Brief report EU Conference 2018

The whole conference can be considered a great success. Many influential and politically active Albanian women spoke at the event in parliament on the 16th, the mayor of Tirana was present at the proceedings on Saturday, and delivered a welcoming speech.

It was very clear from the start that our European conference was a great attraction in Albania!

The conference topics were very varied and included:

- womens’ active cooperation in decision making, development and lasting peace.

- cooperation between government and civil society towards peace and development.

- the dignity of woman and healthy families: prevention of violence.

- women’s empowerment and impact.

On the overall topic ‘women’s empowerment and impact’, nine working groups on were offered under the heading:

‘mini-workshops for capacity building and training’

All the workshops addressed topics of great current interest, making the decision about which one to attend extremely difficult!

Should I attend:

‘how to give a speech’ with Marilyn Angelucci (WFWP Afghanistan).

or ‘empowering women by dialogue, friendship and social action’ with Partricia Earle (WFWP England).

or perhaps ‘time to overcome cultural differences for global peace’ Kholoud Kassem (Lebanon).

or ‘a new subject in school: happiness’ offered by the young teacher Zita Kiedler sounded fascinating, as did ‘moral education: how can we move, guide and protect the heart?’ with Olga Vakulinskaya from Russia of ‘Angels of Peace’ fame?

Finally, perhaps also in the hope of a German speaking session, I decided on ‘how can we influence society to value place more value on the family ?’ offered by the Austrian family therapist, crisis adviser and trauma expert, Heidi Mayr, which proved to be a very lively group.

In the following plenary session each group presented a resume of their discussion.

This challenging day was followed by the opportunity for sightseeing, shopping or a dip in the pool, before the program continued in the evening.

First on the agenda was a celebratory water ceremony and prayer for peace. Then came a colorful Albanian dance group. After a short energetic opening dance, they drew all the ladies into a circle.

The steps were easy to learn; high heels were kicked aside and even the more mature ladies danced bravely to the end, even if with slightly less vigor than the many young ladies in the group!

We were all very pleased to see Mr Gani Roshi (president of Family Federation, Albania) and his wife dancing with great professionalism. He had quite spontaneously taken over as mc for the family evening.

Thus at the end the Albanian dance group was joined by Russians, Ukranians, Lebanese, French, English, Germans and members of other nationalities and the atmosphere was very joyful!

On the next day, Sunday, there was an ‘educational session’ –‘capacity building for peace leadership: living in peace as global citizens’, a presentation by the ‘WFWP young women’s curriculum’ and a talk by Carolyn Handshin (Director, WFWP UN-Office) who had already impressed us with her talk in the parliament.

In closing, all the regions (Middle East, Central, North, South-West and Eurasia) introduced themselves using power-point presentations to demonstrate the various highlights and activities of 2018 and to present their goals and vision.

All too soon, the conference came to an end, and email addresses and callingcards were exchanged as arrangements were made to continue the cooperation and develop new plans.

The conference had given much opportunity for networking and discussions, and the ‘Hotel Tirana International’, provided a comfortable atmosphere and excellent food.

Thanks go to WFWP Albania and especially their president, Mrs Kasia Minollari, and also to the preparation team.

This short and intense visit to Albania left a very positive impression on me. And the cooperation with many, often 120 active women from about 20 countries showed me again how important it is that we inspire each other, and to actively seek out new contacts and new ideas to foster peace, thus following the lead of the founder, Mrs Hak Ja Han Moon and other brave women who pioneer the way forward in a time when many are seeking sparks of hope!

Magda Haugen, WFWP Germany. (English translation: Catriona Valenta)

Photos: Natascha


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