WFWPI Participates in Annual UN Session on Women’s Issues
The Women’s Federation for World Peace International (WFWPI) welcomed 80 participants, including 31 young professionals, from 17 countries to New York City from March 10-17, 2019 for the 63rd Session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW63). WFWPI was pleased that Professor Yeon Ah Moon, recent former President of WFWP, International was able to meet with WFWP leaders while she was in New York.
More than 300 side events and 400 parallel events addressed the priority theme for CSW63, “Social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls,” as well as the review theme, “Women’s empowerment and the link to sustainable development (agreed conclusions of the sixtieth session).” Side events are hosted by governments, and parallel events are hosted by NGOs.In addition to attending side events and parallel events, participants had an opportunity to attend major annual events organized by UN Women and NGO CSW/NY, including Consultation Day, the Opening Session, and the annual Reception.
On Sunday, March 10, several WFWPI leaders and guests attended Consultation Day, which was hosted by NGO CSW/NY and held at the Tribeca-Performing Arts Center. One of the highlights of the event was a conversation between Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women and H.E. Ambassador Geraldine Byrne Nason, Permanent Representative of Ireland to the UN and Bureau Chair of the Commission on the Status of Women. They exchanged thoughts on the challenges and goals related to the priority theme.
On the morning of Monday, March 11, Ms. Shova Gyawali, Director of Nepal Republic Media, attended the Opening Session of CSW63 representing WFWPI. In the afternoon, Honorable Christian Bolos, Provincial Legislator from Bohol Province, Philippines, attended a Ministerial Roundtable representing WFWPI.
The annual Reception hosted by NGO CSW/NY was held in the Grand Ballroom of the New Yorker Hotel on the evening of Tuesday, March 12. This elegant evening of networking, entertainment, and inspirational remarks was attended by 600 women and men, including 25 WFWPI leaders and guests.
In addition to these public events, WFWPI hosted an orientation, a parallel event, an evening for young professionals, the Horizon Summit, and two tours.
The WFWPI orientation was held on Sunday, March 10 at the New Yorker Hotel. Ms. Alexa Ward, International Vice President of WFWPI and Director of the WFWPI Office for UN Relations in New York gave the opening remarks, inviting everyone to use this time at CSW to deepen old friendships and make new ones as well. She encouraged the participants to connect to other men and women for the purpose of building a network of long-term relationships based on trust. Christina Lange, Administrator for WFWPI Office for the UN Relations in New York, prepared the participants for CSW and the week’s upcoming events and activities. Guests were provided with a lovely WFWPI bag and helpful materials to equip them with information they would need throughout the week.
WFWPI’s Parallel Event – “The Family and Social Protection”
WFWPI was pleased to host a parallel event on the topic of “The Family and Social Protection” on Wednesday, March 13 at 4 West 43rd Street in midtown Manhattan. It was attended by 135 guests.
This program addressed current issues and challenges related to social protection and the family through four noteworthy speakers: Ms. Renata Kaczmarska, United Nations Focal Point on the Family; Alex Vasquez, Representative of the International Federation for Family Development to the United Nations; Ms. Shova Gyawali, Director of Nepal Republic Media; and Ms. Jeanne Carroll, UN Representative of the Women’s Federation for World Peace, International. Ms. Nicole La Hogue, Vice President of WFWP, Germany moderated the event, and each presenter offered key insights into the theme.
Evening for Young Professionals
On Thursday, March 14, WFWPI hosted a casual evening of delicious food, games, and networking for young professionals that were participating in CSW63, as well as friends and colleagues of WFWPI. WFWPI guests look forward to this time set aside each year for the young professionals to gather and enjoy one another’s company.
The Horizon Summit is an intergenerational gathering dedicated to fostering peace leadership that was initiated four years ago as an annual component of WFWPI’s broader CSW week. The 2019 Horizon Summit, co-sponsored by WFWP, International and WFWP, USA, was held on Saturday, March 16 at 4 West 43rd Street with the theme, “Advancing The Culture of Peace.” Ms. Alexa Ward gave the opening remarks. The keynote address was given by Ambassador Anwarul K. Chowdhury, Former Under-Secretary-General and High Representative of the United Nations & Founder of The Global Movement for The Culture of Peace (GMCoP). 2019 is the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Declaration and Programme of Action on Culture of Peace, and WFWPI was deeply grateful and honored to play a significant role in commemorating this anniversary.
The keynote address was followed by an awards ceremony in recognition of a select group of individuals for their contribution to advancing The Culture of Peace. The awardees included Ms. Mamie Thompson, an international diversity and education consultant; Ms. Jean Kelly, the Executive Director of the Interfaith Nutrition Network (INN); and Ms. Meera Khanna, a poet, writer, and social activist who serves as the Executive Vice President of the Guild of Service in India. Two remarkable young women received honorable mentions: Ms. Sara Mwamlima for her work with the nonprofit she founded called Backpacks for Africa and Ms. Fumika Hasegawa for her work with a menstrual hygiene project. The work and remarks of the awards recipients deeply touched all in attendance and served as inspiration for each participant to consider how they may contribute to The Culture of Peace.
The afternoon portion consisted of three rounds of speakers and discussions. The speakers included: Ms. Nada Elattar, Early Childhood Development Specialist at UNICEF Headquarters in New York; Ms. Kim Foulds, Senior Director of International Research & Evaluation at Sesame Workshop; and Ms. Carolyn Handschin, International Vice President of WFWPI representing
Europe, as well as Director of the WFWPI Offices for UN Relations. Each speaker was followed by an interactive discussion facilitated by table, which encouraged participants to share their own insights on the topics and reflect on themselves as peacemakers.
Late in the afternoon, guests were encouraged to reflect on their own contributions to advancing The Culture of Peace by engaging with interactive rooms where they could share their personal stories, declare their action steps, and express through words and illustrations what The Culture of Peace means to them.
The program concluded with a dinner banquet in an atmosphere set by soft lights, candles, and floral arrangements. Musical performances by Ms. Sarah Eide and Mr. Abe Deshotel rounded out the evening with artistic depth and meaning. Ms. Angelika Selle, President of WFWP, USA and Vice President for North America, closed the day with a call to action. She emphasized that peace begins with personal transformation and encouraged the participants to collaborate with each other as peacemakers, find common ground even when it is difficult, and to never give up.
Each year, WFWPI organizes tours for the international guests at the end of their CSW experience. This year, tours included visits to East Garden, the American residence of WFWP’s founder in Irvington, NY, as well as to the FDR Presidential Library and Val-Kill Historic Site in Hyde Park, NY, to learn about the Roosevelt’s contribution to the founding of the UN.
The WFWPI Office for UN Relations in New York is grateful for the vision, encouragement, and love of the founders of WFWPI and looks forward to bringing WFWPI to the next level with Ms. Julia H. Moon, the new President of WFWP, International.