NWI First International Conference: Women Redefining Peace in the Middle East and Beyond

Dates: 20-31 May 2007
Location: Galway, Ireland


80 leading women’s rights activists and scholars on woman’s empowerment and gender equality, including ex-political prisoners, founders of international rights organizations, disarmament experts, journalists, and the most promising, emerging activists – joined the Laureates for discussions aimed at deepening our understanding of how the private and public dynamics of violence against women intersect and how solutions must reflect a far more integrated approach.

It provided women from more than 40 countries an opportunity to shaire their experiences of discrimination and oppression, exchange strategies that have improved women’s conditions, and discuss how best to work together to demand a central place for women at the negotiating table of the peace process and political liberalization. The Middle East was chosen as the contextual focus of the conference precisely because the region is widely characterized by conflict and political repression. Under such circumstances, women’s rights and human security are readily sacrificed on the altar of “national security” and unqualified allegiance to the nation-state.

Importantly, the conference was designed to challenge the stereotype that women are the exclusive “victims” of conflict, and passive subjects of systematized oppression. The organizing principle of NWI’s first international conference was the recognition that women are not the passive victims of conflict. Despite spiralling violence in the Middle East, women have demonstrated positive responses of resilience and non-violent creativity.


Jody Williams
Shirin Ebadi
Wangari Maathai
Betty Williams
Mairead Maguire
Rigoberta Menchú Tum


Afghan Women’s Network
American Friends Service Committee
Amnesty International- Irish Section
Association of Women’s Rights in Development
B.a.B.e. Women’s Human Rights Group
Bat Shalom – The Jerusalem Center for Women’s Action
Cluster Munition Coalition
Concerned Women’s Organisation for Peace and Development
Global Fund for Women
The Green Belt Movement
Greenpeace International
International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear weapons
International Campaign to Ban Landmines
Just Associates
Kosova Women’s Network
Mines Action Canada
Open Democracy
Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq
Peacewomen Across the Globe
The Parents Circle Families Forum
United Nations Office for the Coordination of Human Affairs
V-Day Karama
Women in Black
Women Living Under Muslim Laws
Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice
World Centers of Compassion for Children International


Irish Aid
Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Swiss Ministry of Foreign Affairs
The Global Fund for Women
The Planethood Foundation
Rockefeller Family & Associates
The Tides Foundation
University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work
Ann Downs

Find out more

Conference Report

The First International Conference of the Nobel Women’s Initiative: Women Redefining Peace in the Middle East and Beyond (pdf)


Rebecca Barlow, Conference rapporteur | Women and conflict – Master narratives and counter-narratives 


Open Democracy: Podcast 21: Nobel Women’s Initiative
Part one: Women and conflict in the Middle East
Part two: Redefining peace
Part three: What makes the difference?


First International Peace Conference (Flickr)