International Development, Community, and Environment

Title

A Wealth of Expertise and Lived Experience

Document Type

Article

Abstract

The day before the United Nations (UN)-sponsored “Geneva II” peace talks on Syria that commenced in January 2014, women peace activists from around the globe met with Syrian women civil society activists in Geneva to discuss women's roles in peacemaking. This gathering was entitled the “Women Lead to Peace Summit.” Transnational feminist groups – the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), Code Pink, Madre, Kvinna till Kvinna and the Nobel Women's Initiative – designed this alternative summit to put pressure on all parties involved in the “Geneva II” talks to include women civil society representatives in the formal peace negotiations. Women activists, including Nobel Peace Laureates Shirin Ebadi (Iran) and Mairead Maguire (Northern Ireland), shared their lived experience of peace activism: brokering ceasefires, coordinating humanitarian support, shaping peace negotiations and leading reconciliation efforts. Based on our participation at this one-day event, we provide an account of women peace activists’ discussions in Geneva and the lessons they have learnt from each other. This piece also reflects upon feminist understandings of women's experiences in war, and implications for their participation in peace processes. We quote by name individuals who spoke in public forums but leave those with whom we had private conversations unnamed.

Publication Title

International Feminist Journal of Politics

Publication Date

4-3-2015

Volume

17

Issue

2

First Page

328

Last Page

338

ISSN

1461-6742

DOI

10.1080/14616742.2015.1014256

Keywords

civil society, reconciliation, feminism, feminists, Syria, Geneva

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