Intelligent, empathic and less hot-headed, women make fantastic peacekeepers. If only there was a way to unite the largely unrecognised female mediators worldwide…
Women’s leadership and interpersonal skills remain unfortunately overlooked in many parts of the world. Though some countries have finally seen fit to appoint female ambassadors, heads of state, foreign policy advisors and CEOs, the importance of a woman’s contribution in these areas is still greatly undervalued globally.
In the spirit of International Women’s Day on March 8 this year, Woman This Month has put together a selection of articles looking at important charities, initiatives and drives to promote egalitarianism worldwide.
Peace X Peace, pronounced “peace by peace”, is a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) that aims to strengthen and promote women’s voices globally. It encourages gender equality and is designed to create a network of connections between female voices over country and continent borders.
This January, Kim Weichel and Gail Montplaisir, representatives from Peace X Peace, travelled to Abu Dhabi and Bahrain to ignite interest in the NGO and to promote one of their latest initiatives — Connection Point — an offshoot of the Peace X Peace concept, specifically created to link Arab, Muslim and Western women, building bridges of understanding without the mediation of mainstream media.
“Women make such excellent peacebuilders”, says Kim, CEO of Peace X Peace, “so we want to encourage and support them. We provide a platform for women to share their work and their cultures via our website and network. As well as this, we send our weekly ePublications out to around 20,000 women.”
“The idea of Connection Point”, she goes on, “is to reduce the many misunderstandings and stereotypes that exist, certainly in the US, but also elsewhere”. The idea, it seems, is that by uniting women in unmediated communication, it will work to break down many of the prejudice-led zeitgeists that have spread from country to country after such events as 9/11. Women are largely empathic creatures; so being given the ability to share each other’s experiences and to elicit explanations for cultural practices will encourage stronger and more understanding cross-cultural relationships.
As we all know, the key to a woman’s success, more often than not, starts with her education. The more she is encouraged to think, read, grow, analyse and communicate, the better her peacebuilding and mediating skills are likely to be. Peace X Peace also has a mentorship programme, empowering young women by connecting them with professionals in their field. On top of this, they strongly support the idea of positive reinforcement — the more women that are celebrated for their achievements, the more that will be encouraged to follow suit. In this vein, they hold an annual awards programme to honour extraordinary women on the frontlines of peacebuilding.
The best way to figure out the true meaning of the Peace X Peace contribution to the modern world is to get involved yourself and there are a number of ways to do so.
Join the Debate
The Debategraph is a part of the website which maps currently trending debate topics — such as the recent actions of female activists or the issues that surround non-violent resistance. Log in to Peace X Peace and lend your own thoughts to the debategraph. Look for similar debate topics or even suggest your own.
Become a mentor
The idea behind the Peace X Peace mentorship programme is simpler than you might assume and less time consuming as well. It is based on the principle that shared knowledge is empowering. The mentorship programme connects more experienced women with younger women wishing to enter the same professional field or the same level of activism. It works on the basis of one 30 minute communication slot every two weeks for a period of several months. This communication allows for shared knowledge, the suggestion of useful contacts, as well as simple words of encouragement and positive reinforcement.
Peace X Peace takes responsibility for matching the right mentor with an appropriate mentee, to provide for the most useful connections.
Connection Point is about forum-based communication between the Arab and Muslim world and countries in the West. Write articles, comment on articles and subscribe to the weekly ePub updates. However you choose to go about it, taking part will make a difference.
The Peace X Peace directors are fair to point out that: “Peace is priceless, but it isn’t free.” These sorts of initiatives, no matter how altruistic or benevolent, are difficult to carry out effectively without any financial backing. Every little helps to ensure that women are able to communicate globally in an effort to bring about a safer and more understanding future. If you wish to make a contribution, regardless of what size, please do visit the website and click on the “donate” tab.
For more information, visit www.peacexpeace.org