The Words of the Betancourt Family

International Womenís Day Seminar Honors Women Peacemakers

Caroline Betancourt
March 9, 2006
Washington, D.C., United States

"Women are essential to creating world peace" was the theme and consensus of a luncheon seminar held in honor of International Womenís Day. The seminar was sponsored by the Womenís Peace Initiative for the Middle East and South Asia, a project of Womenís Federation for World Peace -- an affiliated organization with the UPF.

Held on March 9 at the Capitol Hill Club in Washington, D.C., the elegant Presidential Dining Room was filled to capacity with 140 participants. Paintings by Colombian artist Ethel Bustamante punctuated the sunlight-filled room with explosive color, capturing the organic qualities of femininity and motherhood. Networking abounded as hearts opened and tears flowed as women contemplated the essential role of women in creating peace.

Dr. Gulnara Rashidova, wife of the Ambassador from Uzbekistan and Mrs. Bushra Al-Eryani, wife of the DCM from the Embassy of Yemen gave remarks on how they, as women leaders in their respective countries, perceive the role women play in bringing peace.

Mrs. Alexa Ward, President of Women's Federation for World Peace, USA, said that the future is fast moving toward the time where women need to take leadership roles in many more capacities; but the question she posed, giving food for thought to all, was: "Are we ready to take leadership?" The quality of leadership presented by women has to be such that the world can move in a different direction than that of the past millennium.

Mrs. Ward proudly announced the successful completion of the WFWP International Declaration for Peace signature campaign. Nearly 11 million women dedicated themselves to peace by signing. Only one million signatures were expected. These signatures will be presented to the United Nations as a voice of women around the world declaring the need for more women to be involved in the peace making process.

Caroline Betancourt, emcee, at the podium with panel comprising Susan Fefferman, Moderator; Karnit Asher-Biran from Israel; Nahid Kabbai, Palestinian; Fawzia Etemadi from Afghanistan; and Katrin Michael from Iraq.

The highlight of the seminar was the panel from the Womenís Peace Initiative for the Middle East and South Asia, a project of WFWP. Katrin Michael, Ph.D., from Iraq, Fawzia Etemadi from Afghanistan, Israeli Karnit Asher-Biran and Palestinian Nahid Kabbani each spoke on womenís issues in their specific countries, as they shared their personal testimonies. Moderated by Susan Fefferman, the panelists each emphasized the essential qualities women can bring to the peacemaking process, especially that of a motherís heart.

Gail Paine introduced the Principles of the Ambassador for Peace program, bringing home the need for common principles of peace to bring our work together, interspersing her presentation with anecdotes from her experiences in Rwanda and Kenya. Five women were appointed as Ambassadors for Peace, including Gul Rukh Rahman, Kathryn Hill, Karnit Asher-Biran, Olga Sulla and Jacqueline Kakembo.

Gail Paine introduced the Principles of the Ambassador for Peace program, bringing home the need for common principles of peace to bring our work together, interspersing her presentation with anecdotes from her experiences in Rwanda and Kenya. Five women were appointed as Ambassadors for Peace, including Gul Rukh Rahman, Kathryn Hill, Karnit Asher-Biran, Olga Sulla and Jacqueline Kakembo.

Participants were moved to tears as women from different religions, nationalities and races participated in WFWP's Bridge of Peace ceremony. One by one, they crossed the bridge to meet a "sister in peace" and melted into one heart, leaving behind prejudices and barriers that divide us. Ms. Selma Musavyi summed up the seminar with the sentiment, "This was just wonderful. I canít remember when I experienced so many tears and love. I am really glad I came."

 Download entire page and pages related to it in ZIP format
Table of Contents
Copyright Information
Tparents Home