The Nobel Women’s Initiative’s First International Women’s Conference: Women Redefining Peace in the Middle East & Beyond will take place in Galway, Ireland from 29-31 May 2007.
For our first conference we have invited 80 incredible women’s rights activists from 30 different countries, and researchers from around the world – including ex-political prisoners, founders of international rights organizations, disarmament experts, journalists and the most promising emerging activists – to join us for discussions aimed at deepening our understanding of how the private and public dynamics of violence against women, particularly in the Middle East, intersect and therefore, how solutions must reflect a far more integrated approach.
We are excited that our first event is able to bring together such a diverse and knowledgeable group of women. We will be discussing critical issues
vital to ensuring the constructive dialogues that nurture peace, states Jody Williams.
Through strategic dialogue with these women we want to: understand how women in the Middle East are experiencing violence and conflict and why; examine creative approaches of women in the Middle East and elsewhere to challenge violence against women and armed conflict; explore what role the international community needs to play in order to amplify and strengthen integrated women’s rights approaches to peace, security and access to justice. In collaboration with conference participants we will identify how we as NWI can best help spotlight critical women’s efforts and advance some of the recommendations to come out of this meeting.
We focus our first conference on the situation of women in the Middle East because during the past year we have witnessed the challenges facing women activists in the region mount. We’ve seen increasing spirals of violence, terrorism and anti-terrorism begetting more violence, increasingly borne by women and children. We realize these events are not isolated and our ability to confront them depends on our ability to understand their causes and links, as well as learn from the positive responses of resilience of women in the region.
We believe the forms of violence and responses of women in the Middle East, and beyond, can serve as a lens that can offer ways women’s rights, human security and peace issues can be addressed globally.
However, as Shirin Ebadi notes, It is our sadness that on the eve of our first conference our sister laureate, Aung San Suu Kyi, has yet again had her detention extended. We look forward to a day when she can be amongst us.
Women from organizations such as the following will be in attendance:
Concerned Women’s Organisation for Peace and Development
We would like to thank the following supporters of the Nobel Women’s Initiative. Without their generous support, encouragement and collaboration this conference would not have been possible.
Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Swiss Ministry of Foreign Affairs
The Global Fund for Women
The Planethood Foundation
Rockefeller Family & Associates
The Tides Foundation
University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work
The Nobel Peace Prize Laureates of the NWI: Jody Williams, Shirin Ebadi, Wangari Maathai, Rigoberta Menchú Tum, Betty Williams and Mairead Corrigan Maguire