The 2013 Women, War & Peace conference will take place at the VCU Student Commons on September 20th and 21st. Over the course of two days, the conference will focus on women’s roles in war and peacebuilding in West and North Africa, and how these issues can be transformed into opportunities for social and economic wellness.
The conference grew out of a partnership between Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), the Richmond Peace Education Center (RPEC), Virginia Friends of Mali (VFOM), and the Richmond Sister Cities Commission (RSCC), all of which are working hand in hand to highlight Virginia’s links to West Africa, and to develop and nurture collaboration between the schools, universities, organizations, and community groups working in the field of human development.
The conference is comprised of three main components:
Films on Women, War & Peace
The theme was inspired by the 2011 PBS series of films on Women, War and Peace, in particular Pray the Devil Back to Hell, the story of Nobel Prize winner Leymah Gbowee (founder of the Gbowee Peace Foundation) who helped lead a women’s peace movement during Liberia’s devastating civil war. In addition to screening this film at the conference, esteemed film producer Abigail Disney will provide a keynote address on Friday night, discussing the film itself and the work of the Gbowee Peace Foundation USA.
Three other major films will be screened, including Burkinabé film La Nuit de la vérité (“The Night of Truth”), documentary The Manuscripts of Timbuktu, and Spanish film Hijos de la nubes: la última colonia (“Sons of the Clouds, the Last Colony”). These films highlight distinct and global perspectives on different aspects of women in war and peace in West Africa.
Research on Africa, with a focus on Mali
This is the fifth in a series of African Conflict and Peacebuilding Conferences associated with the West African Research Association. Numerous discussion panels with internationally recognized scholars are the focus of the second day of the conference. Topics are organized around health, gender, the role of women in conflict, non-profits roles in peacbuilding, and Malian politics.
The Malian Ambassador, His Excellency Al Maamoun Baba Lamine Keita, will give a keynote address during day two’s luncheon and provide insight into the status of peace in Mali following the recent conflict there, after which two famous Malian peace activists from Timbuktu, Ibrahim ag Youssouf and Zakiyatou oualett Haletine will receive UN medals for their work.
Academic, Professional, and Community Development
With a strong ambition to spread knowledge about peace efforts in West Africa, the conference is holding workshops, information tables, poster sessions, and cultural events to engage attendees in discourse around the diverse fields of human development. Students, alumni, scholars, employers, and practitioners will engage with each other and strengthen the network of opportunities to contribute not only to VCU and Richmond, but to the larger global community.
Please join us in the VCU Student Commons on September 20-21, 2013.