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14,000 Women Join California First Lady Maria Shriver for The Women's Conference 2007

Nation's Premier Forum for Women Features a First-Ever Conversation between

the Spouses of Leading Presidential Candidates Former Prime Minister Tony Blair and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to

Speak Together About Leadership and the Environment Shriver To Announce WE Care, a Partnership Between The Women's Conference, CARE International and Meredith Corporation To Support Life-Saving Maternal

Health Programs

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 23 /PRNewswire/ -- Nearly 14,000 women will be gathering today at the sold-out Women's Conference 2007, the nation's premier forum for women, held again this year at the Long Beach Convention Center. Began more than twenty years ago as a small government initiative for professional women, California First Lady Maria Shriver has transformed the event into an iconic destination for world opinion leaders, corporate executives, entrepreneurs, visionaries, spiritual figures, authors, journalists, and women from all walks of life to realize their potential to become "architects of change."

"The non-partisan Women's Conference is where the world's greatest hearts and minds come together to shed light on the timely topics that matter to women today and the key concerns that matter to them every day," said Shriver. "If you want to know what women from all backgrounds and lifestyles are doing, thinking, feeling, saying, reading, watching and buying, The Women's Conference is the place to find out."

Shriver shaped this year's conference theme -- "Remarkable Lives. Remarkable Legacies. What's Yours?" -- to encourage women to consider and actively create the legacies they will leave to the world. A lineup of more than 50 world-renowned speakers will share their own thoughts on legacy creation, and offer the women in attendance the tools and resources, inspiration and motivation to look inside themselves, identify the legacies they want to leave, and commit to creating them. The world-class roster of speakers and performers includes Her Majesty Queen Rania Al-Abdullah of Jordan, Jamie Lee Curtis, Diane von Furstenberg, Vanessa Williams, Laila Ali, Dr. Christiane Northrup, Willow Bay, Dr. Martha Beck, Elizabeth Gilbert, Katharine McPhee and Joan Baez.

Other program highlights for The Women's Conference 2007 include:

-- New York Times columnist and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Thomas

Friedman will moderate a conversation on leadership and the environment

between former Prime Minister Tony Blair and California Governor Arnold


-- California First Lady Maria Shriver will be moderating a first-ever

conversation with the spouses of the leading presidential candidates

from each party -- Elizabeth Edwards, Cindy McCain, Michelle Obama, Ann

Romney and Jeri Thompson.

-- First Lady of Mexico Margarita Zavala, Founder of the International

Campaign to Ban Landmines will be participating in a conversation on

changing the world with 1997 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Jody Williams,

the Executive Director of the HIV/AIDS Initiative at Saddleback Church

Kay Warren, and Grameen Bank Director and 2006 Nobel Peace Prize

Laureate Muhammad Yunus.

-- Journalist, television producer, and author Linda Ellerbee will join

screenwriter and author Nora Ephron for a dialogue on the most pressing

issues facing women today.

-- ABC News Correspondent Deborah Roberts will moderate a conversation

with a panel of women pioneers on the topic of leadership and the 2008

presidential race, including the first female White House Press

Secretary Dee Dee Myers, the first female vice presidential candidate

Geraldine Ferraro, the first female Governor of New Jersey Christine

Todd Whitman and Time Magazine's editor-at-large Mark Halperin.

In addition to recruiting fascinating and news-making people to speak at the conference, Shriver has also worked to produce a "conference with a conscience" that will leave a legacy of its own. Through its ongoing community leadership projects and charitable initiatives, The Women's Conference seeks to recognize and reward extraordinary women, inspire leadership in young women, encourage community service, champion environmental responsibility, promote healthy and active lifestyles, and support women and families throughout California and around the world.

Once again, The Women's Conference 2007 will be capped off by the 4th annual presentation of the Minerva Awards. Created by Shriver in 2004, the Minerva Awards have become the country's most prestigious awards for women. Named after the Roman Goddess, Minerva, who graces the California State Seal, the award honors remarkable California women who have stepped forward in the spirit of Minerva and changed their state and their country with their courage, their strength and their wisdom. The 2007 Minerva Awards will be granted to the following women who have created lasting legacies that they are passing on: The Honorable Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House of Representatives; Sweet Alice Harris, Founder and Executive Director of Parents of Watts; Maureen Pennington, Senior Nurse, Director Medical Services, Naval Medical Center San Diego; and Christy Porter, Founder and Executive Director of Hidden Harvest in the Coachella Valley of California. Shriver has expanded the awards this year to extend beyond California to honor a trailblazing woman who has positively impacted the U.S. and world. This year, that award will be presented to Eunice Kennedy Shriver, Executive Vice President of the Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation and Founder and Honorary Chair of Special Olympics International, who is receiving a Minerva Award for Lifetime Achievement for her tireless efforts to improve the lives of intellectually disabled people. The Minerva Awards is sponsored by Target Corporation for the fourth straight year.

"The 2007 Minerva Award winners have all served, each in their own way, on the frontlines of humanity. Each of these remarkable women recognized a problem or challenge, identified a solution, and pursued it with courage, perseverance and compassion," Shriver said.

A number of the conference's important legacy projects will be announced at The Women's Conference today. Erin Stein, Executive Director, and Jillian Manus, Chair, of The Women's Conference, will be joined on the main stage by Dr. Helene Gayle, President & CEO, CARE USA, and Peggy Northrop, Editor-in-Chief of More Magazine, to announce "WE Care," a program to help improve maternal health in the developing countries of Zambia and Nicaragua. Contributions to WE Care will be supplemented with additional donations made by thousands of California women at The Women's Conference. Every donation made on the day of the conference will be matched, dollar for dollar, with funding provided by CARE Global Ambassador, philanthropist and entrepreneur, Sheila C. Johnson.

Yesterday, Maria Shriver was joined by more than 300 volunteers to build a playground from start-to-finish in just one day at The New City School, a charter school in urban Long Beach. The playground, part of the conference's WE Build initiative, will provide a safe place for hundreds of children to play in the urban Long Beach community where no safe playgrounds or green spaces currently exist. BP, the largest sponsor of The Women's Conference for the past four years, is the exclusive corporate partner for WE Build. Logistical support for the playground project was provided by KaBOOM!, a national nonprofit organization that envisions a great place to play within walking distance of every child in America.

In partnership with BP, the conference's environmental legacy sponsor, The Women's Conference has taken important measures to promote environmental responsibility and create a positive environmental legacy. One of the conference's groundbreaking initiatives is its "zero waste lunch," which through composting, recycling and reuse of garbage, diverts approximately 10 tons of solid waste away from California's landfills. Additionally, carbon emission reduction credits will be purchased, compliments of conference sponsor PG&E, to offset 100% of the greenhouse gas emissions generated by the event and individual participants' travel to and from the Long Beach Convention Center. The conference will also be featuring an afternoon conversation with "green gurus" devoted entirely to the topic of "Living Green." Also for the first time, The Women's Conference will be showcasing the programs, products and services of companies that are taking strides to limit their environmental impact in a dedicated area of the Exhibit Hall. Other eco-friendly initiatives include: the distribution of one energy-efficient compact fluorescent light bulb to every attendee courtesy of PG&E; a conference program that is printed on recycled paper; and a conference tote bag that is made of organic canvas that can be reused in place of plastic or other disposable bags.

In its effort to touch the lives of all women, including young women, The Women's Conference developed the Minerva Leadership Program, which seeks to inspire, educate and empower young women to become leaders in their homes, schools and communities. As part of this program, and in partnership with Wachovia Bank and The Women's Foundation of California, The Women's Conference invites 500 ethnically and geographically diverse California women, ages 16 - 22, as special guests to participate fully in the conference and attend a morning and afternoon seminar program created exclusively for them. Minerva Leadership Program participants must pledge to perform an additional 10 hours of service to their communities, which will be the source of more than 5,000 hours service to benefit others.

While tickets sold out in record-breaking time again this year, The Women's Conference is making use of available technology and media partnerships to reach beyond the walls of the convention center to give everyone an opportunity to experience its world-class speeches and once-in-a-lifetime conversations. Substantial portions of The Women's Conference's program will be available to all through cable television broadcasts on the California Channel and C-SPAN, exclusive video-on-demand programming on Time Warner Cable, Charter Communications, Cox Communications and Comcast beginning November 2; free downloadable audio and video podcasts from the conference Web site; and a free streaming live Webcast of the main stage sessions from 8:00 a.m. to 6:45 p.m. PDT on the conference Web site, In addition, SIRIUS Satellite Radio will devote an entire channel -- SIRIUS' Women's Conference Channel 119 -- for a 2-day special broadcast event all day Thursday, October 25 and Friday, October 26 in an effort to bring conference audio and its message to a national audience. This first-of-its-kind channel will provide audio of the conference to listeners nationwide, including key speeches and panels in their entirety, as well as exclusive interviews with speakers and attendees, plus introductions and perspective from Maria Shriver.

For more information about The Women's Conference 2007, visit

SOURCE The Women's Conference 2007
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