23 OCTOBER 2008 As the wife of California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and a member of the Kennedy clan – her mum Eunice is the sister of the late JFK – Maria Shriver is particularly well-connected.
This week she harnessed the power of her contacts book to bring together a roll-call of internationally renowned activists for a women's conference.
Anti-poverty campaigner Bono took to the podium, as did Heidi Klum and Jennifer Lopez, who spoke passionately about her experiences. The new mum became committed to gender issues after portraying a journalist investigating the deaths of Mexican women in 2006 film Bordertown.
Also among the participants was Tony Blair's wife Cherie, who attended in her capacity as a human rights lawyer and an advocate of education for girls in poor countries. At the conference she caught up with another former first lady - Cecilia Attias, who was once married to President Sarkozy of France.
The political world, meanwhile, was represented by US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice and one of her predecessors, Madeleine Albright, now a professor at Washington's Georgetown University.