Women Building Peace: IPJ Travels to the United Nations to Provide a Closer Look

The mission of the University of San Diego’s Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice is not to simply talk about peace, but to be a part of the global peace-building process. IPJ program officers and directors will travel to the United Nations in New York from Feb. 25 - 29 to participate in the 52nd Commission on the Status of Women to put that mission into action.

The IPJ, part of USD’s new Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies, has affiliate status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council. IPJ personnel will make two presentations at the U.N. to show how women have a critical role in ending the ongoing conflicts around the world. They will be joined by past participants of the Women PeaceMakers Program for a panel presentation focusing on global best practices from the field which demonstrate the dynamic and inter-related nature of women’s efforts to construct a just peace. These initiatives are integral to and necessary in each stage to end cycles of violent conflict.

The IPJ will also present a screening of “Leading the Way to Peace,” a film documenting the lives and work of four courageous women: Christiana Thorpe of Sierra Leone, currently serving as chief electoral commissioner; Zarina Salamat of Pakistan, a leader in the peace movement between India and Pakistan; Shreen Abdul Saroor of Sri Lanka, one of the founders of Mannar Women’s Development Federation; and Luz Méndez of Guatemala, a respected gender activist who serves as President of the Advisory Board of the National Union of Guatemalan Women.

Their personal stories of achievement and hope were documented as part of the Women PeaceMakers Program, an eight-week residency program offered by the IPJ. The film demonstrates the power of the media as a connection among nations, examines the conflicts that have torn these regions apart and strategies the women have employed to make their communities whole again. A panel discussion, including the film directors and one of the featured peacemakers, will accompany the screening.

"Women's quests to prevent conflict, end violence, promote human security, have accountability, and create inclusive societies are inspirational and transformative for those who learn about them,” said Dee Aker, director of the Women PeaceMakers Program. “IPJ's documentation of these stories on film and in narrative form has become a global resource that the United Nations' exposure only enhances."

For more information on the work of the IPJ and the Women PeaceMakers Program, go to

About the University of San Diego

The University of San Diego is a Catholic institution of higher learning chartered in 1949; the school enrolls approximately 7,500 students and is known for its commitment to teaching, the liberal arts, the formation of values and community service. The inauguration of the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies brings the university’s total number of schools and colleges to six. Other academic divisions include the College of Arts and Sciences and the schools of Business Administration, Law, Leadership and Education Sciences, and Nursing and Health Science.


About the University of San Diego

The University of San Diego sets the standard for an engaged, contemporary Catholic university where innovative Changemakers confront humanity’s urgent challenges. With more than 8,000 students from 75 countries and 44 states, USD is the youngest independent institution on the U.S. News & World Report list of top 100 universities in the United States. USD’s eight academic divisions include the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Business, the Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering, the School of Law, the School of Leadership and Education Sciences, the Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science, the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies, and the Division of Professional and Continuing Education. USD recently concluded our successful $317M Leading Change: The Campaign for USD, which represented the most ambitious fundraising effort in the history of the university. In September 2016, USD introduced Envisioning 2024, a strategic plan that capitalizes on the university’s recent progress and aligns new strategic goals with current strengths to help shape a vision for the future as the university looks ahead to its 75th anniversary in the year 2024.