On September 17, 2016, the Cornell Center for Women and Justice, along with Seneca Women and iCivics, brought together leaders from the public and private sectors as well as from government and nongovernmental organizations for the Fast Forward Women's Leadership Forum at New York City's Metropolitan Museum of Art. The event featured inspiring conversations about women, power, and purpose, and a call to action for the economic and social advancement of women and girls around the world. Metropolitan Museum of Art Trustee Lulu Wang welcomed the group.
A highlight was U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor being interviewed by Adjunct Professor Kim Azzarelli '97, chair of the Cornell Center for Women and Justice. Other speakers included fashion designer and philanthropist Diane von Furstenberg and UN Women executive director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka.Andrea Jung, CEO of Grameen America, spoke on her company's efforts to provide micro-loans to poor women starting small businesses in the United States, expanding on the vision of Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus. Dr. Denis Mukwege, founder of Panzi Hospital in the Democratic Republic of Congo, spoke about repairing the lives of thousands of women subjected to brutal violence.
Stewart Schwab, the Jonathan & Ruby Zhu Professor at Cornell Law School and current faculty director of the Cornell Center for Women and Justice, spoke about the expanding scope of the Center to encompass economic and technological empowerment, working closely with Cornell's Tech Campus. He then introduced iCivics, a program to use technology to improve civics education in the public schools. iCivics was founded by Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, for whom Schwab was a law clerk, and is now being championed by Justice Sotomayor.The Fast Forward forum was convened by Seneca Women’s co-founders: Melanne Verveer, former U.S. ambassador at large for global women’s issues, and Kim Azzarelli, who chairs the Cornell Center for Women and Justice.