It has probably become more dangerous to be a woman than a soldier in armed conflicts.
As part of the project Mediation Lab, project leader Alexandra Iriarte and communicator Charlotte Lind went to Brussels at the beginning of last week to spread information about the participants within the Mediation Lab and to strengthen their capacity to participate in peace processes. During two intense days, several meetings were held.
The first meeting was with the European Institute of Peace, that runs a very inspiring project. The project aims at creating a link between formal peace processes with civil peace initiatives and finding effective ways of creating thet link. The meeting was very rewarding as the Mediation Lab is an initiative specifically intended to connect women active for peace within their civil societies with formal processes.
Ingrid Magnusson who manages the project, talked about the project’s method of so-called practice innovation; the mediation craftsmanship is observed in the field, in four different mediation processes. The next step is to analyze and discuss observations in a group at a retreat-like session, to find out what can be done better to create greater inclusion. Involved in the project are high level mediators.
We also met EPLO, European Peacebuilding Liaison Office, which organizes the 34 European civil society organizations focused on peace work. We had a fruitful exchange on ways to open doors for women to the negotiating rooms and to get their issues on the agenda.
We also had the opportunity to make a visit at the European Parliament, where we meet Erik Apel, accredited assistant to European Parliament member Bodil Valero, Group of the Greens (Miljöpartiet) active in foreign affairs. We raised the question of oppression against women active for for peace in Turkey and talked specifically about the situation of Ayse Akat and Besime Konca.
EEAS, European External Action Service, or the EU's foreign service as it is also called, showed great interest in the issue of inclusive peace processes. Officers responsible for the EEAS efforts for peace in Israel and Palestine and Iraq attended the meeting. Also Charlotte Isaksson, Senior Advisor to the EU's Principal adviser on Gender and on UNSCR 1325 Ambassador Mara Marinaki, were present. Charlotte Isaksson pointed to the different interpretations that exist regarding Resolution 1325 and its transformative component in order to change the military regime that now governs the world's states. Hearing about the transformative cmponent from the closest adviser to the EU Principal adviser on Gender and on UNSCR 1325 gives us confidence in the EU’s work with the resolution. It also shows the strength of the resolution.
With us back home we bring insights and new ideas on how we can open doors for the women of the Mediation Lab.