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15 African first ladies to attend summit on HIV, women's issues

  • Story Highlights
  • Two-day meeting begins Monday in Los Angeles; will include gala, private party
  • U.S. Doctors for Africa, African Synergy Against AIDS and Suffering set up event
  • USDFA chairman: Summit will pair first ladies with experts, key groups, politicians
  • Maria Shriver, Jessica Alba, Blair Underwood, Natalie Cole, other celebrities to attend
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LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- Fifteen first ladies from African nations will attend a two-day summit in Los Angeles on health, women's issues and HIV/AIDS, organizers said Friday.

Actors Billy Zane and Sharon Stone, with Ted Alemayhu and Jean Stephane Biatcha, help announce the summit.

Actors Billy Zane and Sharon Stone, with Ted Alemayhu and Jean Stephane Biatcha, help announce the summit.

The conference, which begins Monday, is organized by U.S. Doctors for Africa (USDFA) and African Synergy Against AIDS and Suffering, a nonprofit organization formed by 22 first ladies from Africa. Sponsors include the RAND Corporation, General Electric, the World Health Organization and others.

"Empowering Africa's first ladies is an innovative approach to bettering the lives of millions of Africans," USDFA Chairman Ted Alemayhu said in a written statement. "The summit will pair these leaders with U.S. experts, key political figures and important organizations to create ongoing partnerships."

The event will include a summit, a gala and a private party.

Expected attendees include the first ladies of Angola, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Kenya, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Swaziland and Zambia.

Maria Shriver, the wife of California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, will give opening remarks, according to a USDFA statement.

Other celebrities expected to attend include Maria Bello, Diane Lane, Jessica Alba, Sharon Stone, Blair Underwood, Joely Fisher, Kristin Davis and Camryn Manheim, USDFA told CNN.

Grammy award-winning singer Natalie Cole will perform at the gala, the organization said.

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