Premiere of “Not Our Fate” – European Forum Alpbach 2018

This past August at European Forum Alpbach in Austria, Nour Barakeh premiered her theatre piece “Not Our Fate,” a powerful play about the societal dynamics that perpetuate conflict and the pursuit of peace. Ban Ki-moon Centre Co-chairs Ban Ki-moon and Heinz Fischer as well as Board members joined the audience at the premiere.

Barakeh is a young playwright who has experienced life as a refugee firsthand. To create the play, Barakeh conducted interviews in her native Syria, gathering firsthand accounts of life during war and the stages of mutual accusation, estrangement, and finally, shared awareness. The characters in the piece are portrayed by youth of different nationalities and backgrounds, underscoring the universality of the topic.

The play opens with Doaa, a character portrayed by Doaa Al Zamel, real-life subject of the book “A Hope More Powerful than the Sea: One Refugees’s Incredible Story of Love, Loss, and Survival” by Melissa Flemming. In the play, Doaa speaks about her experience of war, loss, and of her survival.

After Doaa, other characters share their stories and slowly begin pointing fingers at one another, blaming others for their fates. This climaxes in anger and accusations coming from all sides. Suddenly, the room falls silent and the characters turn their backs on one another.

Zina, portrayed by Barakeh, seeks to mediate by explaining the circumstances that led to their current plight, calling for cooperation and understanding. Slowly, the actors turn one by one to face one another, taking hands. This final symbol of unity and peace is profound and moving.

When asked about her experience premiering the play in Alpbach, Barakeh stated,

“’Not Our Fate’ is a real revelation from the heart and a rational analysis seeking methods to build peace among youth in conflict situations. Together with my colleagues from different continents we worked and represented diversity at European Forum Alpbach 2018.”

Having former Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and former Federal President of Austria Heinz Fischer in the audience was particularly meaningful for Barakeh,

“As the Syrian problem symbolizes our world’s interrelated problems, I was honored to perform this piece in front of the man who looked at the core of our interrelated problems and said, ‘leave no on behind.’ Dr. Ban Ki-moon and former Austrian President Dr. Heinz Fischer honored us with their presence.”

 

To learn more about the play, check out the video produced by the ORF Akademie 18’ at European Forum Alpbach (German).

Photo by Laurent Ziegler / European Forum Alpbach

The Ban Ki-moon Centre signs MoU with IACA

During European Forum Alpbach 2018, the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens (BKMC) and the International Anti-Corruption Academy (IACA) signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Sunday, August 26, 2018.

The MoU was signed by BKMC Co-chairs Ban Ki-moon and Heinz Fischer and Martin Kreutner, Dean and Executive Secretary of IACA. Upon the agreement, both parties will cooperate to provide a framework to fight against corruption and work together for empowering women and youth towards the fulfillment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

BKMC Co-chair Ban commented:

“Educating global citizens to help make the world safer and more sustainable for current and future generations is a vital part of the Centre’s mission. I am confident that our new partnership with IACA, a global hub for anti-corruption education, will make an important contribution in this regard.”

BKMC Co-chair Fischer continued:

“Major global challenges such as corruption require us all to work together to seek solutions. Today’s agreement, between two Austria-based organizations with a shared global outlook, represents a significant further commitment to this inclusive approach.”

IACA Dean/Executive Secretary Kreutner concluded:

“Investing in anti-corruption education and empowerment is essential if we are to realize the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. IACA is extremely pleased to be joining forces with the Ban Ki-moon Centre, and we look forward to working together to prevent and fight corruption across the globe.”

Source: https://www.iaca.int/1088-iaca-and-ban-ki-moon-centre-join-forces-against-corruption.html

 

BKM Centre Board members featured at breakout sessions during EFA 2018

Some of the Board members of the Ban Ki-moon Centre were featured with other world leaders and experts at different breakout sessions of the political symposium during European Forum Alpbach 2018 on August 26, 2018.

A session co-hosted by the Centre and Austrian Development Agency (ADA) had a discussion focused on “Women and Youth Empowerment – the Sustainable Development Goals in Practice.” The featured panelists were:

  • Márcia Balisciano, Director of Corporate Responsibility, RELX Group in London
  • Michael Sheldrick, Global Director of Policy and Advocacy, Global Poverty Project, Global Citizen in New York
  • Karin Kneissl, Austrian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Österreichisches Außenministerium
  • Martin Ledolter, Managing Director, ADA
  • Nour Barakeh, a youth representative

Other youth representatives including a Syrian refugee, Doaa Al Zamel, also presented their thoughts during the panel discussion. The panelists listened to their concerns and ideas regarding various social issues and proactively shared their expertise.

The live-streamed videos of this session can be found on the Centre’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Another breakout session was hosted by Bertelsmann Stiftung and Environment Agency Austria with the topic on “Implementing the SDGs: the challenges countries face and the solutions they offer.” During this session, BKM Centre Co-chair Ban Ki-moon gave comments and the featured panelists were:

  • Aart Jan De Geus, Chairman and CEO, Bertelsmann Stiftung in Gütersloh
  • Christian Kroll, Senior Expert, Bertelsmann Stiftung in Gütersloh
  • Susan Myers, Senior Vice President, UN Foundation in New York
  • Monika Mörth, Managing Director, Environment Agency Austria in Vienna
  • Herbert Ritsch, Director of Business Ethics, Bankhaus Schelhammer & Schattera AG in Vienna
  • Jeffrey Sachs, Director of SDSN and the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University, Professor of Economics; Special Adviser to the UNSG on SDGs; Bestselling Author; Syndicated Columnist based in New York

 

 

Women Mediators Networks: Connecting for Inclusive Peace-making

As regional women mediator networks have emerged around the world, the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Norwegian Centre for Conflict Resolution, and the Peace Research Institute Oslo organized a meeting with these networks from Africa, Mediterranean Sea, ASEAN and different regions of the world in Oslo, Norway in March 2018.

The Ban Ki-moon Centre participated and learnt from the expertise of the OSCE, the EU, the UN DPA Mediation Support Unit and many others. The meeting was to discuss cooperation and the possible establishment of a global alliance of women mediators. Now a video on the importance of building a global network said by the women mediators is available online.

“If we connect all the mediating networks, we can pull resources; we can exchange best practices; we can reinforce each other.”

  • Magda Zenon, Mediterranean Women Mediators Network (MWMN)

“All of us are different levels of development, different levels of violence, and different levels of peace. Women have been working in isolation for a number of years, but now we are realizing that we should be working together. And having a network like this brings together the women from all works of life on the continent to bring about peace and security, and stability.”

  • Stella Sabiiti, FemWise-Africa

“I think the networks that have been created over the last few years are incredibly important, and the reason is that they are linking together with each other, they are sharing good practice and experience, but also they are building a movement. And that is about insuring that mediators and member states know that women have this experience. They have this impact, and we need to look at their access to this process.”

  • Nahla Valji, Senior Gender Advisor Executive Office of UN SG

“[It is important] that different networks know about each other and that you can use women from across the globe in different mediation efforts.”

  • Hilde Salvesen, Nordic Women Mediators

Source: https://spaces.hightail.com/space/WY5vWfNKYS/files/fi-0a8250db-ee49-43a4-8c04-f187a56fcda2/fv-fd4d1fcb-6caf-4ebb-82c4-be119ec41e1d/0610_Noref1_v6.mp4

Ban Ki-moon Stressed the Importance of Collaboration and Reaching Gender Equality and Global Citizenship at PAS 2018

PATA Annual Summit 2018 (PAS 2018) took place in Gangneung, Republic of Korea on May 17-20, 2018 under the theme “Building Bridges, Connecting People: How Collaboration Creates Opportunities.” As PATA stands for Pacific Asia Travel Association, the association hold the 4-day international summit in the field of tourism with 372 delegates from 182 organizations.

“The PATA Annual Summit is a unique opportunity for us to highlight the issues that are affecting our industry, and for our delegates from both the public and private sector to come together to addresses the challenges and opportunities facing our various organisations,” said PATA CEO Dr. Mario Hardy.

During the one-day conference on May 18, Ban Ki-moon gave a special keynote through which he emphasized the importance of cooperation and collaboration in world’s most pressing issues and the significance of the tourism industry that also fosters multicultural understanding and empathy.

The session included an one-on-one interview by the BBC World News Presenter and Producer Sharanjit Leyl. During the interview, Ban showed his hope for the peaceful reunification of two Koreas and said that

“The US-North Korea Summit will make a good progress.”

He also stressed the importance of achieving greater gender equality and spreading awareness of global citizenship.

To achieve gender parity and women empowerment, Ban said he has been trying his best “to make sure that women are given equal opportunities if not more than men” as “considering the global population, there are more women in this world.” Furthermore, he urged world leaders not to erect wars but to “build the bridges and connect the people,” keeping the mindset of global citizenship.

Speech Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aMybkWDGMI8
Interview Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Fup2SjFdXs
Source: https://www.pata.org/h-e-ban-ki-moon-inspires-delegates-at-pata-annual-summit-2018/
Photo: E News Today

Ban Ki-moon Centre Hosts the First Breakfast Hub for Women Organizations

Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens invited women leaders and change makers from international organizations and NGOs in Austria to the Centre’s first breakfast hub. The breakfast hub was intended to create a network among like-minded people and to seek for ways to empower women and to reach gender equality, also in the light of Sustainable Development Goal 5 of the United Nations.

The CEO of the Ban Ki-moon Centre Monika Froehler gave welcome remarks and a brief overview of the Centre´s activities. She was followed by two keynote speakers on “women empowerment”, Mrs. Désirée Schweitzer, the President of the UN Women National Committee Austria and the Director General of the Department for International Development at the Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Mrs. Lilly Sucharipa, the former President of the UN Women National Committee Austria.

Schweitzer highlighted how many women and girls are experiencing domestic violence and sexual harassment as well as forced childhood marriage.

Furthermore, she argued that “women provide 2.6 times more unpaid care and domestic work than men. Women still hold a mere 23.7% of parliamentry seats” and that “in the private sector, women globally occupy less than a third of senior and middle-management positions.” Schweitzer urged that “we have to work together to change this step by step.”

Sucharipa also emphasized that “not only the SDG 5, but all the other SDGs are important in connection with lives of women.” “If it is clean water or affordable energy; if it is health or economic empowerment, extremely important, and the most important education,” she said that “all these goals play into women’s lives and have to be considered when you talk about women.”

During the networking and brainstorming session, the participants actively shared the challenges and ideas for women empowerment in all national, regional, and global levels and how the solutions can be connected to the concept of global citizenship.

International Women’s Day 2018

March 8th is the International Women’s Day (IWD), a day to celebrate and empower women by reflecting on progress made in education, economics, politics, business, and many other aspects of society and calling for more changes to take a bigger step closer to gender parity. The Ban Ki-moon Centre works for empowering women as global citizens within the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals.

“Women hold up more than half the sky and represent much of the world’s unrealized potential. They are the educators. They raise the children. They hold families together and increasingly drive economies. They are natural leaders. We need their full engagement … in government, business and civil society,” said former UNSG Ban Ki-moon.

Though there have been significant improvements achieved, unequal treatments and norms against women in different places still continue to exist. Such restrictions emasculate women, and it requires efforts from all people regardless of their gender and synergy from varied organizations, institutes, governments, and media to make further changes. It is not solely women’s or a single entity’s responsibility to make a progress, but everyone’s as a world-renowned feminist journalist and social and political activist

Gloria Steinem points out, “The story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organization but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights.”

Following the #PressforProgress campaign by the IWD, Women at the UN – Accountability Buddy Network (WUNABN) hosted a conference in Vienna, Austria today to actively engage women in exchanging their experiences of achieving gender parity and to give out practical know-hows on job applications, interviews, and how to find the right path in their career plan. Find more information on their website: https://wunabn.org/womens-day-2018/conference

The IWD thus brings everyone, every entity, and every country together to celebrate the day and to make a progress from individual level to governmental and from local level to global. As the world has witnessed empowerment being contagious with butterfly effect for the past century, one can hope that soon the IWD will be celebrated with reflections on achievements without any need for a call to action. Watch the UN Women’s inspirational video on International Women’s Day 2018: “The Time is Now” here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sXCnHvQzoOU

Source: https://www.internationalwomensday.com/

Photo: UN Photo by Ky Chung