Highlighting Older Women This International Women’s Day

In celebration of International Women’s Day, we turn the spotlight to three extraordinary women whose stories transcend age, demonstrating that a lifetime of learning and service knows no bounds.

Meet Aura del Carmen Calimán, 71, from Colombia; Ambassador Mary, 74, from Kenya; and Arpi Mankasar, 70, from Lebanon—three formidable figures whose journeys inspire, uplift, and redefine what it means to age gracefully.

Arpi Mankasarian, 70, Lebanon: A Cultural Hero​

Mankasarian, an Armenian surname Arpi’s grandparents adopted when they settled in Lebanon, translates to “never broken” in Arabic; and nothing can break the will of this amazing woman.

Arpi is loved by her local community, a woman with infinite stories, and the owner of an Armenian restaurant-turned-cultural-center in Beirut. 

Arpi has seen it all.

“Arpi spreads life.” That’s what her friends always say about her.

Her advice to young people:

Aura del Carmen Calimán 71, Colombia: A Lifetime of Learning

Aura del Carmen Calimán, 71, has had a life full of rich activity and has no intention of slowing down. An engaged social leader and elderly community activist based in Bogotá, she has actively contributed to reducing the illiteracy rate in many neighborhoods.

Her objective is clear:

Her proudest achievement? Completing a specialization in Human Development at age 69.

Her advice to the younger generation:

Ambassador Mary, 74, Kenya: A Woman of Firsts

Ambassador Mary is very impressive. While Kenya’s Permanent Delegate to UNESCO, her office successfully lobbied to increase Kenya World Heritage Sites from three to seven, protecting the country’s natural treasures and putting Kenya very much on the global conservation map. She went on to become Kenya’s first Ambassador to UNESCO.

Life has changed for Ambassador Mary since her retirement, and she embraces the change.

Her advice to young people:

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