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Europe and the Middle East—In response to International Day of Peace, a conference of women leaders said, “Peace starts with women.”
The webinar “No Peace Without Women: What Are Women Bringing to Peace Processes, Conflict Prevention and Human Security?” was held on September 15, 2022, to commemorate the United Nations’ International Day of Peace
The Europe and Middle East (EUME) branch of the International Association of First Ladies for Peace (IAFLP), one of the UPF associations, held the webinar jointly with the EUME branch of Women’s Federation for World Peace (WFWP), an organization that is affiliated with UPF, and in conjunction with the Rene Moawad Foundation with co-host H.E. Mme Nayla Moawad, former First Lady of Lebanon. Supporting organizations included UN Women, the NGO Committee on the Status of Women, Geneva, and the Soroptimists.
With war currently at our doorstep, it was hoped that this meeting of eminent speakers from the UN, EU, public and private sectors and NGOs from various nations could produce concrete proposals to further the cause of peace. In order to minimize human suffering and prevent the circumstances that have justified conflict as the best solution, it is necessary to tap into local knowledge, re-think governance and global institutions, and enhance civil society/government partnerships. It was felt that women leaders, who are often mothers as well, might have something unique, effective, and convincing to bring to the table. Other former First Ladies included H.E. Elsie Christofia of Cyprus and H.E. Dr. Liri Berisha of Albania. The speakers also included H.E. Nataša Mićić, former President of Serbia, H.E. Olga Algayerova, Head of the UN Economic Commission for Europe and Mr. Marcus Lenzen, Deputy Chief of the UN Peacebuilding Fund.
Following the opening session, three consecutive sessions were held on “Creating Conditions for Peace and Development”, “How do Women Negotiate Differently?” and “Women in Conflict Resolution & Transformation: Case Studies”. The conference concluded with an appeal for support for WFWP Ukraine’s ongoing humanitarian aid distribution and evacuation assistance project.