Athens Declaration: Recommendations & Action Steps 2015

Global Women's Peace Network

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Today, May 28, 2015, 71 women from 23 nations are gathered in Athens, Greece for the Nineteenth Annual WFWPI Women's Conference for Peace in the Middle East with the theme:

"Young Women as a Driving Force in Securing Peace and Well-being in the Middle East"

This year, being the 20th anniversary of the 4th World Conference on Women held in Beijing in 1995 (Beijing + 20), we are focusing on one of the most amazing resources that we have found: the youth and their prospects for a hopeful future.

In fostering the highest potential in young women,

One:

We recognize the capacity of women as mothers of peace, who have the innate passion to perceive, protect and nurture the global community as their own family, raising youth aspositive contributors to Peace and keeping in mind future generations.

Two:

We affirm the interdependence of peace and social justice: peace cannot exist without social justice and there is no social justice without peace. Social justice is defined as the recognition and appreciation of humanity and innate dignity in every individual, irrespective of ethnic origin, gender, religion, race, possessions, etc., as well as the genuine service by each and every individual or group of individuals, to each and every individual or group ofindividuals, in view of their comfort and blossoming.

Three:

We declare our will to create within our countries and across the MENA region, including war-torn areas, networks of dialogue and understanding in order to empower young women, value the cultural wealth of our region and raise the future generations in a healthy environment, to avoid future involvement with destructive activities as we recognize thatwithout inner peace it is impossible to realize outer peace.

We, the participants of the 19th Women's Conference for Peace in the Middle East have agreed upon and urge the United Nations and the relevant UN Agencies, the Governments in the region of the Middle East and North Africa and worldwide, and the concerned NGOs, to consider the following:

Recommendations

  1. To recognize the role of women in the healing process to release negative emotions which are at the core of conflict and violence created by the wars, and as such, create meeting places for youth, staffed by women, to deal with conflict resolution and emotional trauma -such as stress-, and to foster the respect of differences and diversity in others
  2. To renew their commitment to include women, especially young women, in the decision making process on all levels and improve the economic situation of women, creating more job opportunities
  3. To improve on education by developing programs to:
    1. Include Peace education as part of the mainstream curriculum
    2. Inform women of their rights
    3. Develop self-esteem and public mindedness
    4. Reform education to give needed skills for improving young peoples' lives
    5. Create internships to learn from model example countries
    6. Emphasize family education to prepare youth for family life and support the development of healthy families as the foundation of a healthy society
    7. Encourage women to educate their children with no discrimination between boys and girls, to teach them the principles of peace, to inspire their children to become balanced, stable, unselfish and tolerant people, respecting each other, so that the boys become aware of a woman's major contribution within the family as well as in the society. Family education of this kind gives the greatest benefits to society of the skills of women and men and opens the way for women to assume their responsibilities in the political, social and economic spheres.
    8. Promote Prenatal Education in mainstream educational curriculum and recognize the importance of prenatal care in proper child development.
    9. Encourage the development of moral IQ and the power of positive thinking in mainstream education in order to promote a constructive life style and raise positive leadership.
    10. Eradicate illiteracy of women in respective MENA countries in order to make a foundation for them to receive further education
  4. To promote programs that motivate young people and give them the opportunity to participate and be partners in the vision making of the peace process, by exposing them to the larger world and teaching skills to deal with society
  5. To exercise advocacy to the concerned Governments and Agencies for young Syrian women to be part of the negotiations for peace building in Syria and for the support of the affected people, in concert with humanitarian activities
  6. To exercise advocacy to Governments and Agencies so that all young ethnic refugees and immigrants are free from any kind of discrimination, and that priority is given to their education, training and job placements.
  7. To promote social media activities and educate women how to use the social media in order to exercise their role of peacemaker all the while they protect themselves and their family from the harmful influences of the internet
  8. To make use of social media to empower young women through education, vocational training as well as raising their awareness to issues of wellbeing and peace, particularly in the villages and remote areas
  9. To make use of social media to develop an environment conducive to peace by creating a "Youth for Peace" website and promote a culture of service, in order to create security for women and children.
  10. To recognize the important role of the family in fostering a character of mutual acceptance, resilience and peaceful conflict resolution, therefore supporting emotionally and materially the parents, allowing them to exercise their role of models for the family.