“We have been empowered by the opportunities of independence, education, and technology, and now, more than ever in this globalized world, we are in a position to make a positive difference in the lives of many,” Dr. Nona Ricafort told Filipina and international women leaders at the Global Peace Leadership Conference in Clark, Pampanga, Philippines on December 2.
The Committee Chair of the Women’s Empowerment Track of the conference and a key organizer of the concurrent three-day Global Peace Festival 2022, Dr. Ricafort is a distinguished educator and women’s advocate who has long promoted empowerment of women in the Philippines and Southeast Asian region.
More than twelve Filipina women’s organizations joined conference organizers Global Peace Foundation, Global Peace Women (GPW), International and others to host the Women’s track, “Empowering Service-minded Women: Building a World of Freedom, Harmony, and Peace.”
The session credited the progress made by women, recognized the unique contribution and role of women in promoting peace and social development, connected peacebuilding in the home to peacebuilding in the world, and defined the work ahead to advance a more peaceful and equitable world.
“I have met a lot of powerful women in the world and they are not going to be part of a war, because a service minded woman will always find a solution for peace,” said Ambassador Rosario Manalo, Special Representative of the Philippines to the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights, and expert on the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women from 1992 to 2002. She noted the importance of human rights as an essential foundation for peace and development.
In her keynote address, Global Peace Women Chairwoman Dr. Junsook Moon called on women to engage in peace on all levels, from the home to the world. “Mothers, sisters, daughters, and wives, our part in peace is irreplaceable. As service-minded women, we can animate the vision of One Family under God through the experiences in our families and reach across the world. Just as we experience our interconnectedness and recognize and protect the innate value, rights, and freedoms of every member of our family, we can do the same for all people.”
Local and international leaders added to the dialogue, examining the unique contributions of women in the areas of peacebuilding, national security, education, economic and social development, environmental conservation and more. “Women like all of us present here today are the harbingers of change,” said Dr. Cecilia Dy, Commissioner of the Philippine Commission on Women and President of the National Council of Women of the Philippines. Mrs. Rachel Murray, member of GPW’s International Advisory Council, encouraged women to be proud of who they are and become “gladiators of peace.”
“As service-minded women, we can animate the vision of One Family under God through the experiences in our families and reach across the world.”
The opening session was followed by a GPW Women’s Assembly that highlighted GPW’s work in the field and connected Filipina women leaders with international leaders in a colorful sisterhood ceremony.
Aishwarya Chaturvedi, Project Leader of Global Peace Women from India and Madam Bai Norhata Alonto, Philippines Security and Exchange Commissioner, spoke on the relevance and impact of Global Peace Women’s approach to peacebuilding.
Aishwarya has worked with Global Peace Women and her NGO in India, NIRMAN, to teach girls and their families that “all human beings have intrinsic value and as they say, if you educate a man, you educate one person, if you educate a woman, you educate a nation.” Madam Bai spoke of the life-long vision for peace that she and her husband have invested in, one that GPW has articulated, a peace that begins in the heart and in family.
The unanimously affirmed Women’s Declaration laid out an action plan for women and peace through strengthening families, empowering service-minded women, and pursuing the SDGs through the pursuit of a shared vision of peace.
The Global Peace Leadership Conference was hosted as part of a three-day Global Peace Festival, which concluded on December 3.