A sound message for Peace was sent in November 2004 from Geneva, where the International Conference with the topic Women defending Peace was realised.
The Conference was organised with the initiative of Mrs Suzanne Mubarak of the Suzanne Mubarak Women’s International Peace Movement in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland, at the headquarters of the International Labour Organization (ILO) and is the continuation of the Conferences which were organised in Sharm El Sheikh of Egypt, 2002 and in the headquarters of UNESCO in Paris, 2003. Great personalities from all over the world who dedicated their work in the construction of Peace Nobel Prize winners, academicians, representatives of governments, international organisations and non governmental organisations and many others were present.
The speakers in the opening ceremony of the Conference were the President of the Suzanne Mubarak Women’s International Peace Movement, Mrs Suzanne Mubarak, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland, Mrs Micheline Calmy- Rey, the Director-General of ILO, Mr Juan Somavia as well as representatives of the local authorities of Geneva.
The Conference was attended by the members of the Board of Directors of the Suzanne Mubarak Women’s International Peace Movement – Queen Sabika of Bahrain, the wife of the former President of Lebanon, Mrs Mona Harawi, the former Secretary-General of the UN, Mr Boutros-Boutros Ghali, the Director of the Library of Alexandria, Dr Ismail Serageldin, theUNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, Mrs Marianna V. Vardinoyannis, Dr Leila Takla and many others. Also personalities such as the First lady of Lebanon, Mrs Nazek Hariri, the Minister of Expatriates of Syria, Dr Bouthaina Shaaban, the Ambassador of Egypt in Switzerland, Mrs Nihad Zikry, etc. were present.
The aim of the Conference was to give a voice to the women who have experienced the war or fought for Peace in their countries. Their genuine stories, stories of resistance and courage, literally touched the participants and reveal the importance of the role of women in the establishment and maintenance of Peace with the most sound way.
As Mrs Mubarak stressed in her opening speech: the presence of these women in the Conference is the living proof that, through determination, it is possible to collect great power, overcome the pain of the armed conflicts, limit the extent of violence even if we are the first ones that have suffered from it and to focus with no hesitation on the reconstruction of the demolished houses, countries and society in general.
Many personalities left their personal mark in the Conference such as the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Mrs Jody Williams, the UN Delegate for Human Rights, Mr Louise Arbour, the former President of Ireland, Mrs Mary Robinson, the former Director General of UNESCO, Mr Federico Mayor, the Member of the European Parliament, Mrs Emma Bonino, the President of the Belgian Senate, Mrs Anne Marie Lizin, and many others.
In her speech, Mrs Vardinoyannis stressed the importance of the possibilities given through this Conference: the understanding and collaboration among the women of Europe and the women of the rest of the world, through the potential of a human puzzle of different cultures and underlined the role of education to the configuration of mentalities, saying inter alia that Peace is not an issue of just political decisions; it is rather an issue of ethics, ideology and everyday practice.
In the end of the Conference, a Plan of Action concerning the co-ordination of women and women organisations was set and unanimously voted by the session. The fundamental strategic axes of the Plan were:
1. The creation of a World Alliance of Women defending Peace
2. The preparation of a Chart of Peace where the parts of the world where the women activities for peace take place will be located.
3. The dialogue with people of high ranks in politics, economy and the Mass Media.
4. The creation of a World Bank for Peace Initiatives.
5. The creation of a data base as well as a communication network for immediately warn and inform the women about issues that may cause problems and threaten peace.