Muhlenberg Hosts Conference on the United Nations and Women

The events include talks and discussion sessions with United Nations representatives.

By: Iulia Tibrea '18  Thursday, February 8, 2018 10:59 AM

Muhlenberg College, in partnership with the Higher Education Alliance (HEA), will host Conference on the United Nations and Women, a day-long series of presentations and discussion sessions led by directors and advisors from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the Development Operations Coordination Office (DOCO) and the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

The program is free and open to the public; no registration is required. It runs 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Friday, February 16, and will take place in the Seegers Union Event Space at Muhlenberg College.

Muhlenberg is one of 58 higher-education members of the HEA initiative created by the Humpty Dumpty Institute; the initiative's goal is to provide students a closer look at global issues and the individuals who are dedicating their lives to solving these issues.

The speakers will explore issues currently affecting millions of people around the world, and women in particular, as well as the role the United Nations plays as an agent of change on a global level. The audience will have the opportunity to engage in a Q&A with the speakers at the end of each presentation and during the luncheon.




9 am - Welcome and Opening Remarks

Christopher Herrick
Professor of political science and director of international studies at Muhlenberg


9:3010:30 am - Women and Public Health

Speaker: Sarah Craven
Director, Washington Office of United Nations Populations Fund (UNFPA)

Craven will address the ways in which the United Nations has developed and modified programs to address the pressing problems of women’s health, in particular maternal health and the health of their children and the manner in which the UN has sought to empower women to enable them to take on a greater role in assuring both their own health and that of their children. She will draw upon her decades of experience as a government employee, congressional staffer, and advisor to NGOs at conferences such as the 1995 Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, China.



10:4511:45 am - Political and Economic Empowerment of Women

Speaker: Dena Assaf
Deputy Director, United Nations Development Operations Coordination Office (UNDOCO)

In her capacity as Deputy Director, Assaf leads an office dedicated to bringing together over 30 UN Development System agencies to increase coherence and impact of UN efforts in over 165 countries where the UN has direct presence.  Drawing upon her current position and her previous experience as the regional director for the Arab states of the UNWomen program, she will address the complexities of formulating and coordinating programs to politically and economically empower women.


Noon1:00 pm - Luncheon and Q&A


1:152:15 pm - Women and Conflict

Speaker: Dana Sleiman
Public Information Officer, United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR)

Women have always been negatively impacted by international conflicts. However, women have been disproportionately affected by the increasing levels of internal conflict that have characterized the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. Ms. Sleiman will draw upon her decade-long experience in both the United Nation’s High Commission for Refugees and the UN Development Program addressing the needs of women refugees. Her specific focus will be complexity of the UN’s efforts to address the problem of Syrian refugees, particularly in Lebanon.



2:303:30 pm - Roundtable Discussion

Brief summary by each speaker and Q&A period.


3:304:00 pm - Wrap-up and Questions


Sponsored by the departments of International Studies; Public Health; Political Science; Accounting, Business, Economics and Finance; Women & Gender Studies; and History, the conference is brought to Muhlenberg by the Humpty Dumpty Institute. The event is part of the HDI’s HEA initiative that seeks to help create the next generation of global leaders by building bridges between academic institutions and the United Nations. Member schools host senior ranking UN officials, Ambassadors, policymakers and leading experts in world affairs as guest lecturers.

The Humpty Dumpty Institute (HDI) is a catalyst that combines individuals, ideas and action to create a better world. HDI designs and implements a number of innovative public-private partnerships, large-scale humanitarian programs, and public outreach initiatives that effectively strengthen the work of the United Nations. HDI provides a forum for the exchange of divergent perspectives; engages experts to identify emerging economic, social, and political issues vital to the interdependent global community; organizes country and region-specific meetings, conferences and briefings for educational and networking opportunities; promotes global partnerships among governments, business, academic and nonprofit organizations; and shares information and research with the public and with policymakers worldwide.

Founded in 1848, Muhlenberg is a highly selective, private, four-year residential, liberal arts college located in Allentown, Pa., approximately 90 miles west of New York City. With an undergraduate enrollment of approximately 2200 students, Muhlenberg College is dedicated to shaping creative, compassionate, collaborative leaders through rigorous academic programs in the arts, humanities, natural sciences and social sciences as well as selected pre-professional programs, including accounting, business, education and public health. A member of the Centennial Conference, Muhlenberg competes in 22 varsity sports.

Muhlenberg has seen thousands of bright and driven students pass through its doors, many of whom have gone on to achieve great change. Just one example is Henry David Abraham, who was a co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1985 for his work with International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War. The College has helped strengthen global society through a range of global initiative programs, cultivating a strong connection with the Peace Corps, AVODAH, the Herbert Scoville Jr. Peace Fellowship, and many other organizations that operate on an international scale.


For more information, please contact:

Christopher Herrick
Professor of political science and director of international studies
Muhlenberg College 

Steve Ginther
Program Director, International Programs
The Humpty Dumpty Institute
646-706- 3103