3 Countries Meet for Peace in Europe

At a sisterhood-meeting held on the 28th of May in Bratislava, members of WFWP Hungary and Slovakia expressed their desire to learn more about “WFWP being a (NGO) voice at UN”. This sparked the idea to hold a 3-countries conference in Vienna which coincides with Mrs. Carolyn Handschin's visit to Vienna to attend a WFWP Side-Event at the United Nations.

As the UN building cannot be visited on Saturdays, the group of 40 ladies and some men took a city tour. Due to the rain, the tour was sadly cut short. Fortunately, a delicious Asian lunch awaited them at the Vienna Peace Embassy, prepared by our friends (who own a Chinese restaurant in the city). Lunch was enjoyed together and gave the opportunity for long-time friends to meet (whom you don`t meet so often) and to get acquainted with new ones.

The afternoon conference started with Carolyn Handschin-Moser with the topic “Sustainable Peace through Education-SDG16”. Mrs. Handschin is Director of all WFWP UN Offices (these are: New York, Geneva, Vienna, Nairobi and also now starting in South America). Her presentation was entitled “WFWP -a Voice at UN”. Mrs Handschin educated us about the value of the grassroots NGO work, bringing substantial results, and that governments realize more and more that they alone cannot fulfil the 17 SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals, https://sdgs.un.org/goals ). Governments are seeking opportunities to cooperate with civil society initiatives. Mrs. Handschin's contribution and insights were highly appreciated by all participants.

Second to present was Ms. Palma Halasz from Hungary. Ms. Halasz has a degree in Education, Human Rights, `Change Management` and law and also has learned several methods of “Trauma-processing”. Ms. Halasz is the founder of “Live-Value”, an initiative that helps women and children for free. She is also a co-author of a book: “"Building partnerships against domestic violence". Ms. Halasz successfully campaigned for `A law to protect victims of violence in close relationships`, that was then discussed in parliament and passed through with a high majority of 336 voices in favour, 10 abstained and 0 against! It has been a big success appreciated by many and made her to one of the best-known women of her country!

The third speaker was Mrs. Katarina Mikitova, who works in a travel agency, but in her free time supports a program and platform “Creative Society” https://creativesociety.com/. This platform wants to reach out to people from all different countries and encourage to partake in a discussion of a fair living conditions for all, regardless of nationality or religion: A society worldwide “Where Human Life is the highest value”. Ms. Mikitova was presented with a “Global Women Peace Ambassador” award. She was deeply moved to receive this award and become a member of our International Women's Peace Network.

Lastly, a peace toast was made and joyfully shared. To close the event, the song “Let there be peace on earth” was sung with everyone holding hands, in a prayerful attitude!

The event was followed by a rich coffee break along with Austrian cakes and desserts. In smaller groups, it provided the possibility to discuss in depth with the speakers and share views and experiences.

Before departure, a warm pumpkin-soup was served. It was highly appreciated and to everyone’s surprise!

Our dear friends and 'neighbours' from Hungary and Slovakia left by car or train, and arrived safely home later in the evening.

It was an enriching and inspiring day. The event gave everyone the encouragement to continue to be active in our neighbourhoods and societies.

Last but not least: we would like to thank the Family Federation and WFWP members. This event would not be possible without their support.

Renate Amesbauer

Video: https://youtu.be/GcUJ7c5ouvU

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