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Annual conference inspires Utah women

By Amanda Butterfield | Posted - Oct. 4, 2010 at 4:55 p.m.



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SALT LAKE CITY -- The 26th Annual Utah Conference for Women was held Monday in downtown Salt Lake City. Despite the absence of the event's usual host, Sen. Orrin Hatch, an impressive lineup of presenters and speakers of national renown were in attendance.

The conference is meant to give women a chance to get out of the house and learn, become motivated, and meet a variety of people.

One of the guest speakers was Shamim Jawad, wife of the Afghan Ambassador to the United States. She is also founder of the Ayenda Foundation and a member of the U. S. Afghan Women's Council to advance the rights of women.

Jawad spoke about women in her country, how they have suffered through so much war, and how many live without liberties that we all enjoy.

"It's important to talk about women and their situation, be a voice, because they have suffered tremendously and they are not out of the woods," she said.

Other guest speakers included NASA astronaut Marhsa Ivins, former White House Press Secretary for George W. Bush and Fox News commentator Dana Perino, and a favorite among the crowd, local musician and composer Kurt Bestor.

"It's been incredible," said attendee Marilyn Neff. "I didn't expect it would be as motivating and interesting as it has been."

Hatch and his wife Elaine typically host the event, but the senator has been traveling outside the country and could not make it himself. Hatch recently returned home from a trip to Afghanistan and said he was hesitant to miss the conference, but he felt the attendees would understand. His wife still attended the event.

E-mail: abutterfield@ksl.com

Amanda Butterfield

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