November 7-9, 2013
Theme: “Moral and Innovative Leadership: Building Sustainable Peace for a Prosperous Future”
Ina kwana. Eh ka ro. Otu tu oma no
Good morning and welcome to the Global Peace Leadership Conference.
I feel very blessed to be with all of you, and I hope your time here has been as enriching for you as it has been for me. I thank the people of Abuja, Nigeria for hosting this conference and for your warm hospitality.
Before I begin I would like to extend my gratitude to two people. Madame Hajiya Amina Namadi Sambo. Thank you for acting as the Grand Matron of the Global Peace Leadership Conference. As the wife of the Vice President, you are in a unique position to implement the desire of the people of Nigeria for a peaceful world.
And thank you to the First Lady, Dame Dr. Patience Goodluck Jonathan, who leads the African First Ladies Peace Mission. These great women of Nigeria truly exemplify the important role women play in building a world of peace.
It is quite appropriate for Nigeria to be the host nation for this conference, “Moral and Innovative Leadership: Building Sustainable Peace for a Prosperous Future.” Nigeria is a microcosm of our world today. It holds people of many faiths, many languages, and many ethnicities. As Nigeria forges a way to establish lasting peace in this nation, your efforts will impact the African continent and our world today. The Global Peace Women calls upon women to be an active part of these efforts and bring our strengths to the table as we build a better tomorrow.
It is natural, I believe, for women to take a lead in bringing peace. Spiritually, women embody the creative nature of our divine origin. Women’s hearts reflect the compassionate and caring nature of God. We are nurturers, educators, comforters and healers. We are naturally aware of the needs of others, and are eager to lend our support and service to those around us.
Women have a unique position. We connect the generations. We connect the ideals of our respective faiths and apply them in practical ways in our societies. And we communicate what we know, multiplying it to many other people.
Just as everything in nature exists in mutually-supportive pairs, we can see that men and women are inextricably connected for the survival, development, and advancement of humanity. Each gender contributes to the other, and provides protection and growth for the next generation.
The family is the place where every aspect of human potential comes into full realization. In the family, children are able to grow up safely, protected and cared for by parents, influenced by the strong and challenging love of the father as well as by the deep and caretaking love of the mother.
The child also learns sharing and caring for their siblings. They receive their grandparent’s wisdom, and they connect to a wider network of loving relatives. Through such relationships, the child can understand that all people are connected as a global, human family. In this way, the family is the natural place for a growing child to realize that each person is important, and that we are all connected. This awareness is the basis for all interactions of a society. This is why we can say that the family is the root of a healthy community or nation.
Not only does the family prepare each individual for constructive participation in the larger world, but the family continues to be the place to which we refer for our emotional, physical and spiritual sustenance. Also, family is where we find our meaning, our inspiration, and our most satisfying relationships. Within the family, we experience the value of serving. We observe that love is not merely felt or spoken, but it is conveyed through the actions the family members perform for each other each day.
Children absorb the lesson that “The way to love is to serve.” This helps them become caring and effective people throughout their entire life. Global Peace Women extends these lessons to the issues of our world. With interfaith cooperation, family strengthening and service to others, we engage women in changing the world around them.
One project, begun in Uganda, the Cookstove Project, trains women to build fuel-efficient cookstoves out of materials that exist in their direct environment. As many of you are already aware, the indoor air pollution caused by open cookfires is the third largest cause of death in Sub-Saharan Africa, and the leading cause of death to children under the age of five.
Clean cookstoves concentrate heat directly to the cooking surface, while venting the dangerous gases and smoke particles to the home’s exterior. Because combustion is more complete, women reduce the time spent searching for fuel, freeing them for more productive activities, and protecting them from violent attacks. Clean cookstoves prevent the loss of brush and trees that leads to desertification.
This project empowers women and provides an immediate and lasting transformation of the entire family’s life, at a very low cost.
We have partnered with OmniMed, another NGO with more than 1,000 staff on the ground, to provide this training. In Kenya, GPW has partnered with other organizations to educate communities on microlending and have engaged in innovative ways of turning garbage into fuel.
In Nepal, Global Peace Women’s River of Peace Project improved the disposal of refuse, and took responsibility to clean and beautify the endangered Bagmati River. By using natural biological ways to digest a family’s waste products, they improved crops and protected the water supply. In Uruguay, GPW has engaged women in issues relating to questions of family life, including the effect of family separation on children, dealing with sickness and death within the family and applying faith values in marital counseling.
In the Philippines, Global Peace Women have been instrumental in promoting solar energy projects, such as the All Lights Village, as well as fish farming, healthy agriculture and youth empowerment. In Indonesia, Global Peace Woman Tri Mumpuni pioneered mini-hydroelectric power generation in the remote villages of the nation, helping them become 100 percent independent in electricity production.
Today I am excited to announce that we are launching a new chapter during this conference, the “Global Peace Women Nigeria.” We welcome the powerful and beautiful women and girls of Nigeria, and I am confident you will be a significant part of our global network of peacemakers.
Nigeria will join our global efforts to tackle the issues facing women, children, and the family unit. We will champion women’s rights and nurture women’s leadership, uplifting the innate God-given value and qualities women carry.
I am sure you will agree that women have increasingly important roles to play today in our communities and nations. In fact, many call today the “age of women.”
Even the UN recently issued the United Nations Resolution 2122, underlining the importance of women taking a public role in the area of building peace.
However, for women to fully realize this potential, and for humankind to truly become “One Family under God,” the innate, God-given dignity and value of women must be recognized, respected, and fully harnessed.
I truly believe that when we stand together, as sisters of diverse faiths and nations, sharing the same heart of love and service, we can embrace the world, and truly create “One Family Under God.”
As I close, I want to remind everyone that women constitute just over half the world’s population, and therefore the dream of peace cannot be achieved without the involvement of women. Just as in the family, the husband and wife work together to establish stability and development in their family, passing on God’s values to their children; for our global, human family, men and women must work hand-in-hand to establish peace, security, and economic stability today while instilling a moral compass and innovative leadership in our next generation.
Please open your heart to the inspiration of heaven and how God is calling upon each and every one of us to advance the cause of peace with our unique strengths, interests, and ongoing area of work.
I was honored to be here today.
You are truly great people who love peace and love God so deeply. I hope to work closely together with all of you in the coming years.
Na go de
God Bless each of you, your families, and your endeavors for peace.
Thank you very much.