20th Annual Women's Conference for Peace in the Middle East

October 11-14, 2016 - Larnaka, Cyprus
Culture-of-Peace/Middle-East-Conferences/Cyprus-2017
By: Carolyn Handschin

Youth and Family: Key to transforming the Middle East and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals


Since 1997, WFWPI has held an annual conference on women's specific contribution to peace in the Middle East, inviting women leaders from throughout the region and representatives of governments, UN agencies and civil society. They are sometimes held in UN premises and always with topics related to UN mandates, with as many as 180 participants in attendance. The conference is sponsored by WFWP, Japan.

For the 20th anniversary in 2016, amid safety concerns, the conference was held in Cyprus. The theme was "Youth and Family, key to transforming the Middle East and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals". Some of the discussions included: "Women and the complex challenges of security"; "ME Youth, aspirations and needs"; "SDGs and their impact in the ME", "New social activism, engaging youth for 'Global Family' through the fulfillment of the SDGs". Speakers included representative of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon and former UN Rights of the Child Committee member, academics, lawmakers, government, business and NGO leaders.

In recent years, WFWPI has prioritized the involvement of young women in peace work in general and in this conference series in particular. Their perspectives on needs-assessment, planning and design of programs, advocacy toward policy makers and implementation of conference outcomes have been found to be very innovative and insightful. Building on each year's event, networking and cross-border projects continue.