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Women, Peace and Security Video Panel: Observation of 2020 as a Landmark Year

By Global Campaign for Peace Education, July 26, 2020

Featuring Betty Reardon, Kozue Akibayashi, Asha Hans, and Mavic Cabrera Balleza.
Hosted and moderated by Tony Jenkins.
Recorded: June 25, 2020

The Occasion for the Panel

The year 2020 is one multiple anniversaries of landmarks in the human family’s striving toward a sustainable and just peace on our shared and fragile planet. Overarching all those landmarks is the 75th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations, the world organization in whose halls unfolded much of the politics that produced several of the events we celebrate this year. More significant still, both to the organization and to the world community it is intended to serve, is the current upsurge in citizens’ movements to achieve many of the goals undertaken by member states in their agreement to the UN Charter. The year has been marked by the politics of a mobilized and vibrant global civil society, in which lies the world’s best chance to survive and thrive.

An invigorated Global Civil Society

As participants in the global civil society movement for peace education, the Global Campaign for Peace Education intends the video posted here to be viewed within the context of these ongoing efforts of global citizens to strengthen the organization’s capacity to end “the scourge of war” and “promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom” (Preamble to the Charter of the United Nations).   From the founding, civil society has sought to assure the representation of the interests of “the people of the United Nations” who proclaimed the charter. Identifying issues and problems as they became evident in the daily lives of their communities, people’s organizations framed problems in terms of the threats they posed to social progress and larger freedom. Through their educating and persuading of those who represented the member states, they influenced many crucial decisions of the UN’s committees and councils, paramount among them those related to women’s right to political participation and women’s stake in the politics of peace.

The Panelists’ Roles in Women’s Peace Activism

This video, a four-member panel (see bios below), is the first post in a week-long series on women, peace and security. The series is in observation of some of the strides over the UN’s 75 years towards the realization of “the equal rights of men and women and nations large and small,” (Preamble) an aim, especially embraced by women and what has been referred to as “the Global South,” as basic to a just peace. A major focus of this panel is on United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security as a mechanism for advancing human security. The panelists place special emphasis on various efforts of civil society to bring the resolution’s intentions regarding the achievement of peace through women’s political empowerment to full realization. These civil society efforts frequently have been thwarted by the very member states who adopted the resolution by acclamation on October 30, 2000. While many states have adopted National Plans of Action (NAPs) to implement the resolution, few are funded, and, for the most part, women’s full involvement in security matters is still limited, as around the world, girls and women continue to suffer daily from armed conflict and sexual violence.

At the time of the 15th anniversary of UNSCR 1325, in the face of state resistance, the continued political exclusion of women and the evidence of women’s continued suffering in armed conflict, two of the panel members (Hans and Reardon) proposed the drafting and implementing of Peoples’ Plans of Action intended to incorporate women’s lived experience of lack of human security in the design of proposals that they themselves could undertake toward their own and their communities’ security in the absence of action by the state. Three of the panelists (Akibayashi, Hans, and Reardon) have also been involved in the formulation of a feminist human security framework referenced in the discussion.  A fourth panelist, (Cabrera-Balleza) founded and directs the world’s most active and effective international civil society effort to empower women in all matters of peace and security, to assure the implementation of NAPs.

The Global Campaign for Peace Education hopes that this panel will open further consideration to ways in which individuals and civil society can contribute to the ultimate goal of sustainable peace, achieved and maintained with women’s full and equal participation.

The Video as a Teaching Tool

It is recommended that learners engaged in this study read the text of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325. If further consideration of the resolution would be of interest, we suggest the materials available from the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders.  Should more extensive study be undertaken it might also involve review of the various subsequent resolutions related to 1325.

Defining Human Security

Peace educators using the video as an inquiry into issues related to women, peace and security might facilitate a clarifying discussion by encouraging the learners to devise their own definitions of human security, designating its essential components, and indicating how those components would be affected by gender.

Empowering Women to Act for Peace and Security

Such a definition and review of gender factors might be used as the basis of a discussion on what citizens should expect of UN member states toward the enactment of 1325 and assuring women’s equal participation. Consideration of women’s participation should involve, not only conflict resolution, but also and especially, defining what comprises “national security,” inquiring into its relationship to human security, and how their governments might be educated and persuaded to take measures to more effectively assure human security. Such consideration must, as well, address including women in all national and international security policymaking. How might these imperatives of inclusion be achieved?

Drafting a model NAP

With this discussion as background, a model might be drafted for what the learning group would consider to be the required goals and essential components of an effective and relevant National Plan of Action (NAP) to fulfill the provisions of UNSCR 1325 in their own nation. The implementation proposals might include suggestions for the transfer of current weapons expenditures to the fulfillment of the provisions of the learners’ draft of a NAP. Include also suggestions for the government agencies to be charged with enacting the plans and the civil society organization that could facilitate the enactment.  More detailed study could involve review of the content and status of existing NAPs. (Global Network of Women Peacebuilders will be helpful in this regard.)

Speakers Bios

Betty A. Reardon, is the Founding Director Emeritus of the International Institute on Peace Education. She is recognized worldwide as a pioneer on issues of gender and peace and peace education.  She is the author of: “Sexism and the War System” and co-editor/author with Asha Hans of “the Gender Imperative.”

“Mavic” Cabrera Balleza is the founder and CEO of the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders.  Mavic initiated the Philippines National Action Plan process on the Security Council Resolution 1325 and also served as the international consultant to Nepal’s National Action Plan.  She has also provided technical support on 1325 national action planning in Guatemala, Japan and South Sudan.  She and her colleagues have pioneered the Localization of UNSCR 1325 and 1820 Program that is regarded as a best practice example and is now implemented in 15 countries.

Asha Hans, is a former Professor of Political Science and Gender Studies at Utkal University in India. She is also the co-founder of the Shanta Memorial Rehabilitation Center (SMRC), a leading voluntary organization in India working on issues of gender and disability at national and international levels.  She is the co-author and editor of two recent books, “Openings for Peace: UNSCR 1325, Women and Security in India” and “The Gender Imperative: Human Security vs State Security,” which she co-edited with Betty Reardon.

Kozue Akibayashi is a feminist peace researcher, educator and activist from Japan where she is a professor at the Graduate School of Global Studies at Doshisha University in Kyoto.  Her research focuses on issues of sexual violence by the military in overseas host communities, militarization and demilitarisation, and decolonization.  She was the International President of WILPF between 2015 and 2018, serves on the Steering Committee of Women Cross DMZ, and is the country coordinator for Japan in the International Women’s Network Against Militarism.

Tony Jenkins PhD is currently a full-time lecturer in the justice and peace studies at Georgetown University. Since 2001 he has served as the Managing Director of the International Institute on Peace Education (IIPE) and since 2007 as the Coordinator of the Global Campaign for Peace Education (GCPE). Professionally, he has been: Education Director, World BEYOND War (2016-2019); Director, Peace Education Initiative at The University of Toledo (2014-16); Vice President for Academic Affairs, National Peace Academy (2009-2014); and Co-Director, Peace Education Center, Teachers College Columbia University (2001-2010).

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