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THE INDEX — October 28, 2009

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Clinton Summit: The "Girl Effect"

By Ruthie Ackerman for World Policy Journal Moderator:  Diane Sawyer, anchor ABC’s Good Morning America Panelists: Lloyd C. Blankfein, Chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs Zainab Salbi, founder of Women for Women International Rex W. Tillerson, CEO of ExxonMobil Melanne Verveer, first-ever ambassador-at-large for women’s issues in the U.S. State Department Robert Zoellick, President of the World Bank The Nike Foundation calls it the "Girl Effect”: give a girl the opportunity to change her world and she will change the world of those around her as well. (Watch the video on YouTube and you can see for yourself.) This not only works in business, but in preventing the spread of terrorism as well, explained Melanne Verveer, at the fifth annual Clinton Global Initiative’s (CGI) morning session, moderated by Diane Sawyer. The morning panel was the CGI model at its best, a mix of public- and private-sector organizations, which seems to work best in tackling the world’s problems. “The most dangerous places in the world are those places where women are put down in the greatest way,” Verveer said. “Women are on the frontlines of moderation.” Not only are women important to maintain national security, said Zainab Salbi, but that involving women in peace processes helps to keep conflict at bay for longer. But why suddenly does there seem to be a flood of interest in what has been traditionally thought of as “women’s issues”?

David A. Andelman: The Stoning of Neda S.

If you’d like to know the kind of people who voted for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as president of Iran, there’s no better example than the villagers—the husband, his sons, and the citizens—of the remote stone-walled hamlet of Kupayeh who populate the vivid, at times horrifying, film called “The Stoning of Soraya M.” Opening Friday across the United States, its arrival could not come at a more opportune moment, for gathered within this tale are all the characters whose today’s real-life homologues are parading across the world’s television screens (at least those outside Iran, where anything remotely accurate is being purged). There’s Ayatollah Ali Khameini, masquerading as the venal, crooked mullah of the village, newly released from a felony stretch he was serving in jail after the Shah was overthrown and Islamic justice returned with the arrival of Ayatollah Khomeini. Clearly, he sees the Koran he clutches in his crooked paw as his path to wealth, power, and, whenever he can, illicit sex extorted from any woman who seems sufficiently vulnerable or gullible. There’s Ahmadinejad, in the form of Kupayeh’s mean-spirited, opportunistic mayor with a vicious streak—frightened of his own shadow and so easily intimidated by the local mullah and a husband who by day serves as a prison guard with all the lethal tools of power at his control and at night pursues the 14-year-old daughter of a death-row inmate.

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