President and Founder of the Halo Foundation, Her Excellency Lady Williams, was one of the recipients of the Vigor Unsung Hero Awards, presented in Toronto, Canada at the International Women in Leadership Summit held last week.
“It is an honour to have supported the work of NGO’s nationally and internationally in striving to meet the sustainable development goals of our countries,” Lady Williams said. “As September 22nd marked the beginning of Gender Equity Week in Canada, and there is much debate and discussion surrounding the impact and importance of the 17 SDG’s, we particularly need to illuminate the fundamentally crucial nature of SDG5 – the empowerment of women and girls. In keeping with this mandate, 60% of the students currently funded for university scholarships by the Halo Foundation are female, and 60% of our activity and contribution goes towards projects solely dedicated to improving the plight of women and girls.”
She further commented, “The role that civil society is called to play in making our world a more palatable, pleasing and progressive place in which to live cannot be overlooked. The NGOs should have an orderly and constructive voice in the strategic planning of our world”.
Governor General, His Excellency Sir Rodney Williams was invited to deliver the keynote address at the event. Speaking on the topic of “The Importance of Regional and International Collaboration for the Attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals in Emerging Nations”, Sir Rodney drew reference to the steps being made towards the achievement of gender parity in Antigua and Barbuda, including the fact that 65% of our nation’s medical doctors and 85% our teachers are women, and 75% of individuals in the legal and judiciary profession are female.
According to Sir Rodney, “We live in a fast-changing world, with an ambitious set of goals and a rigorous time frame in which to meet them. Our best chance of success is through regional and international collaboration along with the private sector and civil society as partners”.
Other speakers, attendees and organisers at the Awards evening included 98-year old Hazel McCallion, CM who served as the 5th Mayor of Mississagua, Ontario until 2014; Junior Minister of Health and Gender Affairs in St.Kitts and Nevis, Hon. Hazel Brandy-Williams; and Dr. Marlyn Morris, Founder of the Ontario College for Development Training.