After three productive days we spent together discussing some of the most challenging issues of our era, the time has come to wrap up the work of this summit where we had remarkable exchanges, fruitful discussions, unique insights, we, women once again joined our voices determined to continue our efforts in empowering women.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Summit Participants,
Dear Friends,

After three productive days we spent together discussing some of the most challenging issues of our era, the time has come to wrap up the work of this summit where we had remarkable exchanges, fruitful discussions, unique insights, we, women once again joined our voices determined to continue our efforts in empowering women.

For it is our obligation - as leaders, survivors, experts and advocates to raise our voices and become the voice of all the women in our societies and around the world whose rights are denied.

We have taken a toll of where we stand as individuals, as leaders, as institutions, as societies and as a region on questions of gender equality, which are ultimately questions about how complete our democracy is.

Just as these American women joined together united in their empowerment of all women.  We, the women in Kosovo and Southeastern Europe have joined together united in our vision for women throughout the region.

We came together here in Prishtina as leaders and experts, the best and the brightest from the region and around the globe to learn from each other, to expand our knowledge and our vision, to share our experiences and to transfer our best practices – all with the common objective to make our societies more inclusive and to utilize one of our most precious resources. To make democracy in our countries more meaningful and inclusive.

Many of us had the opportunities and the road being open for us. Others of us have not. Especially women who lack education, who lack financial resources or are subjugated and have no voice.

We have come together to join hand in hand with these women so we may all grow together. And we have been able to do that with the help of USAID, NDI, all you, the participants of this summit. Thank you!

As I said at the outset of this summit, it is my hope that we create a critical mass for a cultural shift, based on concrete commitments and tangible initiatives. And we have made a very good start.

Ladies and Gentlemen:
Every panel and every keynote speaker in this summit had a unique task at hand – To thoroughly look into obstacles that hold back women from assuming their rightful place in the society.

We elaborated the problems associated with women’s uneven representation in the public office and in leadership positions and some of you offered interesting insights of where the problem lies, identifying, for example, the democratization of the political parties as crucial to overcoming this hurdle.

In the case of economic empowerment, some practical and creative proposals - such as daycare centers at the workplace as a means to increase worker retention rate and attract talent - were tabled for discussion. 

When discussing property rights, we learned that while legislation is not lacking, women are not taking advantage of the rights they are entitled to and of legal provisions that empower them equally with the rest of the members of the society.

The need for women to become more pro-active and take responsibility to further their rights has also been a recurrent theme of almost every panel from security to economy.  And what continuously emerged from our discussion was that to succeed in each area we need more awareness, but also an ongoing discussion not just among ourselves but with men too.

But most crucially, we learned that women must build partnerships with businesses and government because these partnerships will be the legacy for the next generation of women. 

In this vein, Ladies and Gentlemen, After having heard from all the groups, we have identified target areas to move forward together. Therefore, I am pleased to announce the Prishtina Principles, a set of guidelines for the next steps we need to take as a society in Kosovo, in the region and beyond in order to tackle the remaining obstacle in the empowerment of women.

As you shall see, these principles are the foundation of the house we’re building and all women are invited in it.

We hope that these principles will serve as the cornerstone for a transformative approach across the region. As Jane Harman said yesterday during her thoughtful presentation, we want to use this opportunity to transform our region into the center of change, to trigger positive developments akin to those that transpired from the Beijing Conference on Women nearly two decades ago.

We aim to act upon these Principles by undertaking concrete measures in empowering women in the economic sector, because as we said time and again, the economic empowerment of women is essential to economic growth which guarantees women’s access to security, justice and decision-making.

By empowering women economically, we strengthen the families, the society, the state.

We have considered as crucial breaking the trap of economic dependency by supporting initiatives which enable women to become financially independent and offer them access to resources and economic opportunities.

Therefore, together with the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Trade and Industry and the support of USAID we aim to announce today as the deliverable of this International Women’s Summit, the creation of a Founding Group of 7 members, all business women, who will identify by the end of the year, the mandate and structure of a new nongovernmental women organization for economically empowering women that will be run by Kosovo women for Kosovo women.

This new association will be an independent legal entity. Although it will be autonomous of governmental institutions, this organization will have full support of my office and the Government. The aim of this women association is to create the opportunity for maximizing participation of women in the economy. It will be a place for women active at all levels of commercial activity and enterprise by promoting entrepreneurship amongst women and young women in particular.

I will shortly invite the Minister of Trade Ms. Mimoza Kusari-Lila to share the details of this initiative with you.

Dear Friends,

As this summit confirmed, we now have the momentum. The momentum to charge forward arms linked in solidarity and vision. The key to keeping this momentum is building our networks and exchanging ideas.

We must build and sustain old networks and build new ones.
We must mentor women in business and government.
We must stand together.
Find someone who needs your wisdom and guidance.
And a final word to you, dedicated summit participants:
During these three important days you made connections and started new friendships. Don’t lose these connections and do your best to turn them into networks. Powerful and cohesive networks that will shape your future and the future of the entire region.

Thank you for your participation.