Women Waging Peace, a global network of women working to stabilize regions of violent conflict, is holding its second annual colloquium Nov. 4-18. The initiative was founded last year by Swanee Hunt, director of the Kennedy School of Government’s Women and Public Policy Program.
“Our first year has been a spectacular success,” Hunt said. “It’s tremendously rewarding to be able to facilitate connections among these exceptional women – through the Internet and meetings at Harvard, in New York City, and around the world. This colloquium will expand their network and heighten their visibility on a global scale.”
Secretary of State Madeleine Albright recently described Women Waging Peace as “a tireless champion of the brave and innovative women around the world who are saying ‘no’ to violent conflict and ‘yes’ to peace. They are helping citizens in areas of conflict around the world move their countries along the difficult but critical path to peace.”
One of the primary goals of Women Waging Peace is to persuade government leaders to include women in high-level peace negotiations. As a result of meetings this past summer between Rwandan President Paul Kagame and representatives of Women Waging Peace, Kagame agreed to appoint three women to the Rwandan negotiating team for the Congo/Uganda peace talks, one of whom, Aloysia Inyumba, is attending the colloquium at Harvard. In response to Kagame’s decision, the Ugandans added a woman to their all-male team.
The colloquium brings together women from conflicts in Afghanistan, Azerbaijan/Armenia, Burundi, Colombia, Cyprus, East Timor, Guatemala, India/Pakistan, Indonesia, the Israel/Palestine conflict, Mexico, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, the post-Yugoslav region, Russia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Sudan, and the United States.
One of the highlights of the colloquium is Policy Day on Nov. 17. Government officials, journalists, funders, and diplomats will meet the delegates for in-depth discussions of the ways they can influence decision-making. Other events, some of which are open to the press and general public, include a three-day research symposium, panel discussions, and a variety of seminars.
For more information about the colloquium or on Women Waging Peace, please call (617) 495-8290 or visit the organization’s Web site at http://www.womenwagingpeace.net/.