Women Peacemakers - Before and After 1325

Learning Process on the Role of Women Peacemakers Globally –

Conversation with Leymah Gbowee, 2011 Nobel Peace Laureate

A discussion on the implementation of UN resolution 1325 and its implications in Liberia, Africa. Event organized by the School of Diplomacy and International Relations - Center for Peace and Conflict Studies (CPCS), and co-sponsored by the United Nations Association of the USA, a program of the UN Foundation and by Inclusive Security.

We were honored to host Leymah Gbowee, 2011 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate as the keynote speaker. Madame Gbowee was recently appointed to the School’s Board of Advisors. Her story was told in the 2008 documentary film Pray the Devil Back to Hell and her 2011 memoir, Mighty Be Our Powers.

 

Leymah Gbowee was seventeen years old when the Liberian civil war started. During that period, she became a founding member and Liberia Coordinator of the Women in Peacebuilding Network of the West Africa Network for Peacebuilding. She organized a group of Christian women to mobilize for peace, and collaborated with a Muslim partner to build an unprecedented coalition with Muslim women, giving rise to the interfaith movement the Women of Liberia Mass Action for Peace.

Madam Gbowee was appointed its spokesperson and led thousands of women in weeks-long public protests that forced Liberia’s President Charles Taylor to meet with them and agree to formal peace talks in Accra, Ghana. She led a delegation of women to Accra, where they applied strategic pressure to ensure progress, including forming a human barricade to prevent Taylor’s representatives and the rebel warlords from leaving the meeting until they reached a peace agreement. Within weeks, Taylor resigned the presidency and went into exile, and a peace treaty mandating a transitional government was signed. This historic achievement paved the way for the election of Africa’s first female head of state. It also marked the vanguard of a new wave of women emerging worldwide as essential and uniquely effective participants in brokering lasting peace and security.

Before founding the Gbowee Peace Foundation in 2012, Madame Gbowee co-founded the Women Peace and Security Network Africa (WIPSEN-A) in Accra, serving as Executive Director for six years.

Her work as a Liberian peacemaker, social worker and women’s rights advocate will provide us with valuable insights about the critical roles women play in conflict resolution, civil resistance, social development and education.