Club de Madrid Meeting to Bring World Leaders to Little Rock

by Kate Knable  on Monday, Dec. 10, 2012 12:00 am  

The Club de Madrid, all former heads of state, gathered in 2009 in Madrid. 

International organization Club de Madrid’s conference in Little Rock next week will expose local business, government and nonprofit leaders to former presidents and prime ministers from around the world.

“Our business is more and more a global business, so there are obviously advantages to getting to know these former leaders from around the globe,” said Jerry Jones, senior vice president and chief legal officer for Acxiom Corp. of Little Rock. Jones was instrumental in bringing the conference to Arkansas.

Club de Madrid is an organization based in Spain with a membership composed of more than 85 former prime ministers and presidents, including former Arkansas governor and U.S. President Bill Clinton.

The conference, titled Harnessing 21st Century Solutions: A Focus on Women, is scheduled for Dec. 17 and 18 at the Clinton Presidential Library. The event is not open to the general public. Jones expects about 200 attendees.

Clinton is among the Little Rock conference’s speakers. Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe; Sylvia Burwell, president of the Wal-Mart Foundation; Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola; Pierre Ferrari, president and CEO of Heifer International; and Stephanie Streett, executive director of the William J. Clinton Foundation, are also speakers or facilitators closely connected to Arkansas.

Conference topics include women in art and the media, equality in business, women’s access and control of natural resources and combating the trafficking of women. Club de Madrid is “very good at addressing issues, determining concrete actions, following through on those,” Jones said. “The primary goal of the conference is to bring attention to bear on a variety of issues that impact female empowerment around the globe.”

Heifer is holding two conference luncheons on its campus next to the Clinton Library, and Beebe is hosting a conference dinner at the Governor’s Mansion.

“It’s wonderful that leaders at that level” will see Heifer’s campus and be exposed to the nonprofit’s work, said Joedy Isert, Heifer spokesman.

Jones proposed bringing Club de Madrid’s conference to Arkansas about 18 months ago when he met the organization’s deputy secretary general at a meeting in New York.

The conference is a chance for Arkansas businesses to learn about “future marketplaces” overseas, Jones said. “And I think we always benefit when others come here and see what we have and see some of the reasons why Arkansas has done so well.”

Gretchen Hall, president and CEO of the Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau, said President Clinton and the Clinton Presidential Library helped Arkansas “land this piece of business.”

“This will probably be the largest group of international leaders that we have hosted since the presidential library opening,” Hall said. “I’m honored to be a participant and looking forward to hearing what comes out of the conversations.”

Current List of Speakers for Harnessing 21st Century Solutions: A Focus on Women

  • Muna AbuSulayman, partner, Directions Consultancy LLC; MBC co-host of “Kalam Nawaem”; board member of Glowork, Saudi Arabia
  • Manal Al Dowayan, artist, Saudi Arabia
  • Nada al-Nashif, regional director, ILO Office for Arab States
  • Michelle Bachelet, director, U.N. Women; former president of Chile
  • Zainab Bangura, special representative on sexual violence in conflict, United Nations
  • Alicia Bárcena, executive secretary, Economic Commission for Latin America & the Caribbean
  • Jamie Bechtel, co-founder and CEO, New Course
  • Mike Beebe, governor of Arkansas
  • Sharan Burrow, general secretary, International Trade Union Confederation (by video)
  • Sylvia Burwell, president, Wal-Mart Foundation
  • Lydia Cacho, executive director, Centro Integral de Atención a las Mujeres (by video)
  • Ann Mei Chang, senior adviser for women and technology, U.S. Department of State
  • Joaquim Chissano, former president of Mozambique
  • Bill Clinton, former U.S. president
  • Hillary Clinton, U.S. Secretary of State (by video)
  • Geena Davis, founder, Geena Davis Institute of Gender in Media
  • Bineta Diop, director and founder, Femmes Africa Solidarité, Senegal
  • Rahma Fathalla, Egyptian Democratic Labour Congress
  • Pierre Ferrari, president and CEO, Heifer International
  • Felipe Gonzalez, former prime minister of Spain
  • Lina Hundaileh, owner, Al-Zaytouni Co., Jordan
  • Jerry Jones, senior vice president and chief legal officer, Acxiom Corp.
  • Tawakel Karman, co-founder of Women Journalists Without Chains, Yemen, and 2011 Nobel Peace Prize laureate
  • Carol Kidu, former member of parliament and former minister for community development, Papua New Guinea
  • Jeni Klugman, director of gender and development, World Bank
  • Wim Kok, former prime minister of the Netherlands, Club de Madrid president
  • Carla Koppell, senior coordinator for gender equality and women’s empowerment, U.S. Agency for International Development
  • Kamila Kuku, G40 Alliance representative, NuWEDA, Sudan
  • Laura Liswood, secretary general, Council of Women World Leaders; senior adviser, Goldman Sachs
  • Cecilia López Montaño, founder and president, Centro Internacional de Pensamiento Económico y Social, Colombia
  • Katherine Lucey, founder and CEO, Solar Sisters
  • Ricardo Martinelli, president of Panama
  • Frank McCosker, worldwide general manager of international organizations, Microsoft Corporation
  • Irene Natividad, chairwoman, Corporate Women Directors International
  • Ruth Ojiambo, executive director, Isis-Women’s International Crossed Cultural Exchange, Uganda
  • Roza Otunbayeva, former president of Kyrgyzstan
  • Rajendra Pachauri, director general, The Energy & Resources Institute (by video)
  • Carole Pottenger, vice admiral, deputy chief of staff for capability development at NATO’s office for Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, Norfolk, Va.
  • Jose Fernando Quiroga Ramirez, vice president, Club de Madrid; former president of Bolivia
  • Mark Stodola, mayor of Little Rock
  • Stephanie Streett, executive director, William J. Clinton Foundation
  • Adimaimalaga Tafuna’i, executive director, Women in Business Development, Samoa
  • Alimata Traore, president, COFERSA, Mali
  • Melanne Verveer, ambassador-at-large for global women’s issues, U.S. State Department



Please read our comments policy before commenting.