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Who and what to expect from Toronto's Women in the World Summit

Summit to tackle 'complexities of the world' from a woman’s perspective, sharing stories of success and atrocity along the way.

Angelina Jolie is among the big names coming to the Women in the World Summit in Toronto.

The Associated Press

Angelina Jolie is among the big names coming to the Women in the World Summit in Toronto.

Activists, authors, and actors from around the world are coming to Toronto to discuss everything from child marriage to “bro culture” with one common goal: to shed light on female narratives and give women a platform to talk about their experiences.

And, it's not by accident that the city was chosen as a stage for the Women in the World Summit.

Canada is a hopeful example of how women can be included in society and politics, with female leaders making up half of the cabinet in the House of Commons, said summit founder Tina Brown.

“I think we’re seeing a moment when exactly the wrong kind of testosterone is dictating what’s happening in the world,” said Brown.

Justin Trudeau "has his critics ... but to us in America it’s exciting to see a young, committed male leader who is such a clear champion of women," she added.

Brown launched the first Women in the World Summit in 2010. At the time, she was working on the board of a non-governmental organization and realized there needed to be a place for people to share stories and reach a broader audience.

“I kept meeting the most amazing firecracker women – incredibly courageous women who had fought against child marriage, who had fought against honour killings, who would risk their lives, who were doing remarkable heroic things,” she said.

Trudeau will be among those talking at the event, happening from 1 to 6 p.m. Sept. 11 at the AGO. Tickets aren't available but the event will be streamed on the group's Facebook page.

Others taking part include Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland and actor and activist Angelina Jolie.

Even more intriguing, Brown said, are the lesser known faces with stories that would remain unheard without the summit.

One of the talks, for example, will share the story of two mothers – one Israeli, one Palestinian – who turned personal tragedy into reconciliation and forgiveness, according to the Women in the World program.

Zainab Salbi is a journalist and television host who founded Women for Women International, a group dedicated to helping women survivors of war. She’ll be moderating two talks, including one with Freeland and University of Oxford history professor Margaret MacMillan about how women can change the world.

“Usually what people do is separate women’s issues,” said Salbi. “But women also have different ways of thinking about world politics, the world economy, the world geography, all of these things.”

For Salbi, the summit is a way to highlight “complexities of the world, politics, economy, journalism” from a woman’s perspective.

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