2018 Knowledge is Power National Conference
Group photo

Dining for Women celebrated its 15th anniversary with the Knowledge is Power National Conference in Washington, DC, May 4-5, 2018. The event took place at the beautiful and iconic United States Institute of Peace (USIP), located at the northwest corner of the National Mall.

Knowledge is Power

The conference theme “Knowledge is Power” was inspired by a quote from Wa’ad, a beneficiary of DFW’s January 2015 featured grantee, Collateral Repair Project in Jordan:
“Knowledge is power. I feel empowered; I know my rights; I share my thoughts and my friends welcome my input. On the outside, I am still the same,
but deep inside I feel different; I feel strong.”

Watch Video of Wa’ad sharing her story.

This theme reflects DFW’s commitment to education, global citizenship, and empowerment – for both the women and girls we support and our own members.  The Knowledge is Power conference offered attendees the opportunity to invest in their own knowledge about global issues, current challenges affecting women and girls, and how DFW is supporting grassroots solutions on-the-ground

Conference Partner

DFW partnered with the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) for a state-of-the art venue in our nation’s capital. In addition to hosting the two-day event, the USIP provided all the programming for the first day of the conference, including expert speakers on women’s role in peace and conflict in the world.

The USIP is an independent, nonpartisan thought leader that convenes people from various sides of an issue and facilitates constructive solutions to prevent and reduce violent conflict around the world.

Conference Program

The two-day conference included experts in issues affecting women and girls around the world, as well as 14 DFW grantees who are trailblazers in human rights, girls’ empowerment, innovation in education, and remote health care and community work. Speakers and panelists represented more than 15 countries.

Keynote speakers included:

Abigail Disney Anucha Brown Carrie Hessler-Radelet
Abigail Disney
CEO & President
Fork Films
Anucha Brown
Chief Strategy & Engagement Officer
Carrie Hessler-Radelet
President & CEO
Project Concern International


Session Recordings

Girls Empowerment: Voices of the Future
How do organizations create the trailblazing leaders of tomorrow? On this panel, attendees engaged in how Batonga unlocks the potential of girls in Benin; shared in the holistic approach to girls’ education and mentoring of the Little Sisters Fund of Nepal; and dreamed with Kakenya’s Dream of the unlimited potential of young girls who write their own scripts for their own futures in rural Kenya.


Moderated by Jada Tullos Anderson, DFW Grant Selection Committee


  • Stephanie Lord, Batonga Foundation
  • Dr. Kakenya Ntaiya,   Kakenya’s Dream
  • Trevor Patzer, Little Sisters   Fund
  • Nikita Devkota, Graduate   and Mentor, Little Sisters Fund
  • Sapana Ojha, Graduate and Mentor, Little Sisters Fund

Watch Recording

Social Entrepreneurship:  Innovation and Transformation

Social Entrepreneurs seek to drive social change by developing interesting solutions to social problems in their communities. On this panel, Sustainable Health Enterprises in Rwanda and African People and Wildlife in Tanzania presented their blueprints for a sustainable business that allows women and girls in their communities to increase their economic productivity and participate in the growing economy. Asia Initiatives leverages the power of social capital credits to promote healthcare, education and sustainable development in India.
Moderated by Cathy Caldwell, DFW Grant Selection Committee.


  • Jay Jaidev, Asia Initiatives
  • Connie Lewin, Sustainable Health Enterprises (SHE)
  • Dr. Laly Lichtenfeld, African People & Wildlife
  • Dr. Geeta Mehta, Asia Initiatives

Watch Recording

Facebook Live Interviews

Conference Photos

Click through the slideshow below.


Session Sponsors:

Showcase Sponsors:

In-Kind Sponsor:
Total Wine & More

Recognition Sponsors:

  • Susan Damplo
  • Kathryn Sullivan Kolar
  • Karen Rowley
  • Merle Steiner