By Evie Andreou
An open discussion and workshop titled ‘Women for Peace: the way forward’ took place at Home for Cooperation yesterday .
The event which aimed at raising awareness on the lack of representation of women in the Cyprus peace process, and at discussing ways to get more women involved, was the last in a series of public events on the framework of ‘Where are the women? Capturing the Gender Dividend in Cyprus for Peace and beyond’.
Key note speakers at the discussion were Political Chief of the US Embassy in Nicosia Kristen Pisani, former Interior Minister and former Nicosia Mayor Eleni Mavrou and lawyer and Peace Activist Emine Çolak.
Pisani explained the American interest in the project and said that US President Barack Obama has called for a national action plan for women’s involvement in peace efforts at a global level. She also stressed that in order to achieve a viable solution in Cyprus, the negotiators would have to have the input of women.
Mavrou said that women’s participation in the peace process would help to change today’s realities and understanding of how the island’s two communities approach the conflict and the negotiations and become a source of inspiration for future generations of women.
Emine Çolak talked from a personal standpoint explaining the need for defying the current power struggle of the male dominated political life. She said that there are areas in which women may enter the forefront, can excel and have unique understanding in approaching the negotiations and the conflict.
At the event were also presented personal stories and success stories of women from other parts of the world and activists’ stories by Sophia Papastavrou and Magda Zenon and a recommendation report on the involvement of women in the Cyprus peace process presented by journalist Beran Djemal.
A two-hour workshop followed, facilitated by Yiannis Laouris head of Future Worlds Centre non-governmental organisation, on the topic of a gendered peace process.
The project “Where are the women? Capturing the Gender Dividend in Cyprus for Peace and beyond” is implemented by Cyprus Community Media Centre CCMC non governmental organisation and funded by the US State Department.
For information: www.wherearethewomency.org