Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Africa's first female head of state, saluted the distinguished gathering of political and business leaders, saying: "You motivate us, you inspire us, you encourage us to continue."
Sirleaf took power in the west African nation ravaged by 14 years of back-to-back civil wars, and her Finnish counterpart Tarja Holonen was quick to point out that women played a leading role in healing war wounds.
She said experience showed that the role women play "in conflict resolution and reconciliation in post war is very vital. This country Liberia is a good example of that."
Canadian Governor General Michaelle Jean, originally a Haitian refugee, echoed the theme that women were the best guarantors of peace.
"I'm telling you: give women the means to react and you will see less violence, you will see the end of sickness and illiteracy because women never forget that life is the most precious thing.
"Exclude women and you will fail," Jean added at the Monrovia gathering, which will debate the future of women.And from UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon:
"Violence against women cannot be tolerated, in any form, in any context, in any circumstances, by any political leader or by any government," said Ban.
He revealed that around the world, one woman in five has been a victim of rape or attempted rape, and that in some countries one woman in three has been beaten or subjected to some kind of violent act.
"Violence against women is an abomination. I'd like to call it a crime against humanity," he said.
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