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ILC2021 Asia Pacific, July 28: Session II – Women in Peacebuilding

Asia Pacific—Three former first ladies, a member of Korea’s Ministry of Unification and other women leaders explored the role of women in Track II diplomacy in the second session of the July 28-29 International Leadership Conference 2021 (ILC2021) for UPF’s Asia Pacific region, held on July 28.

The webinar, which was hosted by the International Association of First Ladies for Peace (IAFLP) in collaboration with the Women’s Federation for World Peace (WFWP), an affiliated organization, had as its theme: “First Ladies and Women Leaders’ Contribution in Peace-building: Sharing Global Experiences in Support of Inter-Korean Peace Talks.”

A total of 4,654 people registered for the session and 518 watched it live on Zoom while thousands from 40 different countries did so on YouTube and Facebook Live.

In her opening remarks, Dr. Julia Moon, president of WFWP International, pointed out that in order to attain sustainable peace, Track I and Track II diplomacy need to work together. She elaborated by saying: “The future of reunification on the Korean Peninsula must tap into the power of track two, people-to-people diplomacy, beyond the efforts of official government entities.”

Madam Diann Mendiola Tudela Torres, first lady of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), shared her aspirations for Korea to find the strength to achieve the goal of peaceful reunification and reminded the audience to follow their discourse with action, as dialogue along is not enough.

Joining Madam Torres as speakers were Madam Shiranthi Rajapaksa, first lady of Sri Lanka (2005-2015), and Hon. Madam Hisila Yami, first lady of Nepal (2011-2013).  

After a performance of a multilingual medley from Nepal, Hon. Huwaidiyah Pitsuwan Useng, a member of Parliament, Kingdom of Thailand (2001-2005), discussed how informal diplomacy can lead to more inclusive discourse since it allows for more perspectives to be heard.

In her presentation, Dr. Younghee Kim Dr. Kim policy advisory member, Ministry of Unification, Republic of Korea gave a comprehensive overview of the market economy and socio-economic system in North Korea, which gave the audience a deeper understanding of the economic setting that North Korean citizens are living in.

The session also featured a peace song sung by the first lady of Sri Lanka and a cultural performance from the Mariana Islands.

The closing remarks were given by Mrs. Blessie G. Dhakal, international coordinator of the IAFLP, and Mrs. Merly Barlaan, international vice president and deputy director for UN Relations of WFWP International, moderated the session.

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