Nichols College News

Ambassador Urges Women’s Participation in Peace Talks

 On March 24th, Nichols College undergraduate business students in a Leadership Experience class listened attentively as former Under-Secretary-General and High Representative of the United Nations, Ambassador Anwarul K. Chowdhury, urged them to transform themselves into “agents of peace.”

The Ambassador was on the Dudley campus to discuss the ten-year anniversary of the United Nation Security Council’s Proposition 1325, which requires parties in conflict to include women in peace negotiations and post-conflict reconstruction.

Before the Ambassador spoke, students were prepped with statistics on gender, status and power by Professor Mary Trottier (below). She stated: “Change must start right here — on the Hill.”

  • There are 88 females in the U.S. Congress (of 535 members, or 16.4%)
    • 17 female senators (of 100, or 17%)
    • 71 female representatives (of 435, or 6.3%)
  • Worldwide
    • 30% of CEOs in Thailand are female
    • 19% of CEOs in China are female
    • According to DECAAN HERALD (March 25th, 2011), women in China hold 34% of senior management positions
    • However, there are only 15 females CEOs in the U.S. Fortune 500
  • United States has never had an elected female national head of state, unlike: Israel, India, Great Britain, Germany, Argentina, People Republic of China, Indonesia, etc.

The Ambassador gave background on the operations of the U.N. and stated that it was time to build a culture of peace, not just during times of war, but in our daily lives as well. “You just can’t ignore 50 percent of the world population or the positive contribution women make towards peace and security.” He noted that of the last 18 world conflicts, women were included in only two peace talks.

The Ambassador said that “women have proven to be a big source of positive energy,” particularly in getting warring factions to the negotiations table (e.g. Sierra Leone). While men focus in on how much power can be gained, women at the peace tables look long-term and focus on education and health. “Women make peace sustainable,” he said.

To implement a culture of peace, the General Assembly in 1998 authorized an eight-fold plan, as follows:

  1. Education
  2. Economic and Social Development\
  3. Human Rights
  4. Equality between Men and Women
  5. Democratic Participation
  6. Advancing and Understanding and Tolerance
  7. Free Flow of Information
  8. Promotion of International Peace and Security

“We are all global citizens,” the Ambassador entreated. “Peace should not be left to a political system to deliver.” Of those signing U.N. Proposition 1325, only the United Kingdom has developed an action.

 

On the previous evening, March 23rd, a reception was held for Under-Secretary-General and High Representative of the United Nations, Ambassador Anwarul K. Chowdhury, followed by a panel presentation on Women: Essential for Sustainable Peace in Davis Hall. Joining Chowdhury was Grace Akallo, author of GIRL SOLDIER: A Story of Hope for Uganda's Children. Here you will find an excerpt of Akallo's presentation and pictures from the reception.