Madam Senator Maynard Gibson at the IWF’s Rome Cornerstone Conference

Left to Right: Bahamian Senator, Allyson Maynard Gibson, President IWF; Deputy Major of Rome; and Marina Romualdi Vaccari.

Rome, ITALY – The following are the Remarks of Senator Allyson Maynard Gibson given at the Opening Session of the International Women’s Forum IWF’s Rome Cornerstone Conference held in Rome from 25th -27th May, 2011.  The Theme of the Conference was “Art: Transforming the World.” Co-Hosts of the Conference were:  Anna Fendi, Isabella Rauti, and Marina Romualdi Vaccari.


“Life is pretty simple: You do some stuff, most fails, some works. You do more of what works. It if works big, others quickly copy it. Then you do something else… the trick is… doing something else!”

These worlds were spoken over 500 years ago by the Italian polymath, painter, sculptor, architect, musician, scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist and writer …. who is widely considered to be one of the greatest painters of all time and the most diversely talented person ever to have lived… Italy’s own Leonardo Da Vinci…

“These words feel particularly modern, and most assuredly relevant to the challenges each of us in this room today face in acting upon our 21st century leadership imperatives.”

“And how it is we come to doing ‘some stuff that works, and doing something else’ is not as clear as the a path as it may seem.”

“In a fast-paced, high tech, media linked world, keeping one’s competitive edge and creative advantage isn’t a path readily understood or accessible even to the best of those excelling in today’s marketplace.”

“Here in Italy, where a gifted people have dominated creative endeavours for centuries and have acted upon a renaissance ethos where there are no mutually exclusive polarities between the arts and the sciences, we are proud to embark on a broad-based look at art’s ability to transform possibility and perhaps even us along the way.”

“Maybe one of the most important lessons for us that rings through the centuries since Da Vinci conceptualized a helicopter, a tank, a calculator, the double hull, concentrated solar power and a rudimentary theory of plate tetonics… long ahead of his time… is the determination he embraced that no obstacle should be allowed to stand in the way of discovery and transformation.”

“In the centuries following the explosive contributions of the renaissance, the creatives among us have taken the world to new heights with their imagination, curiosity and ability to hit the target no one else can see.”

“And, in the process, as Edgar Degas said, Their creative endeavours have not been about what they see, but what they have made the rest of us see.”

“We are gathered here in Rome today to see what we might see.. women leaders from 30 nations who understand that the power of creativity translates across every business sector, government, enterprise and human endeavour in a world fueled by creative energy and possibilities, and, we’re here today because we also understand the importance of doing something else – something that perhaps makes the world a better place – makes enterprise stronger, souls more enriched, communities better tooled, solutions closer to our reach, and human imagination valued for the places it will take us in the years ahead.”

“Here in Rome, we’re privileged to have with us, across the fields of art, architecture, design, science, film, fashion, thought leadership, faith, food, composition, and more some of the iconic creatives helping make our world a better place. And it is my privilege to introduce them as we commence the 2011 IWF World Cornerstone Conference.”

“Ladies and Gentlemen, Art: Transforming the World!”

OTHER SPEAKERS included Fabio Novembre, Italian architect and designer for Cappellini, Driade, Meritalia, Flaminia and Casamania whose projects are influencing change around the world;

Laura Facey, Jamaican Sculptor whose art tells a personal story of family trials, inner suffering and eventual recovery expressed through the gestures of sculpted figures of the human body – providing artistic insight on the central importance of human introspection and awareness in efforts to build a better world. Ami Vitale, American photojournalist and National Geographic cultural photographer whose work documenting threatened environments and the impact on women’s lives is raising awareness and changing realities around the world; Piera Pistono, composer and Professor, Santa Cecilia Academy, Rome whose creative leadership through musical interpretation and composition is capturing a diverse perspective and message of compassion for doing better; Gale Anne Hurd, IWF member and Hollywood film producer and writer whose box-office hits include The Terminator (1984); Aliens (1986); The Abyss (1989); Terminator 2 (1991); Raising Cain (1992); Terminator 3 (2003); The Incredible Hulk (2008) and the AMC drama series The Walking Dead (2010); and Nandita Das, award-winning Indian film actress and director known for her films Fire (1996); Earth (1998); Bawandar (2000); and Firaaq (2008). Moderated by Gita Pullapilly, an award-winning television journalist and film producer; Rita Levi Montalcini, neurologist and President, European Brain Research Institute, and at age 102, the oldest living Nobel Laureate in the world, are Mina Teicher, former Chief Scientist of Israel and Director, Noether Research Institute for Mathematics, Bar-Ilan University, Israel; Guglielmina Clarici, Rome-based portrait painter, blending the traditional with the new, and cultural legacy with modernity in a new age; and Pierpaolo Barzan, 35-year old contemporary art collector and founder of Depart – a new, contemporary art foundation outside Rome that highlights emerging artists and entrepreneur whose company, Altay Scientific, manufactures high-tech scientific teaching equipment.