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Listen to the Women: 193 UN Ambassadors Get “60 Years 60 Voices”

10 April 2012 No Comment

Patricia with UN General Assembly President Al-Nasser

- by Patricia Smith
Peace X Peace Founder

“…Peace requires accuracy, setting aside assumptions to become better informed, giving up stereotypes for truth.  That is the intent of Sixty Years, Sixty Voices: Israeli and Palestinian Women.

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On International Women’s Day, March 8, His Excellency Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, President of the UN General Assembly in its 66th session, shared copies of the Peace X Peace book Sixty Years, Sixty Voices: Israeli and Palestinian Women with each of the 193 Ambassadors of the member nations of the United Nations.  He included a personal letter stating the book “brings together the hopes and aspirations of the Palestinian and Israeli women for peace, harmony and understanding.”

During his term President Al-Nasser is focused on “mediation for peace.”  He recognized that Sixty Voices embodies the core principles of mediation by bringing together the collective knowledge, life experiences, and solutions to conflict of citizens on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — specifically, of 30 diverse Palestinian women and 30 diverse Israeli women.  The women reveal — through interviews, photographs, and biographies — the reality of their intertwined lives and their work for healing and co-existence.  Recognizing what exists and charting beneficial futures together are core tenets of mediation.

As the editor, photographer, and primary interviewer for Sixty Voices, I am touched by President Al-Nasser’s recognition of the book’s intent and his integrity in sharing it with the UN Ambassadors.  We met recently in his office, where I was struck by his determination to advance the cause of peace and his gracious and courteous manner.  He has served since 1998 as the UN Ambassador from Qatar, leading key committees and coalitions, including the Group of 77 of developing nations.

President Al-Nasser and I discussed the global rising of women and the importance of women’s having places at the table in all peace negotiation and implementation.  With us was Ambassador Anwarul Chowdhury, Senior Special Advisor to the President, whose initiative in March 2000 as the President of the Security Council achieved the political and conceptual breakthrough that led to the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 1325, on Women, Peace, and Security.

Recent UN Resolutions provide protocols to enforce SCR 1325 and its call to include women in critical decision-making, mediation, and implementation.  Many nations are writing and implementing National Action Plans for #1325, including the United States.  Peace X Peace CEO Kim Weichel served as an advisor in the development of the U.S. plan, which was released in late 2011, and is now working with other NGO heads to guide implementation.

Mediation and conflict resolution require knowledge of the “other,” their lives, wounds, and aspirations.  Peace, then, requires acting with best intentions upon that gathered knowledge.  That is, peace requires accuracy, setting aside assumptions to become better informed, giving up stereotypes for truth.  That is the intent of Sixty Years, Sixty Voices: Israeli and Palestinian women.  We thank President Al-Nassir for his recognition and support.

Editor’s Note

In addition to the distribution of Sixty Voices by H.E. Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser to the Ambassadors of the United Nations, in late 2011 every U.S. Congressperson’s office received a copy through the sponsorships of Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) and Representative John Garamendi (D-CA).

Go to www.60Voices.org to read the interviews with 30 Israeli and 30 Palestinian women from diverse cultural groups on both sides of the Wall.  See their photos, and read their bios.  Sixty Years is a Peace X Peace publication in English, Arabic, and Hebrew.  It is available on our website or on Amazon.  If you are an educator, conference leader, or NGO representative, your first book is only $15 and every book after that up to 100 is only $7! Contact us at abby(a)peacexpeace.org to order the book and get your discount.

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