Exclusive conference coverage from openDemocracy 50.50: Jennifer Allsopp writes about Peacebuilding and the nation-state: towards a nonviolent world for our Women Beyond War conference.
As I entered the grand Belfast City Hall for “Celebrations of Peace”: a conversation with six women who have won the Nobel Peace Prize, I was surprised to find that one of the first people that I spoke to was a man draped in a gold chain. Counsellor Brian Kingston, High Sheriff of Belfast, seemed at once incredibly humbled, pleased and dare I say bewildered by the phalanx of rain-splashed women dressed in brightly coloured clothing descending on the City Hall. I asked him what hosting the fourth conference of the Nobel Women’s Initiative, ‘Moving Beyond Militarism and War: Women-Driven Solutions for a Nonviolent World’ in the city meant to him: ‘It’s quite a gathering to have six Nobel Laureates, women who have won the Nobel Peace Prize, here in the City Hall’, he retorted, ‘it’s attracted a lot of interest locally. Thankfully our troubles in Northern Ireland are now largely in the past’. After a sober pause, Kingston continued, ‘it’s important to recognise the particular role that women play in peacebuilding, which is not a soft process. I was talking to women here involved in banning landmines and the use of rape in situations of ethnic cleansing. These are not soft issues.’
Read the complete article on openDemocracy 50.50.
openDemocracy 50.50 has been covering the Nobel Women’s Initiative biennial conferences since 2007 in articles written by participants and openDemocracy’s own authors. Visit their website for more coverage of our 2013 International Conference: Women Beyond War.