Illinois women from many walks of life will gather at the UI on April 22 for a one-day workshop on improving the world. Together, the 150 scholars, legislators and representatives from community agencies and local organizations hope to develop ideas and strategies for changing policies that affect women, their children and families. The resulting set of recommendations will be taken to a U.N. forum on women, to be held in Beijing in September. The Beijing forum convenes just prior to the Fourth U.N. World Conference on Women, and is expected to influence the world conference's "platform for action for the advancement of women at national and international levels into the next century," says Illinois conference organizer Kathleen Cloud. If all goes well, the Illinois women should emerge from the experience with the satisfaction that they have added their voices to the chorus of change for women, and "a real sense of connection with women around the world,"said Cloud, who is the director of the UI Office of Women in International Development. According to Cloud, there is "an explosion" of interest in women's issues around the world, and it is particularly strong in Asia. Japan and Korea, among other nations, are both taking the lead and being heavily represented in the U.N. events. "This is not about rich countries helping poor," Cloud said. "It's not just American women talking about American problems. It's about women all around the world trying to improve their lives and the lives of people around them." All sessions of the Illinois conference, titled "Women Changing the World: New Perspectives on Thinking Globally and Acting Locally," will be held in the Levis Faculty Center. Panels will focus on women and health; women and violence; women's economic roles; women and education; women and leadership; and women, science and technology. The event sponsors are the university's Office of Women in International Development and Women's Studies Program. Connie E. Evans, president of Women's Self-Employment Project, Chicago, will give the morning keynote address on "Beijing and Beyond"; Kristen Timothy, deputy director and coordinator for the U.N.'s Fourth World Conference on Women, will give the afternoon keynote address. In conjunction with the conference, a book signing will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. April 21 in the Authors Corner of the Illini Union Bookstore. Cloud and Jean Peterson, a UI professor of family relationships, will sign copies of their recent book, "Capturing Complexity: An Interdisciplinary Look at Women, Households and Development," published by Sage. A reception will follow the signing.