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At CGIU, women urged to play role in sustainable peace negotiations

Juniors Daniela Lorenzo and Mariana Gaviria don’t include “burning bras” in their agenda for making a change, but instead look to open conversation on de-stigmatizing the “F” word: feminism.

Their project, also called The “F” Word, was created in late September after they watched Emma Watson’s speech to the United Nations about the He for She campaign.

“Our goal is to include men in the conversation, and that was really born from that movement,” Lorenzo said.

In their pursuit to make a change, Lorenzo and Gaviria were admitted to attend the Clinton Global Initiative University (CGIU) based on their project, which then led them to attend the Women at the Negotiation Table discussion on Saturday.

Moderated by filmmaker Abigail Disney, the Women at the Negotiation Table session focused on the important role women play in sustainable peace negotiations. Prominent figures such as Mirsad Jacevic, Amy Lazarus and Sanam Naraghi-Anderlini joined in on the conversation.

They discussed how women of developing or war-torn countries hold the ground for those nations, but their potential is untapped due to sexism.

Lazarus, who is the founder and CEO of InclusionVentures, LLC, talked about the importance of finding common ground in everyday negotiations to benefit the future.

“Negotiations are a part of daily life. … Studies have shown that women often negotiate better on behalf of others,” Lazarus said. “I’m inviting us all to practice that inclusion, by listening and asking the right questions.”

Though the discussion focused on the importance of women in these conversations, the panelists also pulled men into the picture.

Disney emphasized that it’s not only women that aren’t in the conversation, but men too. Instead, older, rigid men, according to Disney, hold developing and war-torn countries together – not women.

“Most people, men and women, want social change and gender equality, but we assume none of them do because the men in power often don’t,” Lorenzo said on Disney’s point. “It’s not fair to generalize, and we really need to start assessing who the real people holding change back are.”

Naraghi-Anderlini, the co-founder and executive director of International Civil Society Action Network (ICAN), added to that notion.

“If we are at a peace table, then why do we not have the people living and leading by example there?”  Naraghi-Anderlini said. “Peace is not the absence of war. Peace is the presence of something else. … We have to study peace and positively aspire toward that.”

The session closed with a call to action by Disney for participants to go to these countries and directly make change for the better.

“No amount of college courses can teach you what the women from that country have learned from that war and keeping it together with their bare hands,” Disney said. “You’ll be amazed at how your life can be changed for the better.”

March 8, 2015


Megan McCrink

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