Conference summary: The second conference in the series of 'No Peace Without Women' was held on 13th June 2023, at the Parliament in Pristina, Kosovo. Sponsors and partners were the Kosovo Office of the Prime Minister, and the EUME branches of WFWP, WFWPI UN Office, UPF, and the International
Association of First Ladies for Peace (IAFLP).
The conference opened with an address from the Prime Minister of Kosovo, HE Albin Kurti, who had excused himself from an urgent meeting on the situation in the north of Kosovo to do so. HE Liza Gashi, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and HE Emilia Redžepi, Deputy Prime Minister were also speakers and critical elements in the preparations, and in extending invitations to Members of Parliament. The event was attended by 120 leaders, 12 of whom were Ambassadors from different nations of Europe and the Balkans, with over 20 media outlets covering the event.
The conference was a great success, and a model of peace and reconciliation process, through women, that aims to be propagated further. A safe space was created in a tense region where women could speak honestly of their scars- and conclude that working together for peace and mutual development was the only solution. As the series theme alludes, women must and can take a leading role in defining a new mindset, on solving differences through dialogue, reconciliation, and shared development plans, rather through violence, enmity and hate.
Besides those attending from the region, Fir
st Ladies, former presidents, government ministers, members of parliament, business and financial leaders, and youth, there were messages of concern and support coming from the Head of the UN Economic Commission for Europe in Geneva, Olga Algayerova, and Nobel Laureate, Ellen Sirleaf Johnson. Sally Becker, a humanitarian aid worker credited with saving hundreds of children’s lives during the Kosovo war, returning for the first time, was one of the speakers. She captivated the audience with her testimony, including being imprisoned and shot. Her unwavering commitment to forgiveness and peace resonated with everyone, many of whom had experienced the trauma of war in their immediate surroundings.
The founder of WFWP and UPF, Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, is presently calling for a greater focus on peace education for mothers. It is mothers who naturally shape the values and beliefs of their children, therein lies the hope of instilling a culture of peace that starts in the home, and promotes the shared leadership between women and men. This is especially important in countries like
Kosovo, where traditional family values are deeply ingrained.
The 'No Peace without Women' conference has received strong support from political leaders, providing evidence of the growing recognition of the need to involve women in peace processes, and helping to amplify the voices of women regarding the importance of a wholistic approach to establish more inclusive and sustainable peace agreements. Participants returning to their nations throughout the Balkans were already anticipating a next “No Peace without Women” event and campaign in their region.
Carolyn Handschin, Director, Office for UN Relations, WFWPI
Mitty Tohma, President WFWP Europe