Soka Gakkai International
Buddhism in Action for Peace
History & Philosophy
Stories and reflections on the Buddhist approach to life
The 58th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW58) took place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from March 10–21. The priority theme was “Challenges and achievements in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for women and girls.”
Since 2011 SGI has participated in the NGO CSW Planning Committee. This year, as one of the cochairs of the committee’s Communications for Change Task Force for Beijing+20, SGI helped organize a video project during NGO CSW’s Consultation Day on March 9. This video will be used to raise awareness of Beijing+20, the 20-year review of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (BPfA) that was issued by the Fourth World Conference on Women in 1995. The review meeting will take place in March 2015.
On March 10, SGI cofacilitated NGO CSW’s Conversation Circle on women, peace and security, together with the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders, the NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security, and the PeaceWomen program of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. Discussion focused on women’s participation in peacebuilding and women in leadership roles.
related article Bringing Human Rights to Life by Godelieve Cooymans, SGI-Italy A guide explains the exhibit to a school class in Florence From 1996, the Italian Buddhist Institute Soka Gakkai organized a photographic exhibition entitled “Toward the Century of Humanity: Human Rights in Today’s World” which was shown in 10 cities in Italy. The exhibition was part of an effort to foster dialogue about human rights, starting from youth, and over half of the 170,000 visit On March 13, SGI also organized a CSW58 parallel event at the Salvation Army Auditorium titled “Moving Ahead from the MDGs: Highlighting Women’s Leadership,” cosponsored by the Virginia Gildersleeve International Fund. The event explored ideas as to what constitutes effective and transformative leadership, in an effort to contribute to UN Women’s proposed goal on gender equality, women’s rights and women’s empowerment for the post-2015 development framework.
The fact that women’s leadership does not mean women filling the current roles of leadership as defined by men, but women leading as women in all their capacities was highlighted by many participants. Several women reflected on how important it was for them to have a female role model or mentor in their life who gave them confidence.
Despite an early morning start time and below freezing weather, nearly 50 people attended. Former UN Under-Secretary-General and High Representative Ambassador Anwarul K. Chowdhury, who initiated the groundbreaking UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on women and peacebuilding, gave a closing speech. He stated that “Women are born leaders in the sense that through the ages they have been contributing in a way so that societies stay together, society moves ahead, society becomes more positively oriented, and society averts violence and conflict. What is absent is that the world has failed to recognize, to value, and to take advantage of the existence of that leadership.”
[Adapted from a report from the SGI UN Liaison Office in NewYork]
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