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Empowerment of Women

Women Discuss Peacebuilding at UPF World Summit

Seoul, Korea - A “Peacebuilding in Action” session at UPF's World Summit in Seoul in February featured women exploring practical applications of peacebuilding principles.

Mrs. Susan Bradbury, of the Sound Essence, U.S.A., exemplified “the heart compelled to care for others” by bringing substantial changes in others’ lives. She described her successful micro-credit project that provides disadvantaged Mongolians a means to develop financial stability for their families. Mrs. Bradbury was also inspired by how she was experiencing “more than just coincidental meetings” with Summit participants that will facilitate her next goal to expand her micro-credit project to Burundi.

The next speaker, Madame Oya Talat, shared some background of the painful conflict in the past and present in her lovely native island of Cyprus. She reported on her efforts to bring together women from different sides “to listen to each other as women of both communities … to share our agonies and experiences … in efforts to destroy the prejudices of both sides and create a confidence-building atmosphere.” Madame Talat stated that there is still much work to be done on her island and around the world. She referred to a Turkish proverb, “One watching while the other is eating is the main cause of the problem.” Mrs. Talat pointed out the strength and responsibility of women to continue to work to lift obstacles that are preventing peace and reported that she was very encouraged by UPF’s Women for Peace initiative.

The third presenter, Mrs. Tomiko Duggan, General Manager of the World Media Association, brought up a different but critical requirement of peacebuilding in creating a culture of peace, which is influencing the media to be moral. Through the WMA, Mrs. Duggan has pioneered efforts to challenge the media to practice personal ethics and acknowledge the power and responsibility to promote positive perspectives and moral principles through fact-finding tours, professional collaboration and many educational programs around the world.

The second half of this session was carried out in roundtable discussions. Discussion topics were economic development, leadership, family, reconciliation and education. During the concluding group reports, several people commented that we needed more discussion sessions such as this.

Many reflected that the personal exchange facilitated the experience of a new heart-to-heart understanding of someone from a very different world, and that through such give and take, not only was each person changed by understanding others, but they could come up with substantial solutions to some of the problems they were addressing.

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