WPM Program Concludes
Editor in Chief
My faith in humanity and identity as a woman and a believer in peace have been restored. The 2006 Women PeaceMakers Program is coming to an end and the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice is preparing for a few final events to mark the end of the incredible eight weeks that have made up this year’s program.
Last Wed., Oct. 18, Dr. Joyce Neu, Director (on leave) of the IPJ returned to San Diego to open the conference “Who’s Making Policy? What Difference does it Make?” The third annual Women PeaceMakers Conference began with a panel moderated by Dr. Dee Aker, Interim Director of the IPJ, and featured panelists Irene Santiago, of the Philippines, senior adviser to the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, Miria Matembe, of Uganda, former Minister of Ethics and Integrity, Government of Uganda and Alma Peréz, of Colombia, consultant, Initiative for Inclusive Security.
“This is about getting women to the peace table with men … The urgency of this task is felt by many of us,” Dr. Aker said to a full theatre in the IPJ on Wed. night. The opening plenary session discussed the inclusion of women in power and politics, and in war and peace.
In an effort to explain the absence of women in institutions of power, especially peacemaking efforts after war, Santiago suggested that patriarchy often contributes to violent conflict.
“Patriarchy is about men’s obsessive desire to control,” Santiago poignantly said. “Power is the potency to act for what is good.”
Finding a way to “act for what is good” was the focus of the conference, and I think, is the key to empowering those silenced by conflict. Knowledge- building sessions trained delegates how to use tools such as “gender auditing” to determine the balance of institutional power. In working sessions delegates discussed such topics as how to translate, implement and make full use of UN Security Council Resolution 1325, which demands women be a part of the peacemaking process.
“Without equality you cannot have peace or development,” Metembe explained as she addressed the urgent need to give women an equal opportunity to participate in all levels of decision making.
150 delegates from around the world came together during the three-day conference to discuss not only how to get women to the peacemaking table, but also the necessity for women's equal participation in the four sectors of governance, security, religion and faith and economics and civil society.
“Women are not wrong when they refuse to accept the rules made by men,” Anne Marie Goetz, chief adviser, Governance, Peace and Security Unit, UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), said on Thurs. morning.
The consequences for women who do not play by the rules are often severe and unwarranted. The dire necessity for reinvention of power and restructuring of institutional systems of control is clear. Bringing women and men together to make this happen is exactly what conferences such as “Who’s Making Policy? What Difference does it Make?” was designed to do.
Today, Thurs., Oct. 26, at 7:00 p.m. the IPJ will host “Building cultures of peace with justice,” the annual Women PeaceMakers panel in the IPJ Theatre. This event brings together all four women peacemakers in residence and is an opportunity for members of the San Diego and international communities to come together and think critically about creating peace in our shared world.
Additionally, on Mon., Nov. 6 at 7:00 p.m. a screening of the 2004 Women PeaceMakers documentary “Leading the Way to Peace,” will be held in the IPJ Theatre.
The Vista, October 26, 2006