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Peace X Peace @ 10: Programs – Part 1

7 May 2013 No Comment

Women share. We celebrate. We connect, and we lead. Our perspectives are long-term, spanning the generations. We care about identifying root causes and systemic, sustainable solutions. We create change.

In our 10th anniversary year, with just four staff members and a no-frills budget, the women of Peace X Peace (Peace by Peace) managed seven major initiatives and expanded our reach by 150%. Here’s part 1 of a two-part summary, program X program. Read part 2 here.

Ferdaouis Bagga, CP Dialogues Volunteer Facilitator

Connection Point

Our Connection Point (CP) Initiative, launched in 2011, links Arab, Muslim, and Western women worldwide to build positive relationships and reduce stereotypes across cultural and religious divides. CP blog posts are the most read and most often shared items on our website and in our Weekly Blog Digest.

In January 2012, CEO Kimberly Weichel and Board President Gail Montplaisir visited several Gulf countries, including the UAE and Qatar, to forge face to face connections. In March they were invited to take part in the Women as Global Leaders conference in Abu Dhabi. In the fall, 28 women in 17 countries, from Saudi Arabia to Poland, engaged in 7 weeks of professionally facilitated web-based Connection Point Dialogues on a range of issues that impact the role of women in society and peacebuilding. The waiting list to take part and the enthusiastic participant evaluations both far exceeded our expectations, so we carried the program forward to spring and fall sessions in 2013.

The Peace Through Mentorship program is designed to foster a network of professional relationships between young women seeking to build peace and advance through their chosen professions and older women who seek to share their wisdom and experience.

Peace through Mentorship

The Peace through Mentorship Program saw significant growth in 2012. Our spring session matched 31 pairs (62 women) from 22 countries. Sixty pairs (120 women) finished our fall program, and they represented over 30 countries, from Afghanistan to Zambia. They shared wisdom, experience, and connections in peacebuilding professions including mediation, peace media, peace and the arts, entrepreneurship, and peace education. The strongest outcome of the program, according to participants, was the opportunity to create cross-cultural kinship.

Wint Thiri Aung, from Burma, was matched with mentor Abida Mahmood from Pakistan. She told us:

“The mentorship overall has been a truly enriching experience. But if I have to choose the most valuable parts, it will be the communication, relationship, friendship. I will always remember my mentor as an inspiring strong woman who is not afraid to lead and stand up for peace. I have gained a dear friend and a source of inspiration from this process.”

Long-term, this mentoring program will measurably increase the number of women worldwide who have gained skills and confidence to make a difference in their work and communities in the direction of peace.

In 2012, our Peace Philanthropy Award went to Somy Ali, founder of the nonprofit No More Tears, which assists survivors of domestic violence.

Women, Power, and Peace Awards

Each year we recognize extraordinary work that advances peace and the status of women. In 2012 we received more than twice the number of nominations we had in the previous year. On September 21, the International Day of Peace, we honored five phenomenal women and one extraordinary organization, selected from an impressive field of candidates.

  • Rula Salameh hosts a radio show that strengthens the Palestinian community from within, while the videos she has co-produced bring its stories out to the world.
  • Somy Ali (pictured) puts her life savings, her heart, and her 24-7 efforts into giving survivors of domestic violence a new chance at life.
  • Sara Potler uses dance to increase the peace―and she can demonstrate that it works.
  • Leena Maija-Talikka connects Finnish and Moroccan women for mutual understanding and practical education.
  • Aditi Bhaduri’s journalism shines a light on women and men who build peace and justice in regions wracked by conflict.
  • The Abraham Fund Initiatives advance equality and peaceful coexistence for Israel’s Jewish and Arab citizens.

Each of the individual awardees received a custom-made silver Peace X Peace brooch, designed and made by Rubini Jewelers of Old Town Alexandria, VA. Interviews with the winners were featured on our website and in our Weekly Blog Digest.

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Read Peace X Peace @ 10: Programs – Part 2

Read Peace X Peace @ 10: The Road Ahead

Follow Peace X Peace on Twitter (@PeaceXPeace)

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