Forum Secretariat Celebrates Women in Leadership Roles

On March 8th, as we join the world to celebrate International Women’s’ Day, the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS) is inspiring change by celebrating its women in leadership roles.

Caption: Ms Andie Fong Toy and Ms Cristelle Pratt, Deputy Secretaries General of the Forum Secretariat

The recently recruited Ms. Cristelle Pratt joins Ms Andie Fong Toy at the helm of the PIFS. In their key roles of Deputy Secretaries General, Ms Pratt and Ms Fong Toy work with the Secretary General in serving the 16 member States of the Pacific Islands Forum, the premier political organisation of the region, and to provide leadership in the work of the PIFS.

“It is a significant milestone in the work and development of the Secretariat to have two highly professional and experienced women helping lead this organisation. We warmly welcome and congratulate Ms Pratt. Together with Ms Fong Toy, they bring together an extensive range of demonstrated qualities and working backgrounds at senior levels and will be a formidable team in the PIFS leadership,” says Tuiloma Neroni Slade, the Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat.

“Women are now competing and gaining high level positions in the region. Deservedly so. Not only is indicative of the talent and experience that is developing and available across the region, it is setting the necessary patterns and thresholds for the younger generations. All this is highly exemplary and positive in enhancing leadership in support of the region’s development. Women bring different perspectives and promoting their full participation in leadership and decision making allows policy decisions to become more inclusive and relevant.”

“Increasingly we are seeing organisations in the region recognise and embrace women leadership and as a result are thriving on what these skilled and often dynamic women bring to the table.”

Deputy Secretary General of the Forum Secretariat, Ms Cristelle Pratt says that she hopes to inspire, contribute and support the advancement of women particularly the next generation of women.

“International Women’s Day provides the opportunity for us all to reflect on the invaluable contributions that Pacific women make to society and economies at all levels of development. It also allows countries to focus on the full potential of available national talent and, in some cases, the overwhelming, yet untapped potential of women and girls across the Pacific. While serving the region I look forward to supporting the advancement and empowerment of women on a wide range of fronts,” she says.

“On this occasion of International Womens’ Day, we stand together in solidarity as we celebrate women around the world and especially here in the Pacific. It is also a reminder that unless we achieve gender equality and empower our women, we won’t achieve the Millennium Development Goals,” says Ms Fong Toy, Deputy Secretary General. “Next week, I will be among Pacific delegates attending the 58th Session on the Commission on the Status of Women, with the theme of ‘Implementing the MDGs for women and girls’. Pacific delegates will highlight their progress and challenges in this area, but the key message will be that there is much more work to be done and the support of the international community will be crucial”


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Background information:
Leaders Gender Equality Declaration Commitment made by the Forum Leaders in 2012 advocating women’s participation in leadership roles.

About Ms. Cristelle Pratt
Ms Pratt has extensive experience in both the public and private sectors in various regional roles with the most senior being CEO of the Pacific Applied Science Geoscience Commission now known as Applied Geoscience and Technology Division of the SPC. Providing a mix of policy, technical and strategical advice, Cristelle Pratt has also worked for various regional and international organisations such as the the World Bank and AusAid.

Ms. Pratt holds a Masters degree in Marine Management from Dalhousie University, Canada, a Post Graduate Diploma in Science and also a Bachelor of Science from the Australian University in Canberra, Australia.
Oceans remains a deep passion for Ms Cristelle Pratt who believes that the ocean that connects us as a region offers many opportunities for us all and deserves increased attention and efforts at all levels.

About Ms Andie Fong Toy
Ms Fong Toy served as Director for the Forum Secretariat’s Political Governance and Security Programme until 2008. Prior to her appointment as Director she also served the Secretariat as International Legal Adviser and Legal & Political Officer.

Ms Fong Toy holds a Bachelor of Law from the Victoria University in New Zealand and a Masters in International Relations from Deakin University, Australia. She has been admitted to the High Court of New Zealand and the Fiji Bar. Ms Fong Toy is also a member of several Advisory Boards.

Ms Fong Toy’s extensive experience incorporates research on Pacific legal issues and working in a civil society organisation in New Zealand, experience in election observation missions and encapsulates vast knowledge and understanding of regional and international issues. Ms Fong Toy has also conducted consultancy work on enhancing Pacific leadership with a focus on Pacific youth.


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