The 2nd Global Engagement and Empowerment Forum on Sustainable Development (GEEF) was successfully organized by BKMC, the IGEE, Yonsei University, KOICA, and the Seoul Institute in Seoul, South Korea on February 14-15th, 2019. At the Forum, the Centre hosted a plenary session “Women’s Empowerment for Inclusive and Sustainable Development.”
The session intended to raise awareness of the benefits of empowering women worldwide and to create an enabling environment for them to play a more active role in society by taking a much more proactive and collaborative approach on all levels. It gathered leading female high-ranking officials and professionals from across the globe to share their experiences and insights on the immense potential of women to bolster economic growth and the importance of women’s leadership and empowerment, even during difficult times.
President Lee Mi-kyung of KOICA set the tone with the topic “Back to Basics with Women,” and the panel discussion was moderated by Professor Oh Joon of Kyung Hee University, who is former Korean Ambassador to the UN. The panel featured a stellar line-up of the high-level speakers:
- Helen CLARK: 37th Prime Minister of New Zealand
- Armida Salsiah ALISJAHBANA: Executive Secretary of UNESCAP
- Irina BOKOVA: 10th Director-General of UNESCO, BKMC Board Member
- KWON Insook: President of Korean Women’s Development Institute
- Kati IHAMÄKI: Director of Corporate Sustainability at Finnair
- Sabine MACHL: Representative and ASEAN Liaison of UN Women Indonesia
During the panel discussion, Helen Clark said,
“I think that it is very hard to be what you can’t see. In so many places around the world, women and girls look at decision makers, and they don’t see themselves reflected because there are very few women in the parliaments and there are very few women leaders.”
The session did not only provide a platform for such leaders and professionals from different sectors to be connected and create synergies to pursue sustainable solutions, but also built up a bridge between the international community and aspiring global citizens who want to become change makers. The audience discovered how strengthening women’s societal impact and position advance the interconnected global goals. By facilitating conversation and debate among the high-level speakers, the session delivered synergized ideas to expedite the pursuit of gender equality and the consolidation of the rights of women as human rights.
BKMC Board member Irina Bokova also stressed that:
“We have to show them that we say we are feminists, so we are defending this agenda. This is not against men; we are not against them. We want to partner with them because we think that it is the best agenda for society to address societal issue. It is not just an issue of social justice or historic justice. Yes, it is. I agree it is, but it is one of the best ways to achieve this cohesion and this prosperity of a society, of communities and of the family.”
The GEEF is an international forum annually organized by the Centre and its partner the IGEE of Yonsei University. To learn more about this landmark event of the Centre, check out the website: geef-sd.org
Photo by the IGEE
The Co-chairman of the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens, former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon met the Secretary General of the ASEAN-Korea Centre Lee Hyuk on April 30th. Mr. Ban Ki-moon congratulated the 4th Secretary General of the ASEAN-Korea Centre on his inauguration that took place on April 16th. Previously, Mr. Lee has served as the Ambassador at the Korean Embassies in the Philippines and Vietnam. ASEAN-Korea Centre was established with aims to enlarge trades, promote investments, enhance cooperation on culture and tourism, and to activate human exchanges between Korea and the ASEAN countries. ASEAN consists of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand, Singapore, and Vietnam. Mr. Ban also encouraged the ASEAN-Korea Centre to make continuous efforts to build a stronger, sustainable partnership between the ASEAN countries and Korea. The ASEAN-Korea Centre is currently accepting applicants for the 2018 ASEAN-Korea Youth Network Workshop that will be held in two places, Seoul and Manila, on July 2nd-12th. The deadline for the application submission is May 24th. Source: https://www.aseankorea.org/eng/Activities/activities_view.asp?pageNum=20&page=1&boa_num=12792&boa_gubun=2&pageReturn=Activities&boa_cnt=49&S_YEAR=&S_MONTH=&S_GUBUN=0&rownum=1 Source: http://www.aseankorea.org/eng/Activities/Activities_view.asp?page=1&boa_num=12789&boa_gubun=6&pageReturn=Activities&boa_cnt=0&S_YEAR=&S_MONTH=&S_GUBUN=0&rownum=1 Photo: ASEAN-Korea Centre
This past March 2018, the CEO of the Ban Ki-moon Centre Monika Froehler participated in the inaugural meeting of regional women mediators’ networks in Oslo, Norway. The gathering brought together members from the already established womens’ networks, including the Nordic Women Mediators Network (est. 2015), FemWise-Africa (est. 2017), and the Mediterranean Women Mediators Network (est. 2017). They were joined by representatives from the UN Secretary-General’s High Level Advisory Board on Mediation and UN entities including the Executive Office of the Secretary-General, the Department of Political Affairs and UN Women. In addition, representatives from the African Union (AU), the European Union (EU), the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), as well as members of the Commonwealth Secretariat, civil society and academia, took part in the meeting to discuss the vital role of women in peace processes. 17 years have passed since the adaption of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security. Since its adaption, the positive and decisive role played by women in peace processes has been widely acknowledged by the international community. The inclusion of women has been shown to be crucial, not only in matters of women’s rights, but also to improve operational effectiveness, build resilience, prevent and resolve conflicts, and to sustain peace. Despite this widespread knowledge supported by evidence and robust research, women remain drastically underrepresented in peace and security talks. The gathering discussed ways to increase the representation of women in peace and security processes. The Nordic Women Mediators Network hosted the meeting along with the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Norwegian Centre for Conflict Resolution (NOREF), and the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO). Norwegian Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide, UN Under-Secretary-General Ana Maria Menendez, Nobel Peace Laureate Leymah Gbowee, and former UN Under-Secretarty-General Noeleen Heyzer, all spoke at the event. All attendees agreed to continue working together to promote the inclusion of women in peace processes by seeking-out synergies and looking into the option of creating a global network of women mediators. As a first step towards the goal of creating an alliance of regional women mediator networks, an initial contact group was formed.
Summarizing the goals and aspirations of the group, the Norwegian Foreign Minister Søreide stated, “It is my hope that this initiative will contribute to progress in this field, and that the next reports of the Secretary-General on women, peace and security will show an increase in women’s participation in mediation, and an increase in women’s influence in peace processes.”