4th WFWPI Regional Assembly of the Global Women's Peace Network

By: Teiko Kono, WFWPI Caribbean Coordinator

Caribbean and Central American Region

On Sunday, November 8, 2015, a diverse group gathered in the Dominican Republic for the 4th WFWPI Regional Assembly of the Global Women's Peace Network for the Caribbean and Central American Region. The gathering took place at Club Del Legislador in Santo Domingo Este, the provincial capital of the Santo Domingo province in the Dominican Republic. In attendance were 179 participants representing nine nations. In addition to Caribbean, Central and South American representatives from Costa Rica, Cuba, Haiti, Peru, Trinidad & Tobago, Venezuela and the Dominican Republic, there were also participants from the US and Japan. The event drew three congresswomen, 12 NGO leaders, professors, international WFWP leaders and government officials.

The 4th Regional Assembly began at 9 AM and opened with a prayer and the Dominican Republic national anthem. Professor Diana Contrera, President of WFWP Dominican Republic, gave the welcoming remarks.

The opening remarks were followed by congratulatory messages by congresswoman Karen Ricardo and Special Envoy of FFWPU for Dominican Republic, Reverend Dae Hee Hong. The following two speakers shared about their experiences at the Third World Summit held in South Korea in August of this year. The first speaker was Ms. Maritza Jorge, who read a speech prepared by Senator Amarilis Santana, who attended the summit in Korea. The second speaker, Mrs. Henny Espejo, gave an emotional report of her experience in Korea. Following her talk, Mrs. Espejo was presented with an Ambassador for Peace certificate by representatives from FFWPU, UPF and WFWP.

After adjourning for a coffee break, the group gathered back to hear the Deputy Director of the UN Office and the international vice president of WFWPI, Mrs. Alexa Ward, read an address by Professor Yeon Ah Moon, the international president of WFWPI. Mrs. Ward continued with a presentation on the United Nations. She clarified WFWPI's status within the UN and shared about the activities which each of the three WFWPI offices in New York, Vienna and Geneva have been doing over the last three years in support of the UN goals.

The morning session concluded with a presentation by congresswoman Guadalupe Valdez. Her presentation covered the topic, "Women and Education." The group then broke for lunch. During lunch, a youth group performed a Dominican folk dance. 

The first speaker after lunch was Professor Lesbia Canova from Cuba. She gave a report on the state of education and character education in Cuba. Prof. Canova's report was succeeded by reports from the WFWP presidents from Peru, Costa Rica and Trinidad & Tobago.

The last speaker of the day was Professor Iruma Nicacio. Prof. Nicacio is the adviser of gender equality for the government. She spoke about the development of the rights of women in the political sphere.

The last activity in the packed schedule was a breakout session. Participants joined one of three small groups which covered the themes of politics, education and NGOs, respectively. Participants discussed the topic and the group leader from each small group gave a summary of the discussion to the whole conference.

The event concluded around 6 PM with a dance number by a youth group and a few songs by singer Alicia Baroni. During Baroni's encore merengue, the audience rose to their feet and danced along.