Notable speakers at the 2020 Reykjavík Global Forum – Women Leaders


The Reykjavík Global Forum – Women Leaders is being held from Monday, November 9 until Wednesday, November 11 and features panels and fireside discussions with an array of accomplished leaders in politics, business, health and media. 

Below is a list of just some of the event’s notable speakers. See the full schedule here, and watch the event live on

Hillary Clinton, former U.S. presidential candidate

Former Secretary of State and 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton will be speaking at the Reykjavík Global Forum – Women Leaders on Monday, November 9.

Clinton has decades of experience as a civil servant, serving as a senator from New York during a period that included the September 11 terror attacks, former President Obama’s secretary of state during the Osama bin Laden raid, and first lady during Bill Clinton’s presidency. In 2015, Clinton made history as the first woman to be nominated as a major party’s presidential candidate. 

Clinton will be speaking at a fireside chat with Melanne Verveer, executive director of the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security. It is expected to be Clinton’s first speaking engagement since the 2020 election.

Maria Ressa, journalist

Filipino-American journalist Maria Ressa has spent years fighting for journalistic and democratic freedom, including as the co-founder and CEO of Rappler, an online news service in the Philippines that has faced controversy as a result of its critical coverage of President Rodrigo Duterte’s authoritarian rule. 

Ressa was named in Time’s Person of the Year 2018 cover story as one of a number of journalists from around the world combating fake news. In June of 2020, she was found guilty of cyber libel in a Philippines court, after an arrest that was widely criticized by the international community as politically motivated.

The celebrated author and writer will be speaking with CBSN anchor Elaine Quijano on Wednesday, November 11. In the meantime, watch CBSN Originals documentary, “Fake News, Real Consequences: The Woman Fighting Disinformation,” which features Ressa.

Katrín Jakobsdóttir, Prime Minister of Iceland

Katrín Jakobsdóttir has been serving as prime minister of Iceland since 2017, and is the second woman to ever serve in the role. She has been chairperson of the country’s Left-Green Movement political party since 2013, and was named Chair of the Council of Women World Leaders in 2020.

Jakobsdóttir began her career in media before becoming a member of Iceland’s parliament and served as Minister of Education, Science and Culture. She will be a part of the summit’s first panel on November 9, discussing leadership with a panel hosted by former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark.

Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, Belarus opposition leader

Svetlana Tikhanovskaya is a Belarusian politician and human rights activist who ran against the country’s strongman President Alexander Lukashenko in an election that was marred by accusations of fraud. 

Tikhanovskaya ran in the election in place of her husband, a fellow activist who was arrested two days after announcing his intention to run. Citing fear for her and her children’s safety, Tikhanovskaya fled Belarus for Poland amid widespread national protests after official counts said she received roughly 10% of the vote to Lukashenko’s 80%.

She will be speaking at the summit on November 9, in discussion with former Ecuadorian President Rosalia Arteaga.

Rosalía Arteaga, former president of Ecuador 

Rosalia Arteaga served as Ecuador’s first female head of state. She held the position for two days in February 1997, after the allegedly politically motivated dismissal of President Abdala Bucaram. She resigned from her role following then-National Congress President Fabián Alarcón’s assumption of the role, after a power struggle. She went on to serve as vice president until 1998, and was later secretary-general of the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization until 2007.

Arteaga will be speaking on November 9 in a discussion with Belarusian Opposition Leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya.

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, World Health Organization director-general

As director-general of the World Health Organization since 2017, Ethiopian biologist and public health researcher Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus is one of the many public faces in the world’s battle against the coronavirus pandemic.

Ghebreyesus is the first African and first non-physician to serve in the role, having previously been Ethiopia’s health minister and later minister for foreign affairs. In 2020, he was named to Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People list. He will be joining the summit for a special address on immunization on November 10.

Caroline Wozniacki, former professional tennis player 

Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark is the former top-ranking female singles tennis player, and the first Scandinavian to hold the title. She also held the record for most WTA singles titles from 2008-2011. 

Wozniacki retired after the 2020 Australian Open, after a career in which she was known for having one of the strongest two-handed backhands in the history of tennis. She will be joining a panel discussing the quality of health care for women around the world on Wednesday, November 11, alongside UCB Chief Medical Officer Iris Lowe-Friedrich and Japanese Minister of Justice Yōko Kamikawa.

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