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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release March 15, 2000
                       ON WOMEN AND THE AMERICAS

                            The White House

President Clinton's special envoy to the Americas, Kenneth H. "Buddy" MacKay, will convene a conference at the White House on the role of women in the Western Hemisphere. The conference on March 15 will take place in Room 450 of the Old Executive Office Building from 2-5 p.m.

More than 200 women and interested parties will focus on the changes the hemisphere is experiencing and how women will affect the future of the countries of the region.

Attorney General Janet Reno, SBA Administrator Aida Alvarez and White House Deputy Chief of Staff Maria Echaveste will highlight the conference.

MacKay, who represents President Clinton on a wide range of issues affecting the 34 democratic nations of the hemisphere, said women are one of the keys to the future of the hemisphere at a time when the U.S. public should change its perception of Central and South America in particular.

"We have to change this lack of understanding within the U.S. public. We have to alter the traditional perceptions of the Americas if we as a nation are to make the correct policy decisions to develop a hemisphere that is prosperous, peaceful and productive," MacKay said.

MacKay said women will be greatly involved in the future of an integrated hemisphere. "They are expanding their involvement in business and civic and public life throughout the Americas in non-traditional role -- and we live in a new age in which modern technology, methods of communication, production and transnational capitalization and economic integration are drawing us ever closer."

The conference is one of a series on the Americas that Gov. MacKay will be hosting this year.