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Inge Relph

30 September 2005
Perhaps somewhat unusually my background is in business and organisational strategy, advising at senior level a number of multinationals in the UK and internationally - latterly I have translated this expertise into working in the not-for-profit environment.

South Africans of Danish descent, our family was vehemently opposed to apartheid and I moved to the UK with my husband in the 70’s. In London, finding that women in business were lacking a voice, I co-founded the London Chamber of Commerce Women in Business network to raise awareness of the benefits of engaging women at more senior levels in business.

Seeing women, not in opposition to men but as a creative force, has been at the heart of my non–profit work.

I am currently working on a strategy with UNIFEM, the Kennedy School, Harvard and the Human Security Commission to get more women trained for and engaged in peace negotiations. As interim Executive Director of the Suzanne Mubarak Women’s International Peace Movement I helped set up the first peace movement in the Middle East with a focus on the inclusion of women as a fundamental to sustainable peace.

Another connection with the Arab world is promoting women's economic development in the Arab Region and with my fellow trustees of the Arab International Women's Forum, we have had some success in putting the  needs of Arab women on policy agendas.

I am enjoying participating in the UK working group for UNSCR1325. I advise on current trends in gender and peacebuilding, especially the Inclusive Human Security agenda, and am a member of the Oxford Process Group, which has considerable expertise in facilitating Human Security approaches to conflict and policy making.

As past chair of Womankind Worldwide, the UK’s largest women’s human rights and development agency  I have experienced first hand how women can make a difference but are often hampered by poorly thought through policies. I'm passionate about advocating for more ‘joined up’ policy making: I would like to see closer interaction between grassroots organisations and policy makers and between the policymakers themselves, so that those responsible for security talk to the development people and also listen to those on the ground who are best placed to give the true picture. Wouldn't it be great if policy makers could see what an ally they are excluding by not engaging extensively with women?

Some of the issues I would like to discuss: Who is taking 1325 seriously? The need to set the UN1325 debate in the broader context of inclusive Human Security. Going beyond peacekeeping to conflict transformation for sustainable peace.  Who makes the peace and who really keeps the peace - and is this now much more the role of civil society? Are we in the West afraid to face the truth about child soldiers/human trafficking/the abuse of women – and acknowledge the sheer scale on which this is happening because it is ‘out there’ and happening to ‘the other’! In truth is there really such a thing as ‘the other’?

Can there be a green populist project on the Left?

Many on the Left want to return to a politics based on class, not populism. They point to Left populist parties not reaching their goals. But Chantal Mouffe argues that as the COVID-19 pandemic has put the need for protection from harm at the top of the agenda, a Left populist strategy is now more relevant than ever.

Is this an opportunity for a realignment around a green democratic transformation?

Join us for a free live discussion on Thursday 22 October, 5pm UK time/12pm EDT.

Hear from:

Paolo Gerbaudo Sociologist and political theorist, director of the Centre for Digital Culture at King’s College London and author of ‘The Mask and the Flag: Populism and Global Protest’ and ‘The Digital Party: Political Organisation and Online Democracy’, and of the forthcoming ‘The Great Recoil: Politics After Populism and Pandemic’.

Chantal Mouffe Emeritus Professor of Political Theory at the University of Westminster in London. Her most recent books are ‘Agonistics. Thinking the World Politically’, ‘Podemos. In the Name of the People’ and ‘For a Left Populism’.

Spyros A. Sofos Researcher and research coordinator at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Lund University and author of ‘Nation and Identity in Contemporary Europe’, ‘Tormented by History’ and ‘Islam in Europe: Public Spaces and Civic Networks'.

Chair: Walid el Houri Researcher, journalist and filmmaker based between Berlin and Beirut. He is partnerships editor at openDemocracy and lead editor of its North Africa, West Asia project.

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