Test: Typing text into blog template

04 Jul 2014

When users type in the template to add text, the text appears on the blog page. … Read more

Test 2

04 Jul 2014

Read more

Women are key to building peace in Afghanistan

28 Jun 2014 by Quhramaana Kakar

  My journey in working for peace started as a college student -- at the time of the second largest wave of Afghan refugee influx to Pakistan, post 9/11. Many other young Afghans (including me), who already lived as refugees in Pakistan stepped forward to support other Afghans, who were affected by war and now living in extremely vulnerable and volatile situation on the Pak-Afghan border. Witnessing these displaced Afghans suffering exploitation and violence, my core area of work became working for peaceful co-existence. Afghan women have been the witnesses, victims as well as actors of the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan. I was born in a conflict situation and raised as a refugee, where in my young age I saw suffering and misery. Women and children in particular have been the prime victims, those who escaped war to save their lives and those who stayed behind and lost their dear ones, all faced hardships and often loss of their dignity. Every society approaches issues of violence, security and peace in distinctive ways, particularly traditional communities practicing unique approaches not widely known or accessible to the outside world. This means that peace building is not a universal concept that can be applied … Read more

A sole woman at the negotiating table for peace

26 Jun 2014 by Shadia Marhaban

 Shadia Marhaban, President of the Aceh Women’s League (LINA), speaks to reporters after participating in a closed, informal (known as “Arria Formula”) meeting of the Security Council commemorating International Women’s Day, on the role of women in mediation and conflict resolution. 8 March 2012. Photo: United Nations
Dialogue, mediation and negotiation are elegant words to describe ways to resolve conflicts. I was part of such a peace process that produced an agreement to end a 30 year bloody conflict between the Government of the Republic of Indonesia and the Free Aceh Movement (GAM). That was almost ten years ago. Then and now, women are rarely seen in this peace negotiation arena, often because they are not typically part of the parties in conflict. They are also not perceived as adequately prepared for tackling "tough" issues like peace and security. Despite recent international obligations to include women in peace processes, reality has not kept pace with rhetoric. My own presence, as a lone woman among "tough" men who had been at the helm of the struggle for independence for decades was unique. As a woman, and a mother of two children, one of whom is severely autistic; I did not push to go to Helsinki for the peace talks, as it meant leaving my two small children. As fate would have it, the official negotiators were arrested on the way to the airport and sentenced to jail and exiled to the prison island of Nusakambangan off Java. By default, … Read more

Building a culture of peace in the Philippines

25 Jun 2014 by Rohaniza Sumndad-Usman

  "We have to teach peace to build a culture of peace. We have to build a culture of peace to create different generations of peace builders toward our goal of a just and peaceful society starting from the formative years of a child." This has always been my belief to be able to break the vicious cycle of a conflict. I am a Muslim from Lanao del Sur with underlying roots from Bulacan from the Philippines, because of my mother. Her side of the family are all Christians, while my father's side are all Muslims. My sister and I have lived our lives studying and learning about both religions and our families' culture, tradition and diverse backgrounds. I belong to a family with one of my uncles being part of the Moro National Liberation Front (MLNF), fighting for peace and development for the Bangsamoro People and a family of peace mediators who have always been trusted by the community to resolve issues and reach peaceful settlements. But my formative years were spent far from here, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Yet, I could not escape conflict and violence. All of us have our own nightmares and dark stories to tell. Mine … Read more