Remarks as prepared
Ambassador Sarah-Ann Lynch
Film screening in honor of Women’s History Month
March 23, 2023
Andrew Kendall, Head of the Department of Language and Cultural Studies, University of Guyana.
Lieutenant Commander, United States Navy, Michelle Mecklenburg
Colonel Lorraine Foster, Guyana Defence Force
Superintendent Cristal Robinson, Guyana Police Force.
Colleagues in the Diplomatic Corps
Staff of the Castellani House
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Good evening all! I’m very pleased to be here today as we resume in-person film screenings in collaboration with the Castellani House. In fact, my very first public engagement when I arrived in Guyana was at the Castellani House for a film screening of “RBG,” the story of how Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg changed the world for women and promoted inclusive access to services for all.
As the Embassy joins Guyana in celebrating Women’s History Month, we pay tribute to generations of women who have made extraordinary contributions to their nations and the world.
This evening, we are thrilled to screen “The Woman King” – a compelling and remarkable story of an all-female unit of warriors who protected the African Kingdom of Dahomey. Without giving away too much about the film, we will learn tonight, among other things the diverse roles women play as agents of change in building post-conflict peace and stability in their communities and beyond borders.
We hope the film inspires great conversation for our panel discussion after the film on the critical role of women in promoting peace and security in Guyana and the region. Women like our esteemed panelists, Lieutenant Commander Michelle Mecklenburg, United States Navy; Colonel Lorraine Foster of the Guyana Defence Force; and Superintendent Cristal Robinson of the Guyana Police Force, who have all played key roles in security matters for their respective nations.
Matters of security have long been viewed through a military-centric and traditionally male lens. Historically, while their contributions may have been largely unrecognized, women have played a critical role in the security sector – often helping create the conditions for enduring peace, protection, and the prevention of conflict.
Research has also shown that peace negotiations are more likely to succeed, and result in lasting stability, when women participate. And, we all know that when we invest in a woman, she changes not only her own life, but also that of her family and her community. Add that change to a key sector, such as the security sector, and she can change and improve that sector and her country.
The Department of State has made gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls a key component of U.S. foreign policy. As such, the United States is proud to support the empowerment of women in Guyana’s national security effort in partnership with the Guyana Defence Force and the Guyana Police Force.
It is our hope that the movie and panel discussion will spark conversation on how we can work collectively to develop meaningful solutions for a more secure and prosperous Guyana.
Thanks to the Minister of Culture Youth and Sport for the use of this beautiful space. Thank you to the staff of Castellani House. And, thank you to Andrew Kendall, film critic and moderator for this evening’s proceedings.
Thank you all for coming tonight. I hope you enjoy the film and the panel discussion.