Women peace laureates and activists talk to Isabel Hilton about what you won't hear from flak-jacketed war correspondents, on war and the middle-east.
(23.01 mins) Download transcript
This week openDemocracy is in Galway in Ireland, where we have been at the first conference of the Nobel Women's Initiative. Twelve women have won the Nobel Peace Prize since it began. Seven are still alive, one is under house arrest and one is running for president - and the remaining five have brought together some of the world's most influential activists, researchers, academics and professionals to talk about war, peace, security, justice, and how to change a world in which all of the above, except war, are in short supply.
Mairead Corrigan Maguire, Nobel laureate and veteran of peacebuilding in Northern Ireland, draws hope from the principles of peace that millions of ordinary people practice every day, unobserved by the world's media. Natasha Khalid and Nadera Shalhoub Kevorkian discuss the hardships and the creativity of women living in the occupied territories, in tackling the insecurity they face in every aspect of their lives. Shirin Ebadi, awarded the Nobel for her human rights work in Iran, warns of how power and patriarchy - through military intervention, religious traditions, violence or political practice - can undermine those who struggle for freedom and democracy. And she introduces a new kind of war memorial.
Isabel Hilton asks if women really do support peace and if so, how? Five expert witnesses respond.
(38.37mins) Download transcript
This Nobel Women's Initiative roundtable brings together women selected by the five women peace laureates leading the conference. Drawing on their experience and expertise from Iraq, Northern Ireland, the occupied territories and the US, Yanar Mohammed, Bronagh Hinds, Nadwar Sarandah, Antonia Juhasz and Valentine Moghadam discuss rebuilding peace from civil war, understanding conflict, learning to talk to the enemy, and - critically - how women made an essential difference in achieving the current settlement in Northern Ireland. Hear their analyses, strategies and hopes for redefining a concept of peace based in justice, human rights and inclusion.
The NWI conference has been groundbreaking: from its set-up and strategies, to the extraordinary experiences and ideas of the women involved. Laureates and participants discuss what they brought to it, what they will take away, and what the future holds.
(27.34 mins) Download transcript
Jane Gabriel talks to Nancee Oku Bright and Hibaaq Osman about how they build peace in partnership with those in the middle of war, and the practical and legal tools this takes. Siobhan O'Connell hears from Rana Husseini about exposing violence against women and what the NWI can do to stop censorship; and from Roja Bandari about what her involvement in Iranian civil society and in the NWI has meant to her. Isabel Hilton talks to founding laureate Jody Williams about why the experience of the NWI conference has been so different to many male-dominated forums, and how this will affect their future work. And we close with stories from the ground, told by the women who have spent the last three days making the conference such a stimulating and moving experience for all involved.
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