Mona Diamond, Turkey's honorary consul in Atlanta, foresees important new ties between Turkey and the U.S.

Organizing the inaugural International Women Entrepreneurship and Leadership Summit is the most recent project of Mona Diamond to display how active women are in Turkey’s civic and business life and to expand their global networks.

Women in Turkey like the country itself due to its geographic location are influenced by traditions of both the East and West.

For this reason, Ms. Diamond, Turkey’s honorary consul general in Atlanta, says that Americans and Europeans often have the wrong impression of Turkish women, considering them to be less active in civic and business affairs than their Western counterparts.

But there have been many business and political Turkish female leaders, she says, who have played important roles in the country’s history.

“Did you know that Turkey has had a woman prime minister?” she asked rhetorically during a video interview with GlobalAtlanta, citing the political career of Tansu Penbe Çiller, who is currently a member of the Council of Women World Leaders, an international network of current and former women presidents and prime ministers.

Active in local civic and business organizations, Ms. Diamond, a dual American and Turkish citizen, also provides an example of how active a female Turkish citizen can be.

Besides being in involved in the Atlanta Women’s Network, the American Israel Chamber of Commerce of the Southeast and the World Chamber of Commerce, she represents the Turkish American Business Association and other Turkish organizations in Atlanta.

She has been a member of the Assembly of Turkish American Associations and is a member of the Ataturk Society in Washington. In 2002, she received the “Women of Distinction” award from the Daughters of Ataturk, which is named after Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, who founded the Republic of Turkey in 1923 and served as its president until his death in 1938.

Shortly after her appointment as honorary consul four years ago, Ms. Diamond organized the American Turkish Friendship Council, enabling her to raise the funds for several projects such as endowing a Turkish lecture series at Emory University, establishing a Turkish language program at Georgia State University and to provide shipment of medical supplies to Turkey through the services of Atlanta-based Medshare International.

A summit for women from around the world to meet with their Turkish counterparts is her most current project.

The inaugural International Women Entrepreneurship and Leadership Summit is to be held at the Marmara Hotel in Istanbul, Turkey, June 4-5. Feryal Hendricks of Atlanta is the summit coordinator for the United States.

Ms. Diamond said that the summit seeks to bring together hundreds of women entrepreneurs and leaders from Turkey, the United States, the European Union and the Middle East/North Africa region to network.

Among the keynote speakers who have been invited are Abdullah Gul, Turkey’s president; Hillary Clinton, U.S. secretary of state and Melanne Verver, recently nominated by President Obama and approved by the U.S. Senate for the new post of ambassador-at-large for global women’s issues.

Ali Babacan, the foreign minister, also has been invited as a keynote speaker as have Dora Bakoyannis, Greece’s foreign minister and Olli Rehn, the European Union’s commissioner for enlargement.

A wide range of panelists who have accepted to speak are Linda T. Alepin, founding director of the Global Women’s Leadership Network; Genevieve Bos, founder of Pink magazine; Elizabeth Gatewood, director, Wake Forest Office of Entrepreneurship;

Carol Sands, founder and managing director of The Halo Funds; Sevgin Eroglu, associate professor at Georgia State University; Leslie Schweitzer, senior trade adviser, U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Sarosh Sattar, senior economist, the World Bank.

To learn more about this conference, go to or send an email to

The cost of the summit ranges from $350 to $500 depending on the time of registration. The deadline for early registration is May 15.