As you know, Nobel Women’s Initiative exists to help create a world transformed through a rejection of war, militarism, violence, and discrimination. We believe global security is about human security.
Nothing like a global pandemic to reveal the inherent tension between ensuring the security of the nation state and ensuring the human security of a state’s people. The global pandemic is diverting governments from ending wars and addressing the root causes of conflict. Indeed, authoritarian governments are seizing the opportunity to intensify crackdowns on social movements.
In our 15 years as a leader in supporting feminist peacebuilding at the grassroots level around the world, no other year has presented such egregious opportunities to champion that vision.
From Yemen, Syria and Iraq to Colombia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan, women peacebuilders are still doing the heavy lifting to call for peace and help communities deal with ongoing human rights violations. And they are also on the frontlines of helping communities cope with COVID-19.
2020 gave us plenty of reasons to leverage the prestige and visibility of our Nobel peace laureates – Leymah Gbowee, Shirin Ebadi, Tawakkol Karman, Rigoberta Menchú Tum and Jody Williams – in the service of women’s peace movements. After all, these laureates are still themselves working on the frontlines of peace.
From Leymah Gbowee’s involvement in ensuring fair, violence-free elections in Liberia to Rigoberta Menchú Tum’s leadership in supporting communities ravaged by hurricanes across Central America, our laureates’ engagement in the urgent issues of our time is tireless.
Meanwhile, we share in the anxiety of people and communities marking month 10 of a global pandemic. We relate to organizations struggling to stay afloat amidst economic uncertainty. And we stand in solidarity with those working to do better after being called out for not walking the talk on racial justice and equality.
As 2020 ends, we are excited about 2021 and the many changes it will bring to Nobel Women’s Initiative! In January we will welcome a new interim executive director who will guide the organization through an exciting process of organizational renewal and transition.
An independent external review of Nobel Women’s Initiative has already begun, led by Community Resource Exchange. We expect the external review to be a thorough, valuable process and welcome the critical recommendations it will yield.
While making crucial first steps on the internal work this year, we are also making good on our commitment to amplify and strengthen feminist peace efforts:
- Our podcast #WhenFeministsRuleTheWorld dared to suggest that in a feminist future of international collaboration and human security, there will be no global pandemics. And we just dropped a whole new season, with six new episodes, in time for the holidays!
- When UN Secretary-General António Guterres issued an appeal for a global ceasefire in response to the coronavirus pandemic, we worked with the Feminist Impact for Rights and Equality Consortium (FIRE) to produce a feminist approach to a global ceasefire.
- We released a report co-authored with the Equality Fund, “Supporting Women’s Organizations and Movements: A Strategic Approach to Climate Action”, encouraging Canada to play a leadership role in involving women and girls in formal talks regarding climate crisis solutions.
- We called for global support of #FeministResponders in the Middle East working for peace amidst the pandemic and brought media attention to women’s leadership in the region through InterviewHer.
- We collaborated with five partner organizations to challenge Canada to center #FeministFunding and #FeministPolicy in its leadership on the pandemic in our report: “Feminist Action Agenda for Canada’s Global Response to COVID-19“.
- We promoted stories of women’s peace activism and resilience through film releases and #16DaysofActivism.
Thank you for your support and we look forward to your solidarity in 2021!