Scores of women leaders from around the Middle East will gather in Amman, Jordan this week to explore new ways to involve women in initiatives aimed at fostering transformational peace and security. The women will exchange ideas as part of the Regional MENA Women’s Peace Table on October 17 and 18th, hosted by the Dutch peacebuilding organization PAX.
“I am so excited about the MENA Women's Peace Table in Amman,” says Irene Santiago, Convenor of the Women’s Peace Tables Worldwide Campaign. “It will be a substantive and action-oriented gathering, combining networking, media, and making plans for the future. Women coming together is the beginning of change.”
The Women’s Peace Tables initiative is a global awareness campaign started by #WomenSeriously as part of a global effort to address the fact that women are still chronically under-represented in peace negotiations and decision-making tables around the world. This is despite the fact that women are deeply affected by conflict and play a critical role in building long-term, sustainable peace. During the month of October, men and women around the world are hosting hundreds of Peace Tables in an attempt to bring about change.
The Peace Table in Amman will be chaired by #WomenSeriously founder Irene Santiago, who participated in peace negotiations in her native Philippines and organised the 1995 UN Conference on Women in Beijing. Other participants include prominent leaders, activists, professionals and feminists from Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Yemen, Egypt, and Libya.
PAX supports a number of projects in the region aimed to strengthen the role of women. One project involves strengthening the role women play in their community’s security. For instance, in Kirkuk, Iraq, some of the obstacles for women to report to the police have been removed thanks to a project sensitizing the police and facilitating interaction between the security sector and women’s networks.
The police chief in Kirkuk is quite pleased with the results. “It is important to have women participate with us and work with us. We need their experience… As police, we all know that we cannot protect Krikuk by ourselves. We need citizens, men and women, to help us by giving us information,” says Police Chief Jamal.
Women active in this project and dozens like it throughout the Middle East will share their experiences at the Women’s Peace Table in Amman.Gender, Peace & Security, Middle East