Dialogue between Academics, Activists and UN Officials

Friday, April 12, 2002
PeaceWomen Consolidated Themes: 
General Women, Peace and Security

Summary of Event

Security Council Resolution 1325 has sparked many conversations, meetings and publications. The UN Office of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom organized a day of conversation that was held at UN HQ on April 11, 2002, bringing together academics, activists and UN officials focused on the interpretation and implementation of this resolution. A celebratory mood was already in the air on that Thursday morning as the official depositing of the 60th ratification of the International Criminal Court occurred. Conference Room 4 of the United Nations was filled, on April 11th, with students from Columbia, Fordham, New York University, New School University, Queens College, CUNY, Hunter College, Baruch College, Rutgers University, Jay John College and Brookyln College. Participants of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Prepcom and individuals from various UN departments such as DPKO, DAW, and DPA were present. The morning session on Women, Peace and Security highlighted the importance of gender becoming not just an occasional issue, but a routine component of all processes and institutions of the UN, academia and activist efforts. The panelists all brought to the table a different way to pursue this. Participants in this discussion included Ann Tickner, from Center for International Studies at the University of Southern California; Jane Connors of the UN's Division for the Advancement of Women; Cynthia Enloe, feminist scholar. The afternoon session devoted to disarmament and focused on the strengths women can bring to disarmament issues. Discussants included Betty Reardon, peace activist and scholar; Rebecca Johnson, Acronym Institute; Carol Cohn, from Wellesley College. Later in the day, a panel was devoted to discussion of the International Criminal Court, the treaty of which had entered into force on this day, and feminist approaches to international justice. Participants included, Rhonda Copelon, Professor and Director of the International Women's Human Rights Law Clinic at the City University of New York School of Law; Maria Solis, lawyer and journalist from Guatemala; and Pam Spees, Program Director of the Women's Caucus for Gender Justice. The dialogue and exchange between the panelists and the audience, many of whom proved to have significant expertise and insights, was a key part of the day. The audience played an extremely important role by bringing to the discussion of gender, issues of power distribution, race, and North versus South.

Biographies of Speakers

CYNTHIA ENLOE is Professor of Government and Director of Women's Studies at Clark University. Her newest book is Maneuvers: The International Politics of Militarizing Women's Lives. Her research and teaching have delved into the international political economy's, war-waging's and state elites' efforts to control women and the ideas of femininity and masculinity. Out of these efforts have also come, among other publications, Bananas, Beaches, and Bases and The Morning After: Sexual Politics at the End of the Cold War.

J. ANN TICKNER is professor of international relations and director of the Center for International Studies at the University of Southern California. She is the author of Gender in International Relations: Feminist Perspectives on Achieving Global Security (1992), and Gendering World Politics: Issues and Approaches in the Post-Cold War Era (2001), both published by Columbia University Press. In 1999, she was co-recipient of a grant from the Ford Foundation which brought together international policymakers, social activists and academics at a series of conferences on issues related to peacebuilding, peacekeeping, democratization, human rights and global trade.
CAROL COHN is a Senior Research Scholar in the Department of Political Science at Wellesley College. Her research and writing has focused on gender and international security, with a specific interest in weapons of mass destruction. Her current research, supported by the Ford Foundation, examines gender mainstreaming in international security institutions, including the passage and implementation of Security Council Resolution 1325.

MAHA MUNA is Deputy Director of the Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children, a non-profit New York-based advocacy and public education organization dedicated to speaking out on behalf of refugee and displaced women and children around the world. Prior to joining the Women's Commission, Ms. Muna was Regional Director for the Great Lakes Region at the International Rescue Committee (IRC). Leading up to this appointment, as Program Officer at the IRC, Ms. Muna was responsible for headquarters management of programs in the Balkans, Asia, West Africa and the Caucasus. She has worked with Al-Haq, a Human Rights organization in the Occupied West Bank town of Ramallah, and was Program Officer for Middle East/North Africa at Save the Children/US. She holds a Master's Degree in International Affairs from Columbia University.

REBECCA JOHNSON is the Executive Director of The Acronym Institute, London, and Executive Editor of Disarmament Diplomacy. She has degrees from the University of Bristol and the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), London University, and has worked on security and nuclear issues since the early 1980s. She campaigned against the deployment of cruise missiles, living at the Greenham Common women's peace camp for five years, and also serving as a vice chair and council member for CND. She was subsequently director of the Greenpeace International Test Ban and Plutonium Campaigns 1988 - 1992. She is now an international specialist on multilateral disarmament and treaty negotiations, on which she publishes widely. She is author of numerous reports on the CTBT and NPT and writes regularly on the United Nations, multilateral disarmament and international security.

BETTY REARDON, the founding Director of the Peace Education Program at Teachers College Columbia University and the International Institutes on Peace Education, holds a doctorate in education from Columbia University and a masters degree in history from New York University. Betty has 40 years of experience in the international peace and education movement and 25 years in international movement for the human rights of women. She has severed as a consultant to several UN agencies and has published widely in the field of peace and human rights education, gender and women's issues. Among these latter publications are Sexism and the War System, Women and Peace: Feminist Visions of Global Security; and Towards Women's Agenda for a Culture of Peace. Her most recent book is Education for a Culture of Peace in a Gender Perspective.

FRIDA BERRIGAN, is a Senior Research Associate with the Arms Trade Resource Center of the World Policy Institute. A graduate of Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts, Frida worked with a Central America solidarity organization for two years before coming to the World Policy Institute. Maintaining an interest in U.S. foreign policy towards Latin America, she also focuses on nuclear weapons policy, weapons sales to areas of conflict particularly in SE Asia, and military training programs. Most recently she has published articles in the Providence Journal, the Nonviolent Activist and the Hartford Courant.

RHONDA COPELON graduated from Yale Law School, clerked for a United States District Court Judge Harold R. Tyler, and then worked for 12 years at the Center for Constitutional Rights in New York City where she remains a Vice-President and volunteer attorney. There she litigated a broad range of civil rights and international human rights cases with a major focus on women's rights. In l992, she co-founded the Law School's widely acclaimed International Women's Human Rights Law Clinic (IWHR). She is a founder, as well as Board member and Legal Advisor, to the Women's Caucus for Gender Justice. She co-authored the second edition of a leading legal text, Sex Discrimination and the Law: History Practice and Theory, and has published influential articles in the field of reproductive and sexual rights and international women's human rights. In addition to human rights, her teaching includes Law & Family Relations, Constitutional Law, Civil Rights, and Federal Jurisdiction.

IRIS MARION YOUNG is Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago. She is affiliated with the Gender Studies Center and the Human Rights program. Her research interests are in contemporary political theory, feminist social theory, and normative analysis of public policy. Her books include Justice and the Politics of Difference (Princeton University Press, 1990), Throwing Like a Girl and Other Essays in Feminist Philosophy and Social Theory (Indiana University Press, 1990), Intersecting Voices: Dilemmas of Gender, Political Philosophy, and Policy (Princeton University Press, 1997), and Inclusion and Democracy (Oxford University Press, 2000). Her Writings have been translated into several languages, including German, Italian, Spanish, and Swedish. She has lectured widely in North America, Europe, Australia and South Africa

JENNIFER KLOT is the Senior Governance Advisor at UNIFEM, and was a policy advisor on peace and security at UNICEF, managing the 1996 Graca Machel Report on Children and Armed Conflict. Jennifer has worked on issues of human rights, gender and development with various non-governmental organisations and private foundations.

FELICITY HILL is an Australian and a Gender & Security Advisor to UNIFEM's Governance Programme. She is the former Director of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom's UN Office in New York City. She did serve on the steering committee of the Security Council Working Group and the Global Action Plan to Prevent War, and coordinated the Reaching Critical Will and PeaceWomen projects for WILPF.

PAM SPEES is Program Director of the Women's Caucus for Gender Justice. She is a lawyer and activist who has been involved in the Caucus' advocacy in the International Criminal Court negotiations since 1997. She has worked with campaigns in the US for the recognition of economic and social rights as well as on issues of consumer protection and housing rights. She was a journalist for six years prior to attending the City University of New York School of Law in 1995.
MARIA SOLIS is a journalist and a human rights activist and defender from Guatemala. She is a member of a women's organization called "La Cuerda" whose main project is a monthly publication which is widely distributed through Latin American. She has been involved in a hard legislative fight to eliminate discrimination against women. She works in a popular education with women, especially on legal issues. She is a dreamer, has a sense of human and enjoys her life.

CORA WEISS, representing the Hague Appeal for Peace, is among the founding members of the Working Group on Women Peace and Security and participated in the writing of SC Resolution 1325. Cora has been well known as a peace activist since the early ‘60's, when she was a co-founder of Women Strike for Peace which played a major role in bringing about the end of nuclear testing in the atmosphere. She was a leader in the anti-Vietnam war movement, organized demonstrations, including the largest one on November 15, 1969 in Washington, DC. She is President of the International Peace Bureau, (Nobel Laureate 1910) and participated in the Nobel Centennial Symposium held in Oslo, Norway in December 2001. She is also Joint-Principal of the Peace Boat's Global University, an Advisory Board Member of Peace Child International's Millennium Action Fund, and Honorary Patron of the Committee on Teaching About the United Nations. As President of the Hague Appeal for Peace, she is leading a campaign dedicated to the abolition of war.

AGENDA

9:30am- 10:00am
Short history and summary of Security Council Resolution 1325.


Women Peace and Security (Security Council Resolution 1325)

10:00am - 1:00pm
1) From your institutional perspective, what is your strategic vision for implementing Security Council Resolution 1325? (30 minutes total with 5 min/panelist)

20 minutes - intra panel response and audience discussion

2) What kinds of resources and strengths can your community contribute? What kinds of resources do you need that are not part of your own institutional community, and what kinds of cross-community alliances can you imagine? (30 minutes total with 5 min/panelist)

20 minutes - intra panel response and audience discussion

3) Implementation of SC 1325 would require significant institutional change (for women to be included in all decision-making processes, a gender perspective in peacekeeping operations, the Secretary General to appoint more women as special representatives, etc). What kind of knowledge base and resources can your community provide to stimulate the process of institutional change? (30 minutes with 5 minutes/panelist)

20 minutes - intra panel response and audience discussion

Chair: Felicity Hill, UNIFEM

Participants on the panel:
-Noeleen Heyzer - Executive Director of UNIFEM (tentative)
-Participatant from the Center for Gender and Organizational Change (?)
-Professor Cynthia Enloe - Clark University (confirmed)
-Ann Tickner- Director of International Studies; University of Southern California (confirmed)
-Professor Carol Cohn - Wellesley College (confirmed)
-Maha Muna - Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children (invited)
-Immaculee Birhaheka (from DRC and involved in the Inter-Congolese Dialogue)(tentative)
-Iris Young - Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago. She is affiliated with the Gender Studies Center and the Human Rights program (confirmed)

1:00pm-2:00pm LUNCH

Disarmament

200:pm-3:25pm

1)Why is a gender analysis important when thinking about disarmament? (5min/panelist)

20 minutes - intra panel response and audience discussion

2) Is there such a thing as a feminist perspective on proliferation? (5min/panelist)

20 minutes - intra panel response and audience discussion

Chair: Cora Weiss, Hague Appeal for Peace

Participants on the panel include:
-Rebecca Johnson - Acronym Institute for Disarmament Diplomacy (confirmed)
-Felicity Hill - UNIFEM (confirmed)
-Professor Betty Reardon - Teachers College, Columbia University (confirmed)
-Professor Carol Cohn - Wellesley College (confirmed)
-Sara Ruddick (invited)
-Frida Berrigan - World Policy Institute (tentative)

International Criminal Court (ICC)

3:35pm-5:00pm

1)What is your vision of the ICC's potential for changing the landscape of women's rights in conflict situations as well as more generally in so called peacetime? (5min/panelist)

20 minutes - intra panel response and audience discussion

2) How will the ICC effect the area of international relations and what are the implications of the ICC for the existing institutional arrangements of international decision-making? (5min/panelist).

20 minutes - intra panel response and audience discussion

3) How do you imagine collaborating with other communities to ensure of the effectiveness of the ICC? (5min/panelist)

20 minutes - intra panel response and audience discussion

Participants on the panel include:
-Maria Solis - La Cuerda from Guatemala (tentative)
-Lorena Fries - La Morada from Chile (tentative)
-Rhonda Copelon - (Prof. of Law & Director International Women's Human Rights Law Clinic (IWHR) (confirmed).

5:00pm-7:00pm
Wine and Cheese on the 12th Floor of the Church Center

Dialogue on women, peace and security


Briefing by Sheri Gibbings

On April 11 2002, the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom organized a day of dialogue between academics, NGO representatives and United Nations officials at the UN headquarters in New York to discuss the implementation of the Security Council resolution S/RES/1325 (2000). Adopted by the Security Council on 31 October 2000, resolution S/RES/1325 is a historic document as it provides the first political framework within which women's protection and their role in peace-building can be addressed. It acknowledges, among others, that war affects women differently than men, the protection of women is often neglected in conflict situations, and their contributions to peace building are marginalized.

The participants underlined the need for gender to become a routine component of all processes and institutions of the UN, academia and activist efforts. According to Assistant Secretary-General and Special Advisor on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women Angela King, resolution S/RES/1325 had been a great inspiration to women across the world as it did not approach women as victims but instead as true collaborators in peace-keeping and peace building. She called for the Security Council to routinely apply gender analysis in its work. Jennifer Klot, Senior Governance Advisor at United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), reflected on the limitations of resolution S/RES/1325. Despite its importance, it did not add the issue of women, peace and security as a regular item on the Security Council's agenda, she said. Instead, according to the text of the resolution, the Security Council decided to merely "remain actively seized of the matter".

During the day the participants also discussed the issues of disarmament with a focus on the strengths that women can bring to disarmament issues, and the entry into force of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC). According to the speakers, the ICC was an important tool against impunity at the domestic and international levels. There existed a tremendous possibility for women's organizations to use the ICC as a tool to raise the legal standards in their own countries on crimes against women, the speakers noted.

Dialogue between Academics, Activists and UN Officials

Security Council Resolution 1325 has sparked many conversations, meetings and publications. An interesting conversation was held at UN HQ on April 11, 2002, bringing together academics, activists and UN officials focused on the interpretation and implementation of this resolution. A celebratory mood was already in the air on that Thursday morning as the official depositing of the 60th ratification of the International Criminal Court occurred.
The inspiration to organize a dialogue grew from conversations between Felicity Hill (formerly WILPF, now UNIFEM) and Carol Cohn (Wellesley College). Felicity, having drawn heavily from Carol Cohns' work on the language and culture of defense intellectuals, and Carol understanding the importance of shaping her research to make it relevant to activists and policy makers encouraged their colleagues to join them in broadening the dialogue.

Conference Room 2 of the United Nations was filled, on April 11th, with students from Columbia, Fordham, New York University, New School University, Queens College, CUNY, Hunter College, Baruch College, Rutgers University, Jay John College and Brookyln College. Participants of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Prepcom and individuals from various UN departments such as DPKO, DAW, and DPA were present.
The morning session on Women, Peace and Security highlighted the importance of gender becoming not just an occasional issue, but a routine component of all processes and institutions of the UN, academia and activist efforts. The panelists all brought to the table a different way to pursue this. Ann Tickner, from Center for International Studies at the University of Southern California, shared her perspective and best thoughts to bear on the challenges and opportunities offered by teaching international relations with a gender lense. She stated that she found that only a "tiny handful of men take her classes on gender" and saw as her own role as an educator to "have women's voices and perspectives mainstreamed into her discipline". Jane Connors of the UN's Division for the Advancement of Women spoke about the emerging system of international human rights law, and the reinterpretation of many words and concepts that were originally defined without a gender perspective. Cynthia Enloe re-affirmed this point by stating "this dialogue is important because many of us do not understand the discourse that makes sense in different arenas. I like that we use translation to not only mean just language but how to understand and learn this institutional lingo."

The afternoon session devoted to disarmament focused on the strengths women can bring to disarmament issues. Betty Reardon emphasized that women have a very specific role in building the culture of peace. The fear of disarmament and the fear that many men have of simply losing and not gaining something from demilitarization was noted. Rebecca Johnson representing the Acronym Institute focused on "how defense security depends on the force and strength of the masculine construct" and on weapons as "hardware" and women's bodies as "software". Carol Cohn, from Wellesley College, made an essential link between armament and masculinity among cultures. "Weapons are not thought about in relation to lives but in relation to other weapons", Carol described the need to reframe discourse on weapons to include the larger human scope. When we start talking about the kind of weapons we need, we should start talking about the starving children and the environment," she said.

Rhonda Copelon described the ICC as "a standing symbol of the principle of justice rather an entity that can hear or try every case". The ICC is a tool to fight against impunity at the domestic and the international level. The importance of war crimes against women is more than just sexual crimes it goes along many levels and there is room for re-defining these terms. Rhonda also suggested the possibility of having the ICC as a deterrent. Rhonda Copelon spoke about the tremendous possibility for the ICC to assist women's organizations in raising the legal standards in their own countries on crimes against women, and in giving greater legitimacy to women's struggle against violence. Maria Solis, from Guatemala, contextualized the court in the global situation. She stated that there can be a "double moral ethic" because the states situated with more economic power have a greater capacity to determine what cases are tried and what issues will be on the agenda. Rhonda Copelon and Pam Spees warned that there is also potential misuse of the ICC and for certain powers to abuse this system of justice. Maria Solis finished the panel by highlighting the importance of the ICC because "it is not possible to have peace without justice".

The dialogue and exchange between the panelists and the audience, many of whom proved to have significant expertise and insights, was a key part of the day. The audience played an extremely important role by bringing to the discussion of gender, issues of power distribution, race, and north versus south.

The women at WILPF are feeling inspired to organize similar events for future exchange and they are looking towards rotating the venue, and holding the next strategic and fascinating conversation at a university setting. The day was an interesting beginning on what kinds of resources and strengths each community can contribute to reinforce and provide backstopping to the other.

The day organized by the Women's International League for Peace and was very successful in raising the ideas, issues and eyebrows of UN Officials, researchers, activists and peace professionals who require more stimulation, challenge, hope and partnership to move forward. The exchange of ideas across these different communities is not usually very easy, but the participants' ability to provoke this exchange was a steppingstone in a dialogue that should be ongoing.