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Archive for the ‘Amelia Korangy’ Category

by Amelia Korangy, NWI rapporteur, FAIR fund

After the immense dialogue that took place today, I feel a bit foolish. Usually, I take solace and recognize my own self-efficacy that has come as consequence of my dedication to the non-profit world. As a well educated, 21 year old woman growing up just outside of Washington DC my everyday life is not perfect, it is not pristine, but I am grateful to admit that I do enjoy myself and my time. More than ever before, today I realized that I am beyond fortunate. I have an obligation to listen. There is so much to hear, and while it is difficult, I am glad to hear it.

At home, I bask in my family and my friends who are all healthy, vibrant human beings. I spend much of my time listenning to music, dancing, or in the glorious world of philanthropy and social change fundraising. I enjoy food, wine, and fashion. I long for the sunshine, fresh flowers, the ocean, Maryland crabs, and good films. I usually enjoy those without rationing, without much restraint, and usually with an angelic conscience.

I took a great deal of time today thinking of these things that make me happy in a world of such despair. I listened and compared my happiness to what my young women counterparts living in Burma, Palestine, or Iraq can only dream of experiencing. I felt rather foolish.

I learned from women who are the leaders of organizations and movements, women who have decades of life experience revolving around erasing violence around the world. For so many women around the globe – old and young – happiness is marginal. Instead, their lives are about survival. If my life is not about survival, it must be about contribution.

I added very little to the discussion today, as I felt it was better to instead utilize my very best civil listening skills. I heard something quite profound: humanity is trivialized by violence. It is not the economics, or the politics, or the power that will motivate change. It is our own humanity. By ignoring such, by failing to listen, a person always trivializes himself or herself, lives illegitimately, and fails. I believe very strongly that people cannot live their lives in the shadow of someone else’s strife, but I also believe that empathy for the suffering that people – real people all over the world – battle every single day is central to success. (more…)

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by Amelia Korangy, NWI rapporteur, FAIR-fund

As the first day of the conference winds down to its end, I must say I am exhausted. Women activists from all over the world spoke at length about the conflicts, power relationships, and linkages between social justice issues that communities around the globe are confronting. It is challenging to listen to women give first hand accounts of the consequences that colonization, globalization, false imprisonment, human trafficking, rape, domestic violence, occupation, forced veiling, corrupt legal systems, and war have on the lives and communities of women. Still, despite the challenging realities, the information shared today from diverse regions of the world is not only important to those working for women’s rights, but has also provided the necessary foundation of current realities that will serve as an impetus, a catalyst, and a springboard for the first International Conference of the Nobel Women’s Initiative to move forward.

Today, in our conference room with panoramic views of the magnificent Galway coastline, I sat in appreciation of the dozen or so round tables, the individual microphones, and the impressive translating procedures. I was glad to be reminded of the Nobel Laureates, to take moments to acknowledge the important work being done by and for women around the world, and to learn more about the movements in Burma, in Sudan, in Iraq, and in Palestine. What I was most thankful for today, however, were the guests at my table.

I was seated beside a Russian and an Israeli. We shared the table with Palestinian and Syrian activists, amongst Shirin Ebadi, Jody Williams, Wangaari Maathai, and Betty Williams. I had to remind myself throughout the day to sit back – just for a moment – and take note of what was going on. In this room, we sat together, in solidarity, pain, and often awe of what we were hearing. We were truly international, and our diversity could not have been more obvious. Together we struggled to internalize many of the horrors that were being depicted. Each of us had different reactions to what was being said; each of us had different opinions to articulate, and each of us saw the world through a unique prism. Still, we listened and we looked together, as women who aspire to bring positive social change. We sat with one another, together, to understand the cross sectoral linkages of social justice issues, to internalize the competing (and often disheartening) dynamics of power, and to witness that the absence of war does not mean peace.

It was difficult and it was tiring. The conflict and the struggles faced by women around the world are relentless. But, as I sit here now exhausted, emotionally drained and with an aching heart I am surprised at how excited I am for tomorrow. In fact, I am astonished at how hopeful I am right now. I am astonished at how, after 8 long hours of detailing the pain and abuse faced by women, I am able to smile.

But smiling I am because if there is ever a place, ever a group of women, ever a coalition to be built that will challenge the violence, rape, genocide, and poverty suffered by women around the world it is here and now with the Nobel Women’s Initiative’s Conference. We here are equipped, we are excited, and we are most of all happy to share and collaborate, to pool resources and networks, to garnish worldwide attention to the needs and initiatives of activist women around the world. Tomorrow will be spectacular….

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by Amelia Korangy, NWI rapporteur

I come to this conference as a very recent college graduate with all of the grand aspirations one could hope a well-educated and creative student would embody. Luckily, a history in the independent sector working for non-profits has instilled within me a remarkable degree of self-efficacy, and so as I embark on a new phase of my life, I feel confident and supported in my endeavors to engage women in the work towards strong, non-violent, and equitable communities. There are thousands of organizations around the world guided by women who are keenly dedicated to empowering women in order to bring sustainable and authentic social change, and I am excited to share this conference with a select group of them.

Working for peace, justice, and equality is not an easy task – anyone familiar with the history of conflict and post conflict societies knows well that progress is often slow and heartache always quite poignant. Nevertheless, this years’ first international conference carries with it an air of security and hope for the future of these many organizations around the globe that are focused on aiding women and girls, changing inequitable policy, and strengthening the path towards peace.

In a world where media attention increasingly seems to confer legitimacy, where funding surfaces as one of the most critical challenges for those seeking peace, justice, and equality, and where the best resources day in and day out are seeded in our fellow community of activists – it is remarkable that the Nobel Women’s Initiative use this conference to establish the beginnings of a more unified, globally recognized, mutually supportive, and financially stable independent sector led by women committed to nothing short of changing the world.

There are so many aspects of the conference that I am looking forward to. As a student of Perisan culture and the Middle East, I cannot wait to broaden my understanding of engendered and identity politics as they work in the region. I am excited to learn more from the incredible collection of women activists and how they are utilizing the creative and individual capacities of young women to work against the rising tide of violence and conflict. I am curious as to how our worlds most respected activist minds will frame the issue of women’s rights in the context of social and political engagement, and I am honored to be included in talks of peace with some of the most recognized and compelling Nobel Laureates.

The Nobel Women’s Initiative is bold and powerful. These six Laureates and their surrounding community of support have fostered an organization unparalleled by any other body in the world so committed to peace, justice, and equality. Each of us here at the conference know that women are the keystone to progress and capable of incredible leadership. The commencement of this conference is exemplary. The fruits of the work here can propel the independent sector into a future that is ripe with large – scale possibilities. With this conference we will solidify our ability to garnish the attention of the world, and equip one another with the network and support needed to engage individuals from all corners of the globe in the process of ending gender violence and building sustainable peace.

I hope that you will join our efforts, spread the word, and keep updated with this monumental initiative. There is an energy – an aura – that surrounds all people who work for justice and equality, and this week in Galway we are collaborating so that this light and this energy be more unmistakable than ever before.

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