (IWF) World Cornerstone Conference, where hundreds of dynamic global leaders from around the world have come together for multi-day discussions and dialogue focused on South Africa’s journey to the future, in addition to the promise a rising continent provides to African people and our world.

The conference included localised events that examined important aspects of South Africa’s culture, including visits to the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, Constitutional Court of South Africa, South Africa’s University of the Witwatersrand, and activities in Soweto, Liliesleaf, Newtown and more.

“The IWF is honored to bring the World Cornerstone Conference and more than 400 global leaders together in Johannesburg to examine the rich history and great possibility that exists within South Africa,” said Dr. Vuyo Mahlati, President of IWF South Africa.

The International Women’s Forum is a singularly unique organization comprised of more than 6 000 of the world’s most dynamic, accomplished and visionary women who are dedicated to advancing better leadership around the world. These women of significant and diverse achievement span 33 nations, six continents, many careers and many cultures, and yet are wholly aligned in a commitment to change the face of global leadership.

The IWF, a 365-day-a-year membership organization, shapes global conferences and programs around the mission to build better leadership through training, mentoring and connectivity. Programs include the ExecutiveDevelopment Roundtable, the Leadership Foundation Fellows program, and the EY Women Athletes Business Network.

The 2015 IWF World Cornerstone Conference kicked off its first day with an incredible opening performance by the Imilonji KaNtu Choral Society, who sang beautiful, traditional African songs, which paid tribute to the country and the revered former President Nelson Mandela.

Following the performance, Praise Singer Zolani Mkiva took to the stage and blessed the audience of more than 400 global leaders from around the world with a sermon that inspired attendees, and set the tone for the day’s discussions, which centred around South Africa’s journey to the future.

The panel sessions that took place throughout the day featured prominent speakers who focused on the South Africa as a post-apartheid / post-Mandela country. Lumka Msibi, an Aeronautical Engineer recognised for her commitment to promoting South Africa as a place where youth can thrive and make the world a better place, highlighted the importance of education, and specifically expertise within STEM to move South Africa  forward.

Thuli Madonsela, Public Protector of South Africa, shared the need for government, big business, citizens and all parties of the country to come together and do more than “talk the talk,” in order to end corruption in the region and reshape the future of the country.

The final panel discussed how South Africa can “start again” in the aftermath of conflict, and how the country can become a more sustainable future for Africans and the people of the world, and featured Paul Hughes, Senior Advisor for International Security and Peacebuilding at the United States Institute of Peace who discussed the importance of breaking the cycle of conflict and rebuilding in its aftermath in order for Africa to continue to claim its rightful place among other developed, civil societies of the world.






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