Dear Friends and Partners,
ICAN’s 9th Women, Peace, and Security Forum: Reclaiming Power, Restoring Peace concluded on Friday June 3, 2022, following four days of strategizing, exchanging, and building solidarity on Bandos Island, Maldives. My deep and heartfelt thanks to our extraordinary partner, Dr. Mariyam Shakeela, and her team at the Addu Women’s Association (AWA), who co-hosted the event with the most incredibly generous, professional and kind hospitality.
It was an immense privilege to host the Maldives Minister of Defence, Honorable Usthaazaa Mariya Didi and BG (Rtd). Zakariyya Mansoor, Director General of the National Counter Terrorism Centre, and to engage with the Ministry of Gender, Family and Social Services. Minister Didi’s inspirational words “resilience is the main ingredient of lasting change” resonated throughout our discussions.
Our collective thanks also goes to the Government of Maldives, particularly for their ‘open borders’ policy which enabled us to bring together our partners – locally-rooted women peacebuilders in the Women’s Alliance for Security Leadership (WASL) from over 40 conflict affected countries – to their beautiful country.
After two years of isolation and at a time of immense geopolitical complexity and rising insecurity, the ICAN 2022 Forum was an extraordinary opportunity to hear from women at the frontlines of tackling these challenges. It was also a critical moment to strengthen our solidarity, and reinvigorate and recommit to the work we are doing. Our analysis and findings will be collated in a “What the Women Say” briefing paper to inform national and international public and policy discussions.
The key goals of the forum were to:
- Analyze current global political and security challenges and trends from our unique and gendered perspectives at the frontlines – we wanted to hear “What Women Say”;
- Share effective strategies and adapt our approaches to continue tackling emergent issues at local, national, and international levels – we wanted to learn “What Women Do”;
- Deepen our bonds of solidarity and collective sense of purpose; and
- Reaffirm and redefine our individual and collective voice and vision as WASL.
“This is not a movement which wants peace just for women, this is a women-led movement for peace and pluralism for all of us.” – Sanam Naraghi Anderlini MBE, Founder and CEO, ICAN
“It is our duty to shape the world we want, as women, hand-in-hand with men.” – Dr. Mariyam Shakeela, Chair, Addu Women’s Association, Maldives
Key themes and sessions over four days:
- 4 context and strategic analysis plenaries on current trends, challenges and opportunities and planning for our global collaborative She Builds Peace campaign;
- 20 parallel sessions on topics including peace education, addressing extremisms, peacebuilding from the diaspora, risk and security assessment, indicators for protection and care, sustainable livelihoods, monitoring and evaluation, podcasting, and capacity-building for project management;
- 2 hours bilateral governmental meetings to plan future programming;
- 23 video interviews for storytelling and legacy-building;
- 3 psychosocial support sessions;
- 8 hours for bilateral discussions among partners for peer learning and joint planning; and
- 1 visit and tour of Guraidhoo Island, with gratitude to Guraidhoo Council and Women’s Development Committee for their warm welcome and hospitality.
“The scenarios in our countries are constantly and rapidly changing, we need to find our own equilibrium in these evolving spaces. Events like ICAN’s forum help us to step out, find our bearings and ground ourselves.” – Salma Yusuf, Lawyer, Human Rights Specialist and Peace Practitioner, Sri Lanka
“This is my first forum. I come from Afghanistan, one of the most troubled spots in the world at this point. What I have learned from the women here I will always take with me.” – Mahbouba Seraj, Executive Director, Afghan Women Skills Development Center (AWSDC)
We thank our donors for their faith in us and for enabling ICAN’s 9th Women, Peace and Security Forum to take place. Thank you to Bandos staff for their care and support, to all participants, the ICAN team, consultants including graphic illustrators Tofu Creatives, and our skillful facilitators – Quentin Prideaux and Yvonne Shanahan. We are grateful to all those who gave financial contributions or in-kind services.
We look forward to sharing our findings with you.
Sanam Naraghi Anderlini, MBE
And the ICAN Team
Olga Andrews, France Bognon, Daniel Cabral, Rosalie Fransen, Helena Gronberg, Malalai Habibi, Melinda Holmes, Maya Kavaler, Lauren Mellows, Stacey Schamber and Yodit Willis.