“We are women. We want more. We want better lives. Not only for ourselves. Not only for the world. For our children.”
These words, spoken by Sabrina Saqueb, are ringing in my ears today as I answer emails and put together a workplan for the upcoming year at Prosperity Candle. Last night I had the privilege of hearing firsthand from an incredible set of women peacebuilders who are waging peace within their communities all over the globe.
It’s one of my favorite events in Boston – the annual JFK Forum in connection with the Institute for Inclusive Security’s Colloquium – because it offers a truly unique opportunity to engage directly with women on the front lines of rebuilding their countries – countries like Afghanistan, Syria, Libya and Burma, which are faced with huge challenges around security, peace and stability.
Despite these challenges, it’s hard to walk out of the room feeling anything less than immense hope. These women – Sabrina, Rajaa, Wafa, Julia, Jan Nan and Sofi – are not just talking about peace and transformational change, they are making it happen. They are absolutely changing the paradigm of war and peace with their presence and their leadership.
Each of them shared a piece of their story – how they are using politics, civil society, social media and more to bring about a new tomorrow, both for their communities, and for peace on a broader global scale. As more than one of the panelists expressed, they are proof that women are not just victims of war and conflict, but instead are agents for peace who wield great power.
Hearing the courage and wisdom in these women’s stories was deeply inspiring and motivating, and served as a powerful reminder for me as to why we are doing the work we do at Prosperity Candle. When you invest in a women, change happens. We’ve seen it over and over again with our work in Iraq, Haiti and with women refugees here in the States – the women we’re working with are hungry for the opportunity to improve not only their lives, but the lives of their family and their communities.
Access is key – whether it’s access to political leadership, access to economic opportunity, or access to a public forum to share their story and activate a larger body of support. We must all play our part in providing and increasing access for more women to come up alongside men and lead the way to peace and security.
Only then will the scale truly tip towards peace and prosperity for all.
Image source: twitter.com/gogirlglobal