The event marks the first engagement for Meghan announced ahead of time since she stepped down from her senior royal role

By Stephanie Petit
July 08, 2020 12:51 PM
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Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images; BET Awards 2020/Getty Images

Meghan Markle is joining forces with some big names to speak about a subject close to her heart: gender equality and the need for social change.

The Duchess of Sussex will be a special guest at the 2020 Girl Up Leadership Summit, which is being conducted virtually this year from July 13 to 15.

"The present is female! But don’t take our word for it. Hear Meghan Markle, The Duchess of Sussex’s advice for global girls leaders when she takes the stage at the 2020 @GirlUp Leadership Summit, happening virtually July 13-15!" GirlUp said in the official tweet breaking the news on Tuesday.

Also on the roster for the three-day event is former First Lady Michelle Obama, who Meghan has met on several occasions — when Meghan popped backstage in December 2018 during the London stop of Obama's sold-out book tour for her memoir, Becoming, and in spring 2019 during  Obama’s second stop in London for the book tour.

Meghan also said she was left "somewhat speechless" when the questions she sent Obama to answer for the back page of British Vogue's September issue (which Meghan guest-edited!) were returned "as a thoughtful, reflective and beautifully curated narrative – a gentle reminder not of how but of why she has become such a globally respected public figure." Meghan also revealed that the two women discussed the project "over a casual lunch of chicken tacos and my ever-burgeoning bump," referring to her pregnancy with 1-year-old son Archie.

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Nadia Murad, COO of Facebook Sheryl Sandberg and Priyanka Chopra Jonas will also be featured as speakers at the virtual event.

Girl Up is a leadership initiative that has worked with 65,000 girls through 3,500 clubs in nearly 120 countries and all 50 United States, working to inspire a generation of young women to be "a force for gender equality and social change," according to their website.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
Queen's Commonwealth Trust

While Meghan, 38, and Prince Harry, 35, have been keeping in touch with charities via video calls amid the coronavirus pandemic, the leadership summit marks the first speaking engagement for Meghan since the couple stepped down from their senior royal roles in March that has been announced ahead of the event.

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry
Samir Hussein/WireImage

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Meghan and Prince Harry recently signed with the New York-based Harry Walker Agency for speaking engagements. The agency also represents Oprah Winfrey and Jane Goodall — who are friends with the couple — in addition to Michelle and Barack Obama, Hillary and Bill Clinton, Alex Rodriguez, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Tina Fey, Stacey Abrams and Gloria Steinem.