The topic of the 2011 Colloquium was "Empowering Women to Change the World: What Universities and the UN Can Do."
Speaking on the occasion of International Women's Day 2010 and the 15th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (1995), Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon noted that "gender equality and women's empowerment are fundamental to the global mission of the United Nations to achieve equal rights and dignity for all…. But equality for women and girls is also an economic and social imperative. Until women and girls are liberated from poverty and injustice, all our goals – peace, security, sustainable development – stand in jeopardy."
Deborah A. Driscoll, MD, Professor and Chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and Afaf I Meleis, PhD, DrPS(hon), FAAN, Margaret Bond Simon Dean of Nursing and Professor of Nursing and Sociology at Penn served as President Gutmann's "academic partners" in planning and leading the Colloquium. They prepared a Background Paper on "Empowering Women to Change the World: What Universities and the UN Can Do," which was intended to provide a framework and starting point for the conversations among the Colloquium participants.
Additional background materials, available here, include the United Nations' "Global Strategy for Women's and Children's Health," and the "Vision and 100-Day Action Plan" for UN Women, the new agency created by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to unite four of the world body's agencies and offices: the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), the Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW), the Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues, and the UN International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (UN-INSTRAW).