Kuala Lumpur, March 13, 2020 – She Builds Peace – a global collaborative campaign, has extended its reach to Malaysia. The campaign, spearheaded by IMAN Research, International Civil Society Action Network (ICAN), in collaboration with Microsoft and with support of the High Commission of Canada in Malaysia, has been proudly launched today.
More than 100 peacebuilders, as well as Malaysians supporting peacebuilding and peacework attended the launch, which was inaugurated by HE Julia G Bentley, the Canadian High Commissioner to Malaysia, joined by Ms Altaf Deviyati, Acting Executive Director of IMAN Research and Dr Jasmine Begum, Director of Legal, Corporate & Government Affairs, Microsoft ASEAN and New Markets.
She Builds Peace celebrates the courage and commitment of women peacebuilders. As part of its global initiative, the campaign aims to consolidate Malaysian women peacebuilders who work in the region and internationally to create sustainable peace in countries emerging from conflicts. The agenda for She Builds Peace for the 21st century varies from digital security and managing conflict on the ground, to mentoring young women and men to become stakeholders in war, peace and security.
The campaign was mooted to change the existing peace and security processes for women living through war – survivors of violence, combatants, as well as, frontline peacebuilders who are working to resolve and prevent violent conflict.
For example, in 2000, women peacebuilders and human rights activists from conflict zones saw how contemporary war had evolved. They understood that in order for peace to prevail, the existing peace and security processes would need to change. Following the evolved nature of war, women peacebuilders and human rights activists in conflict zones recognized the need for a change in the processes of peace and security. They drew the world’s attention to the experiences of women living through war as survivors of violence, combatants and frontline peacebuilders working to resolve and prevent conflict.
Their vision and activism led to the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 1325, and development of the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda. Within the past two decades, there have been significant efforts towards fulfilling the promise of the agenda.
Locally, the objective for the She Builds Peace Campaign is to introduce peacebuilding to the Malaysian audience and encourage Malaysian women participation. The four pillars of the campaign include:
Altaf Deviyati, representing IMAN Research, spoke on the critical need for women to be part of peace building and community resilience – two key factors for sustainable development. “Peacebuilding does not start when there is conflict but needs to be outlined as part of a national development plan. It is about addressing economic, social and political root causes of violence and fosters reconciliation to prevent structural and direct violence.”
She added “women’s participation in conflict prevention and resolution can improve outcomes before, during, and after conflict.”
Dr Jasmine Begum is no stranger to peacebuilding, with her experience at the Executive Office of the Secretary General, United Nations. She spoke about her passion and efforts at Microsoft to drive inclusion and women empowerment. “International Women’s Day 2020 saw the launch of the #EachForEqual campaign which celebrates women who are championing tech innovation as an enabler to advance equality. Bridging the gender gap isn’t a women’s issue, but an economic one – as gender equality is essential for nations and communities to thrive. As advocates of digital peace, we believe that women have a critical role to play as we work towards improving trust and security in cyberspace, especially as technology furthers participation in the digital economy,” said Dr Jasmine.
“With over 25 years of diversity and inclusion efforts in Malaysia, we’ve learnt that diversity is not a finite goal; it is a journey that requires constant self-assessment and recommitment. Given the central role of technology in all facets of life today, we are honored to represent our industry and be a part of this initiative that aims to empower every woman on the planet to achieve more,” she added.
Student innovator Ariff Amir Ali who spoke at a panel discussion during the event, shed light on how he is leveraging Artificial Intelligence (AI) to support peacebuilding efforts among local communities. “I started Project H when I was 11 years old. Project H is a device that can detect when the wearer has been speaking loudly for longer than three seconds”, said Ariff. “The device leverages AI to detect voice frequencies that indicate high stress levels, after which it will automatically alert the police or a trusted person in order to prevent any unwanted situation from escalating. This is my way of contributing to peacebuilding efforts in Malaysia. I hope that more men and women play their parts in helping to make the world a better place too.”
In addition, the campaign also saw the debut and launch of the Women in Security and Foreign Affairs (WISEA) Network, founded by Tengku Nur Qistina and Farlina Said, who introduced the network to support women working in the foreign policy and security sectors in Malaysia. Their activities for the year include an outreach programme to inspire schoolgirls and introduce them to Malaysian women working in security and foreign affairs.
As we venture into 2020, it is time for another transformational leap forward to end violence and foster an inclusive and just peace for women, men, boys and girls living in fragile, conflict and violence-affected societies. It is time to realize this promise at the heart of the WPS agenda.
For more information on the following, please visit:
She Builds Peace: www.shebuildspeace.org
IMAN Research: www.imanresearch.com
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