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Isobel Coleman

Senior Fellow and Director of the Civil Society, Markets, and Democracy Initiative; Director of the Women and Foreign Policy Program

Expertise

Democratization, economic development, civil society, gender, Middle East

Programs

Women and Foreign Policy , Civil Society, Markets, and Democracy Initiative , U.S. Foreign Policy Program

Featured Publications

All Publications

Ask CFR Experts

What does the generational shift of leadership in Saudi Arabia mean for the United States?

Asked by Matthew Rodrigues, from The George Washington University

Since the 1953 death of Saudi Arabia's eponymous founder, King Abdul-Aziz bin Saud, the country has been ruled by his sons. There will eventually be a shift in power to the next generation, but despite—or perhaps because of—the turmoil spreading across the region, that shift does not appear imminent.

Read full answer

See more in Saudi Arabia; Elections

Article

Sexual Violence and Inequality in India

Authors: Isobel Coleman and Julia Knight
Política Exterior

As measured by life outcomes, India does not value the lives of its sons as highly as it values the lives of its daughters. Moreover, it allows sexual violence to go unpunished and its victims undefended, whether on the city streets, in villages, in police stations, or in the courts. A powerful impetus for change exists in India, but the challenge of closing the gap between calls for reform and true long-term change looms large.

See more in India; Women; Human Rights

Podcast

The World Next Week: April 4, 2013

A preview of world events in the coming week from CFR.org: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry visits South Korea, Japan and China; President Obama submits a budget to Congress; and the re-trial of ousted Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak begins in Cairo.

See more in Global; Politics and Strategy

Article

Egyptís Financial High Noon

Author: Isobel Coleman
Foreign Policy

Isobel Coleman writes that while it is widely recognized that food and fuel subsidies in Egypt are expensive and inefficient, Egyptian leaders do not want to touch the political third rail of subsidy reform. But they also realize that the country's fiscal situation is untenable without it. Sooner or later, serious subsidy reform is inevitable, and a well-planned process is preferable to the alternative.

See more in Egypt; Economic Development

Article

Challenges to Womenís Security in the MENA Region

Author: Isobel Coleman
Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

In response to systemic sexual assaults on women in Egypt, activists have initiated well-organized campaigns to protect women's right to participate in the political sphere and to move in public spaces without fear for their personal safety. Isobel Coleman warns that politically motivated violence against women has still not crested.

See more in Middle East and North Africa; Women

Article

Is Religion Good for Women?

Author: Isobel Coleman
Tony Blair Faith Foundation

Isobel Coleman writes that increasingly, women's rights activists in some of the most religiously conservative communities recognize that they ignore religion at their peril and that they are using religious arguments to generate support – among men and women – for an expansion of female educational, social, economic, and political opportunities.

Current Projects

ExxonMobil Women and Development Series

Director: Isobel Coleman, Senior Fellow and Director of the Civil Society, Markets, and Democracy Initiative; Director of the Women and Foreign Policy Program
November 20, 2009—Present

The ExxonMobil Women and Development Series explores the ways in which governments, companies, and NGOs can promote economic development by focusing on women. With the generous support of the ExxonMobil, the series has so far examined such topics as women's role as change agents in the aftermath of the financial crisis and the potential of new technologies to promote women's economic empowerment in developing countries. Transcripts, audio, and video recordings of meetings in this series are available below.

Recent Activity from Democracy in Development

CFR Events

Roundtable Meeting ⁄ New York

Popular Media and Social Change

Speakers:

William Ryerson, Founder and President, Population Media Center, Roshaneh Zafar, Founder and Managing Director, Kashf Foundation

Presider:

Isobel Coleman, Senior Fellow and Director of the Civil Society, Markets, and Democracy Initiative; Director of the Women and Foreign Policy Program; Council on Foreign Relations
April 8, 2014

This meeting is on the record.

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Roundtable Meeting

Realizing the Promise of Clean Cookstoves

Speakers:

Radha Muthiah, Executive Director, Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, Gary Hattem, Managing Director, Community Development Finance Group at Deutsche Bank; President, Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation, Jonathan Cedar, Chief Executive Officer and Director, BioLite

Presider:

Isobel Coleman, Senior Fellow and Director of the Civil Society, Markets, and Democracy Initiative; Director of the Women and Foreign Policy Program, Council on Foreign Relations
March 24, 2014

This meeting is on the record.

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Roundtable Meeting ⁄ New York

Economic Development and the Tyranny of Experts

Speaker:

William Easterly, Author of The Tyranny of Experts: Economists, Dictators, and the Forgotten Rights of the Poor; Professor of Economics, New York University

Presider:

Isobel Coleman, Senior Fellow and Director of the Civil Society, Markets, and Democracy Initiative; Director of the Women and Foreign Policy Program; Council on Foreign Relations
March 5, 2014

This meeting is on the record.

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Roundtable Meeting

Yemen: Back from the Brink

Speaker:

Abdul Karim Aleryani, Former Prime Minister, Yemen; Vice President, Yemen National Dialogue Conference

Presider:

Isobel Coleman, Senior Fellow for U.S. Foreign Policy, Director, Civil Society, Markets, and Democracy Initiative, Council on Foreign Relations
February 5, 2014

This meeting is on the record.

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Roundtable Meeting ⁄ New York

Egypt's Turbulent Transition

Speakers:

Michele Dunne, Senior Associate, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Michael Wahid Hanna, Senior Fellow, The Century Foundation

Presider:

Isobel Coleman, Senior Fellow for U.S. Foreign Policy, Director, Civil Society, Markets, and Democracy Initiative, Council on Foreign Relations; Council on Foreign Relations
December 17, 2013

This meeting is on the record.

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Roundtable Meeting ⁄ New York

Savings: The Next Frontier in Financial Inclusion

Speakers:

Mary Ellen Iskenderian, President and CEO, Women's World Banking, Steve Hollingworth, President and CEO, Freedom from Hunger

Presider:

Isobel Coleman, Senior Fellow and Director of the Civil Society, Markets, and Democracy Initiative; Director of the Women and Foreign Policy Program; Council on Foreign Relations
December 16, 2013

This meeting is on the record.

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Roundtable Meeting

Are Cash Transfers the Best Way to Alleviate Global Poverty?

Speakers:

Chris Blattman, Assistant Professor, Columbia University, Paul Niehaus, Cofounder and President, GiveDirectly; Assistant Professor, University of California, San Diego

Presider:

Isobel Coleman, Senior Fellow for U.S. Foreign Policy, Director, Civil Society, Markets, and Democracy Initiative, Council on Foreign Relations
November 22, 2013

This meeting is on the record.

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Roundtable Meeting

Success in Africa: Who's Driving It and Where Is It Going?

Speaker:

Jonathan Berman, Senior Fellow, Columbia Universityís Vale Center; Senior Advisor, Dalberg; and Author, Success in Africa: CEO Insights from a Continent on the Rise

Presider:

Isobel Coleman, Senior Fellow for U.S. Foreign Policy, Director, Civil Society, Markets, and Democracy Initiative; Council on Foreign Relations
September 10, 2013

This meeting is on the record.

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Guest Event ⁄ New York

Pathways to Freedom: Political and Economic Lessons from Democratic Transitions

Speakers:

John Campbell, Ralph Bunche Senior Fellow, Africa Policy Studies, Council on Foreign Relations; Former U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria (2004-2007); Coauthor, Pathways to Freedom, Isobel Coleman, Senior Fellow and Director of the Civil Society, Markets, and Democracy Initiative, and Director of the Women and Foreign Policy Program, Council on Foreign Relations; Coauthor and Coeditor, Pathways to Freedom, Terra Lawson-Remer, Fellow for Civil Society, Markets, and Democracy, Council on Foreign Relations; Coauthor and Coeditor, Pathways to Freedom

Presider:

Gideon Rose, Editor and Peter G. Peterson Chair, Foreign Affairs
June 19, 2013 5:30-6:00 p.m. - Cocktail Reception
6:00-6:45 p.m. - Discussion
6:45-7:15 p.m. - Cocktail Reception and Book Signing

This meeting is on the record.

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Roundtable Meeting

A Conversation With Rached Ghannouchi

Speaker:

Rashed Ghannouchi, Cofounder and President, Nahdha Party, Tunisia

Presiders:

Isobel Coleman, Senior Fellow and Director, Civil Society, Markets, and Democracy Initiative, Council on Foreign Relations, Ed Husain, Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies, Council on Foreign Relations
May 30, 2013

This meeting is on the record.

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Roundtable Meeting

The Rest Leapfrogging the West: How Rising Incomes and Technological Innovation Are Driving Financial Inclusion in Emerging Markets

Speakers:

Robert Annibale, Global Director of Microfinance, Citigroup, Shamshad Akhtar, Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, United Nations

Presider:

Isobel Coleman, Senior Fellow for U.S. Foreign Policy, Director, Civil Society, Markets, and Democracy Initiative, Council on Foreign Relations
May 29, 2013

This meeting is on the record.

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Roundtable Meeting

Realizing Democracy: Lessons from Mexico and Brazil

Speaker:

Shannon K. O'Neil, Senior Fellow for Latin America Studies, Council on Foreign Relations

Presider:

Isobel Coleman, Senior Fellow for U.S. Foreign Policy, Director, Civil Society, Markets, and Democracy Initiative, Council on Foreign Relations
May 23, 2013

This meeting is not for attribution.

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Roundtable Meeting

Realizing Democracy: Lessons from Thailand and Indonesia

Speaker:

Joshua Kurlantzick, Fellow for Southeast Asia, Council on Foreign Relations

Presider:

Isobel Coleman, Senior Fellow for U.S. Foreign Policy, Director, Civil Society, Markets, and Democracy Initiative, Council on Foreign Relations
May 13, 2013

This meeting is on the record.

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Roundtable Meeting

Realizing Democracy: Lessons from South Africa and Nigeria

Speaker:

John Campbell, Ralph Bunche Senior Fellow for Africa Policy Studies, Council on Foreign Relations

Presider:

Isobel Coleman, Senior Fellow for U.S. Foreign Policy, Director, Civil Society, Markets, and Democracy Initiative, Council on Foreign Relations
April 23, 2013

This meeting is on the record.

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Roundtable Meeting

Realizing Democracy: Lessons from Poland

Speakers:

Grzegorz Ekiert, Professor of Government, Harvard University, George Soroka, Lecturer on Government, Harvard University

Presider:

Isobel Coleman, Senior Fellow and Director of the Civil Society, Markets, and Democracy Initiative
April 19, 2013

This meeting is on the record.

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Roundtable Meeting

Women's Rights and the New Arab Constitutions

Speakers:

Fatemah Khafagy, Ombudsperson of Gender Equality, Egypt, Zahra Langhi, Cofounder, Libyan Women's Platform for Peace, Libya

Presider:

Isobel Coleman, Senior Fellow and Director, Civil Society, Markets, and Democracy Initiative, Council on Foreign Relations
March 4, 2013

This meeting is on the record.

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Roundtable Meeting

Afghanistan Post-2014

Speaker:

Fawzia Koofi, Member of Parliament and Presidential Candidate, Afghanistan

Presider:

Isobel Coleman, Senior Fellow for U.S. Foreign Policy, Director, Civil Society, Markets, and Democracy Initiative
February 12, 2013

This meeting is on the record.

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Roundtable Meeting

Diversifying Global Supply Chains

Speakers:

Astrid Pregel, Special Advisor; Founder, Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Canada; Feminomics, Inc., Anabella Ruiz de Freeman, Coordinator of Small and Medium Supplier Development, Walmart, Elizabeth Vazquez, President, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder, WEConnect International

Presider:

Isobel Coleman, Senior Fellow and Director, Women and Foreign Policy Program, Council on Foreign Relations
December 5, 2012

This meeting is on the record.

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Roundtable Meeting

Journey Through Transition: Women Leading Change in The Middle East and North Africa

Speakers:

Marianne Nagui Hanna Ibrahim, Co-founder and Executive Manager, Al-Gisr Center for Development and Dialogue, Souad Slaoui, Professor of Linguistics, Universitť Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah

Presider:

Isobel Coleman, Senior Fellow and Director, Women and Foreign Policy Program, Council on Foreign Relations
October 26, 2012

This meeting is on the record.

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Roundtable Meeting

Supporting Entrepreneurship: What Works in Developing Economies?

Speakers:

Mayra Buvinic, Senior Fellow, United Nations Foundation, Markus Goldstein, Africa Region Gender Practice Leader, World Bank, Agnes Quisumbing, Senior Research Fellow, International Food Policy Research Institute

Presider:

Isobel Coleman, Senior Fellow and Director, Women and Foreign Policy Program, Council on Foreign Relations
October 11, 2012

This meeting is on the record.

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Roundtable Meeting

ICT for Development: Combating Corruption and Increasing Government Accountability

Speaker:

Boris Weber, Team Leader, ICT4Gov and Voices Against Corruption, World Bank Institute

Presider:

Isobel Coleman, Senior Fellow for U.S. Foreign Policy and Director, Civil Society, Markets, and Democracy Initiative, Council on Foreign Relations
June 6, 2012

This meeting is on the record.

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Roundtable Meeting

mDevelopment: Harnessing Mobile Technology for Global Economic Growth

Introductory Speaker:

Cherie Blair, Founder, Cherie Blair Foundation for Women

Speakers:

Ann Mei Chang, Senior Adviser for Women and Technology, Office of Global Women's Issues, U.S. Department of State, Alex Counts, President and Chief Executive Officer, Grameen Foundation, Scott Ratzan, Vice President, Global Health, Johnson & Johnson

Presider:

Isobel Coleman, Senior Fellow and Director of the Civil Society, Markets, and Democracy Initiative; Director of the Women and Foreign Policy Program, Council on Foreign Relations
May 10, 2012

This meeting is on the record.

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General Meeting ⁄ New York

The Economic Roots of the Arab Spring

Speaker:

Hernando de Soto, President of the Institute for Liberty and Democracy, which advises heads of state and governments worldwide; Author, The Other Path: The Invisible Revolution in the Third World and The Mystery of Capital: Why Capitalism Triumphs in the West and Fails Everywhere Else

Presider:

Isobel Coleman, Senior Fellow and Director of the Civil Society, Markets, and Democracy Initiative, Council on Foreign Relations
April 23, 2012 12:30-1:00 p.m. - Lunch
1:00-2:00 p.m. - Meeting

This meeting is on the record.

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Roundtable Meeting

Why Nations Fail

Speaker:

Daron Acemoglu, Coauthor, Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty; Elizabeth and James Killian Professor of Economics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Presider:

Isobel Coleman, Senior Fellow and Director of the Civil Society, Markets, and Democracy Initiative; Director of the Women and Foreign Policy Program, Council on Foreign Relations
April 16, 2012

This meeting is on the record.

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Symposium

Session Three: Islam and Politics

Speakers:

Isobel Coleman, Senior Fellow and Director of the Civil Society, Markets, and Democracy Initiative, Council on Foreign Relations; Author, Paradise Beneath Her Feet: How Women Are Transforming the Middle East, Ed Husain, Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies, Council on Foreign Relations, Michael Willis, Director, Middle East Centre and H.M. King Mohammed VI Fellow in Moroccan and Mediterranean Studies, St. Antony's College, University of Oxford

Presider:

Deborah S. Amos, Foreign Correspondent, National Public Radio
March 29, 2012 - March 30, 2012 9:00-9:30 a.m.

This meeting is on the record.

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Roundtable Meeting

Saudi Arabia on the Edge

Speaker:

Thomas W. Lippman, Middle East Institute

Presider:

Isobel Coleman, Council on Foreign Relations
March 28, 2012

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Roundtable Meeting

The Unfinished Revolution: The Global Fight for Womenís Rights

Speakers:

Mark P. Lagon, Adjunct Senior Fellow for Human Rights, Council on Foreign Relations, Minky Worden, Director of Global Initiatives, Human Rights Watch, Hibaaq Osman, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Karama

Presider:

Isobel Coleman, Senior Fellow and Director of the Women and Foreign Policy Program, Council on Foreign Relations
March 5, 2012

This meeting is on the record.

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Roundtable Meeting

Women's Economic Empowerment: The Progress of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women Initiative and the Value of Investing in Female Entrepreneurs

Speakers:

Melanne Verveer, Ambassador-at-large, Global Women's Issues, U.S. Department of State, Dina Habib Powell, President, Goldman Sachs Foundation, Sarah Kambou, President, International Center for Research on Women, Divya Keshav, 10,000 Women Graduate, Delhi, and Owner, Krishna Printernational

Presider:

Isobel Coleman, Senior Fellow and Director, Civil Society, Markets, and Democracy Initiative, Council on Foreign Relations
March 1, 2012

This meeting is on the record.

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Roundtable Meeting

Women and Mobile: A Global Opportunity

Speakers:

Cherie Blair, Founder, Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, Maura O'Neill, Senior Counselor to the Administrator and Chief Innovation Officer, USAID, Trina DasGupta, mWomen Program Director, GSMA

Presider:

Isobel Coleman, Senior Fellow for U.S. Foreign Policy and Director, Women and Foreign Policy Program, Council on Foreign Relations
October 5, 2011

This meeting is on the record.

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Roundtable Meeting

Measuring Success and Overcoming Challenges

Speakers:

Mary Ellen Stanton, USAID, Susan Brock, USAID Afghanistan

Presider:

Isobel Coleman, Council on Foreign Relations
June 30, 2011

This meeting is not for attribution.

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Roundtable Meeting

The National Midwifery Education Program in Afghanistan: Training Women and Saving Lives

Speaker:

Linda Bartlett, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Presider:

Isobel Coleman, Council on Foreign Relations
June 7, 2011

This meeting is not for attribution.

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Roundtable Meeting

Innovations and Innovators: Using Agricultural Technologies to Empower Women

Speakers:

Martin Fisher, KickStart International, Pedro Sanchez, Earth Institute, Columbia University

Presider:

Isobel Coleman, Council on Foreign Relations
June 1, 2011

This meeting is on the record.

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Roundtable Meeting

Community-Based Interventions: Improving Maternal Health in Afghanistan

Speaker:

Denise Byrd, Jhpiego

Presider:

Isobel Coleman, Council on Foreign Relations
May 25, 2011

This meeting is not for attribution.

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Roundtable Meeting

Women and Development: A Conversation with Anne-Marie Slaughter

Speaker:

Anne-Marie Slaughter, Princeton University

Presider:

Isobel Coleman, Council on Foreign Relations
May 10, 2011

This meeting is on the record.

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Roundtable Meeting

Women and Technology: The Opportunities of Mobile Banking

Speakers:

Mary Ellen Iskenderian, President and Chief Executive Officer, Womenís World Banking, Tamara Cook, Program Officer, Financial Services for the Poor, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Presider:

Isobel Coleman, Senior Fellow and Director, Civil Society, Markets and Democracy Initiative, Council on Foreign Relations
April 6, 2011

This meeting is on the record.

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Academic Conference Call

The Role of Women in Economic and Political Development

Speaker:

Isobel Coleman, Senior Fellow for U.S. Foreign Policy, Director of the Program on Markets and Democracy, and Director of the Women and Foreign Policy Program, Council on Foreign Relations; Author, Paradise Beneath Her Feet: How Women are Transforming the Middle East

Presider:

Irina A. Faskianos, Vice President, National Program and Outreach, Council on Foreign Relations
November 10, 2010

This meeting is not for attribution.

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Conference Panel Session

A Discussion with Innovators

Panelists:

Mark Bent, CEO and President, SunNight Solar, Lauren Taylor, Director of Communications, Solar Electric Light Fund (SELF)

Presider:

Isobel Coleman, Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations
April 21, 2010

This meeting is on the record.

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Conference Panel Session

Understanding and Expanding Distribution Networks

Panelists:

Katherine Lucey, Founder and Executive Director, Solar Sister, Carolyn Makinson, Executive Director, Women's Refugee Commission, International Rescue Committee, Toshihiro Nakamura, Co-Founder, Kopernik

Presider:

Isobel Coleman, Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations
April 21, 2010

This meeting is on the record.

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Conference Panel Session

Setting the Context: Challenges and Opportunities

Panelists:

Leslie Cordes, Director of Partnership Development, Energy and Climate, United Nations Foundation, Gail Karlsson, Adviser, United Nations Development Programme and ENERGIA, Richenda Van Leeuwen, Renewable Energy Access Advisor and Former Senior Advisor, Good Energies, Inc.

Presider:

Isobel Coleman, Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations
April 21, 2010

This meeting is on the record.

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Symposium ⁄ New York

Maternal Health and Foreign Policy Symposium, Session 3

Moderator:

Isobel Coleman, Senior Fellow for U.S. Foreign Policy, Council on Foreign Relations
June 12, 2008

This meeting is on the record.

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Symposium

CFR Symposium: Rethinking Maternal Health - Session 3

Moderator:

Isobel Coleman
June 12, 2008 12:15-2:00 p.m.

This meeting is on the record.

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General Meeting ⁄ New York

A Conversation with Asha-Rose Migiro

Speaker:

Asha-Rose Migiro, Deputy Secretary-General, United Nations

Presider:

Isobel Coleman, Senior Fellow for U.S. Foreign Policy, Council on Foreign Relations
March 11, 2008 3:00-3:30 p.m. - Beverage Reception
3:30-4:30 p.m. - Meeting

This meeting is on the record.

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General Meeting ⁄ New York

Ending Global Poverty

Speaker:

Muhammad Yunus, Founder and Managing Director, Grameen Bank; 2006 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate

Presider:

Isobel Coleman, Senior Fellow for U.S. Foreign Policy, Council on Foreign Relations
November 16, 2006

This meeting is on the record.

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Symposium ⁄ New York

Maternal Health and Foreign Policy Symposium, Session 1: Framing the Issue

Speakers:

Lynn Freedman, Associate Professor of Clinical Population and Family Health, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, Geeta Rao Gupta, Executive Director, International Center for Research on Women

Presider:

Isobel Coleman, Senior Fellow for U.S. Foreign Policy, Council on Foreign Relations
June 27, 2006

This meeting is on the record.

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General Meeting ⁄ New York

Transformational Public Diplomacy

Speaker:

Karen P. Hughes, U.S. Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs

Presider:

Isobel Coleman, Senior Fellow for U.S. Foreign Policy, Council on Foreign Relations
May 10, 2006

This meeting is on the record.

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Roundtable Meeting

Women and Foreign Policy Symposium: Human Trafficking - An Overview

Speakers:

Ann Jordan, Director, Initiative Against Trafficking in Persons, Global Rights, Neha Misra, Global Coordinator, Counter Trafficking Programs & Program Officer, Africa Region, American Center for International Labor Solidarity (Solidarity Center), AFL-CIO, Jyoti Sanghera, Advisor on Trafficking, UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

Presider:

Isobel Coleman, Senior Fellow for U.S. Foreign Policy, Council on Foreign Relations
May 3, 2006

This meeting is on the record.

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Press/Panels

Video Interview

Where College Degrees Donít Equal Jobs

Council on Foreign Relations Senior Fellow Isobel Coleman discusses global youth unemployment on Bloomberg Television's Bloomberg Surveillance.

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Radio Interview

Women's Rights After the Arab Spring

Speaking on the America Abroad radio program, Isobel Coleman assesses the progress of women's rights in the Middle East. She notes that despite many negative headlines, women have been making strides in the region, especially at the grassroots level and in education as female attainment continues to rise.

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Video Interview

What Has Become of the Arab Spring?

On Digital Age with Jim Zirin, Isobel Coleman surveys the landscape of the Middle East three years after the "Arab Uprisings," and discusses the latest developments across the region.

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Video Interview

Tensions Run Hot in Egypt

On CNBC's Closing Bell with Maria Bartiromo and Bill Griffeth, Isobel Coleman discusses the ousting of the democratically elected President Morsi, and possible U.S. responses to the political crisis in Egypt.

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Article

Women Transforming the Middle East: the New Normal

On the appointment of thirty women to Saudi Arabia's Shura Council, Isobel Coleman tells the Saudi-U.S. Relations Information Service that just having women in the public sphere has forced debate and dialogue about the role of women in society to continue.

Video Interview

How Women are Transforming the Middle East

A transformation is taking place behind the headlines in the Middle East as women are earning more college degrees, having fewer children, and are entering the workforce in unprecedented numbers. Isobel Coleman talks with Rocky Mountain PBS about these trends and their new relevance after the Arab uprisings.

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Video Interview

Egypt's Economy on the Edge

On DEFCON3 with KT McFarland, Isobel Coleman speaks about the economic crisis that Egypt faces, including dwindling foreign currency reserves, strikes in Port Said, and a plague of locusts.

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Panel

Afghanistan Post-2014

Fawzia Koofi, Afghan Member of Parliament, women's rights activist, and presidential candidate, speaks about what to expect for Afghanistan after U.S. troops withdraw in 2014.

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Video Interview

Violence Against Women in India

On "The Lang and O'Leary Exchange," Isobel Coleman comments on the culture of complicity that surrounds violence against women in India and about how women's economic rights relate to gender inequality.

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Radio Interview

The Taliban Attack on Malala Yousufzai

Isobel Coleman speaks with public radio in Philadephia about the shooting of Malala Yousufzai and what it says about Pakistan, its government, and the future of its people.

Video Interview

The Future of Mobility

TIME continues the conversation about the impact of the wireless revolution with a special panel discussion, The Future of Mobility, at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. Panelists included Aneesh Chopra, senior advisor at the Advisory Board Company; Isobel Coleman, Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations; Matt Flannery, co-Founder and CEO of Kiva; Judith McHale, president and CEO of Cane Investments, LLC; and Rey Ramsey, president and CEO of TechNet.

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Video Interview

Attack on Libyan Consulate

Isobel Coleman speaks with FOX News about the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

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Radio Interview

The Economic Challenges That Egypt Still Faces

Just one week ago Mohamed Morsi moved into the Egyptian presidential palace. Egypt has the region's third-largest economy, but income per-person is near the bottom. Isobel Coleman is a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. She is here to help us go in-depth on Morsi and the task ahead of him.

Radio Interview

Women's Rights In The Age Of The Arab Spring

Isobel Coleman speaks on NPR's "Talk of the Nation" about democratic transitions in Egypt and Tunisia. In Egypt, Islamists are assuming powerful roles. Many women's rights activists fear that a shift toward democratically-elected Islamist rulers will limit personal and political freedom for women.

Video Interview

Egypt's Women: Progress vs Oppression

This week marks the one-year anniversary of the January 25th protests in Cairo's Tahrir Square. On The Agenda with Steve Paikin, Isobel Coleman joins Steve Paikin to discuss the progress and setbacks for women's rights in Egypt one year later.

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Radio Interview

Arab Women Rising: An Uncertain Future

2011 was a year of protest across the Middle East and North Africa. Amid each uprising, women were visible, fighting not just for the rights of their country, but often for rights of their own. Host Audie Cornish talks with Isobel Coleman of the Council on Foreign Relations about women in the Arab uprising and their role going forward.

Radio Interview

Qaddafi's Death

Isobel Coleman, senior fellow and director of the Civil Society, Markets, and Democracy initiative at the Council on Foreign Relations, speaks with Joan Hamurg on WOR radio in New York about Col. Muammar Al Qaddafi's death and what it impact it will have on the region.

Article

Q&A: Why Voting Is a Good Start for Women in Saudia Arabia

Much to the surprise of women in Saudi Arabia, King Abdullah on Sunday granted them the right to vote and serve in office. Saudi Arabia is the only country on Earth that prohibits women from driving. The only one that allowed only men to vote. The only one that scored a zero for female political empowerment in the 2010 World Economic Forum global gender gap report.

Yet women now represent the majority of college graduates, and as they push for jobs, restrictions on them grow more untenable, says Isobel Coleman, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and the author of Paradise Beneath Her Feet: How Women Are Transforming the Middle East. She spoke to editorial writer for the New Jersey Star Ledger Julie O'Connor about why voting isn't as radical as driving, but it's a good start.

Article

Chat with Isobel Coleman, Senior Fellow at CFR

Isobel Coleman, senior fellow for U.S. Foreign Policy at the Council on Foreign Relations and author of Paradise Beneath Her Feet: How Women are Transforming the Middle East, speaks with journalist Lauren Bohn about the days ahead for women in Egypt.

Bio

Dr. Isobel Coleman is a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) in New York, where she directs CFR's Civil Society, Markets, & Democracy program. Her areas of expertise include the political economy of the Middle East, democratization, civil society, economic development, educational reform and gender issues. She is the author and coauthor of numerous books, including Pathways to Freedom: Political and Economic Lessons from Democratic Transitions (Council on Foreign Relations, 2013), The Routledge Handbook of Religion and Security (Routledge Press, 2012), Paradise Beneath Her Feet: How Women are Transforming the Middle East (Random House, 2010), Restoring the Balance: A Middle East Strategy for the Next President (Brookings Institution Press, 2008), and Strategic Foreign Assistance: Civil Society in International Security (Hoover Institution Press, 2006).

Dr. Coleman's writings have appeared in publications such as Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, The New York Times, Washington Post, Financial Times, International Herald Tribune, USA Today, Christian Science Monitor, and Forbes, and online venues such as TheAtlantic.com and CNN.com. She also writes the blog "Democracy in Development" on CFR.org. She is a frequent speaker at academic, business, and policy conferences. In 2010, she served as a track leader at the Clinton Global Initiative. In 2011, Newsweek named her as one of "150 Women Who Shake the World."

Prior to joining the Council on Foreign Relations, Dr. Coleman was CEO of a healthcare services company and a partner with McKinsey & Co. in New York. A Marshall scholar, she holds a BA in public policy and East Asian studies from Princeton University and MPhil and DPhil degrees in international relations from Oxford University. She serves on several non-profit boards, including Plan USA, Student Sponsor Partners and the National Outdoor Leadership School.