Celebrating CSW59

March 10, 2015 - UNHQ New York
At-the-UN/CSW-Conferences/CSW59-Luncheon-2015
By: Julia Granstrom and Bonnie Berry

WFWPI Luncheon Meeting

The WFWPI luncheon was held in the West Terrace Room of the UN Delegates Dining Room and was attended by one hundred WFWP leaders, members and friends from as far away as Korea, Japan, Switzerland, Austria, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Philippines, Canada and across the United States.

Moderator for the afternoon, Ms. Nicole Thiessen, introduced the keynote speaker, Ms. Patience W. Stephens, Director/Special Advisor for Education for UN Women. Ms. Stephens reminded us of the critical importance of access to education for girls and young women. She focused on the responsibility of every person to mentor and encourage young women; "Power and change must come from women on the platform reaching out to those who are not. We each have that responsibility, each and every one of us." Ms. Stephens stressed that if education is to best serve the goal of development, it must be accessible to all. It must allow girls and boys the opportunity to develop their capacities in all fields and at all levels. This includes not just formal education, but also informal education and vocational training. Education enables children and adults to attain knowledge about how the world works, about their value in society and about how they can positively contribute to their families and communities.

Following a lovely buffet lunch, Professor Yeon Ah Moon, President of WFWPI spoke about the unique vision of WFWPI and the importance of expanding its influence at the UN and gave the call to action for WFWP to go to the next level of leadership and collaboration with other NGOs to face and find solutions to the problems in the world. She presented a brief overview of the history of the organization, including participation of three hundred WFWP volunteers in the 4th World Women's Conference in Beijing in 1995. Professor Moon also reminded everyone of the founders' vision that this new era is the dawning for women's true dignity and leadership capacities to be realized. This paradigm that sets women together with men in governance and leadership is a culture of heart and vision, likened to a family. Families, bound together by their Creator, are the core, the model and the training ground of World Peace. She encouraged everyone to take the path of a true woman leader who will build a unified world where freedom, peace, and happiness in its truest sense, will overflow.

Prof. Moon graciously gave the platform to guest speaker, Ms. Hazami Barmada, Communications Specialist at the Office of UN Secretary General's Envoy on Youth. Ms. Barmada sent greetings on behalf of the UN Secretary General's Envoy on Youth, Mr. Ahmad Alhendawi. She commented on the high number of youth, or people under the age of 18 among the world's population and expressed appreciation for WFWPI's efforts to empower young people and provide access for them, especially young women to the UN. This effort is aligned with the top priorities of the Envoy on Youth. She encouraged the audience to support and give these youth a voice.

The final speaker of the luncheon was Mrs. Carolyn Handschin, the director of the WFWPI UN Office. She emphasized the necessity of a motherly heart in creating world peace and WFWPI's ability to bring this role into the limelight. She also spoke on the need for WFWPI to have hard data to back up its projects and gain recognition for the work it has done. Mrs. Handschin reviewed the global portfolio of work of WFWPI in the context of the twelve critical priorities laid out in the Beijing Platform of Action, demonstrating that WFWPI members had initiated and are maintaining service projects that address each of these critical areas of concern. The framework and crux of her message were the importance of methodology, our own platform of action; and advocacy, the talking points that are central to our world view, the combination of which can be leveraged to create and develop the portfolio that represents WFWPI's impact on the world and its effort to contribute substantially to a true and peaceful global family.

The luncheon concluded with a presentation of gifts to the speakers and dignitaries, including handmade kites by Japanese kitemaker, Mrs. Tokuko Sato.