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Speeches

H. Ayoubi: Address to First Middle East Peace Talk

Address to First Middle East Peace Talk, July 16, 2020

Salam alaikum. Hello, dear sisters and brothers.

I would like to start by thanking UPF for inviting me to this important and valuable event on the Culture of Peace and giving us this virtual space to expand the dialogue about building peace. These online Peace Talks are a great opportunity to keep in touch, to communicate and to share thoughts and experiences between the peace communities in this special situation of COVID-19.

What can we do, as UPF Ambassadors for Peace, and how can we contribute to help our people, our nations and our region to build a peaceful future?

I do strongly believe that when we chose to belong to the community of peace, it was not by chance, but it was because we are special, we have peace in our heart and mind, and once we become members of it, whatever our activity, our gender or our status, we are never the same; we become more special. As Ambassadors for Peace, we do make in our daily life inspirational stories that can be some extraordinary contributions to peace.

It can seem idealistic and unrealistic to some people when we say, as peacemakers, that conflict is not inevitable, because we believe that there are always peaceful solutions to conflict at all levels: at home, at work, in the street or between nations. We are so deeply convinced about that, and we feel sad when people choose war instead of peace.

Sure, we live in times of uncertainty. We watch and read in the news about conflicts and war nearly every day, but building peace is not only an effort of technical specialists. It is really possible through actions in everyday life or on a global scale. And to achieve a world of peace, each and every person has a role to play.

How? An Ambassador for Peace must:

  • Be a model of peacebuilding in the society;
  • Cultivate peace in his heart, family, community and the world;
  • Show strong leadership qualities in his or her sphere of activity, such as religion, politics, media, academia, business, art, civil society;
  • Show an example, and teach others to do the same;
  • Find ways to coexist peacefully with others;
  • Protect innocents; seek justice for everyone;
  • Commit to creating a life that spreads peace and contributes to a world without violence;
  • Work for a beautiful present and future in which everyone feels safe.

As a woman, let me concentrate on what women can do:

Women have energy, creativity and a critical spirit in identifying innovative solutions and building bridges and networks across groups worldwide. If provided with an enabling environment, they can channel this energy into efforts that will benefit a culture of peace for both present and future generations. They have to obtain a “place at the table” in formal mechanisms. This is how they can play an active role; they can bring fresh insights and ask “gendered” questions that may be missed by men.

The role and contributions of women to the Culture of Peace are important not only because women represent the majority of the global population but also because women are key drivers of the radical change of mindsets and cultures. (Isn’t that what we all want and seek?)

Women as mothers, grandmothers, and other family members, often being the first teachers of children, can play a vital role in educating and raising children to value peace and hate war.

Through women and by women we can make war against the culture of war and conflicts. Don’t you think the same? Or maybe you will challenge me and ask me how?

Well, the clue is the empowerment of women; this is crucial to building a culture of peace. By good and adequate education that can bring sustainable economic and social development, human rights and equality, democratic participation, tolerance and understanding at all levels: in the family, the community, the country, the region and globally.

Let’s all work to create an enabling environment for women to prosper in their community, to exercise rights, to regain hope and to adopt a civic engagement as a responsible social actor. This is how women assume their responsibilities as full citizens and put their skills and experiences to the service of their communities, by taking action, directly addressing issues, working with others to solve problems. This is how we can build civic competencies, enable social inclusion, dialogue and non-discrimination. It is also a key strategy to prevent women from becoming violent or being affected by violence.

Thank you for listening. God bless you.

 


To go back to the first Middle East Peace Talk article, click here.