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UN Women to Celebrate Peace with Jody Williams, Queen Noor

7 April 2009 No Comment

Anna Birgis Hannesson

Anna Birgis Hannesson

Iceland

I founded Women for Peace with Dr. Helene Yousfi from Algeria while I was serving as president of the United Nations Delegation Women’s Club, made up of about 140 ambassadors’ wives, Deputy Permanent  Representatives (DPRs), and various New Yorkers with UN connections. We believe that being at the United Nations as wives of ambassadors and DPRs, we can speak out for women all over the world. Mrs. Ban Soon-taek, wife of the Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, serves as patron of the organization. The executive directors of UNIFEM, UNICEF, and UNESCO are among our honorary members, as are the women ambassadors.

Our 2008 event, attended by 1700 people, raised money for four scholarships for young women who are already engaged in the peace process to attend the University for Peace in Costa Rica. (Those who are attending now are from Brazil, Tajikistan, Sri Lanka, and Uganda.) This is fitting because the university was also established by the UN. We were aiming for one scholarship for a deserving young woman from each continent. The evening was a great success, with artists and entertainers from everywhere, but we didn’t raise enough for all seven scholarships. Hopefully with this year’s gala benefit dinner on April 17, we will.

Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Jody Williams will be honored with our 2009 Women for Peace Recognition Award, and Mr. Ban Ki-moon will present our 2009 UN Women for Peace Award to Her Majesty Queen Noor of Jordan.

More women need the chance to be leaders, to enjoy an excellent education, to feel free to speak out. We need to get more women involved in peacekeeping fields. Especially in places like the Congo, it’s very important to get more women into the police force.

Women everywhere can make a big difference just by talking to their sons. We need to teach them that abuse is cowardly. We can’t just say, “Woman, watch out.” We have to teach our sons well so women and men, girls and boys can walk together towards peace. All women’s groups must unite to get this message out. We won’t accomplish anything unless it’s with the men. I’m especially hopeful about the young men.We need to bring up young people more aware of what they can do towards peace. We have to be able to rely on the governments we choose and trust that they will try to prevent war and conflict rather than just cleaning up afterwards.

For information about the April event, contact me by email: ab@birgis.com.

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