Report on WCCI’s Participation in UN/CSW55
From February 28th to March 5th, 2011 a team of WCCI members actively participated in a series of “parallel” and “official” events that took place simultaneously with the United Nations 55th annual session of the Commission on the Status of Women.
The team attended various of the official events organized by UN agencies, member states and some NGOs collaborating on common programs such as that offered by the Mission of Bangladesh and the Spanish Lawyers Association on the gender dimension of the “Right to Peace” as defined in the Luarca Declaration. Some of the team also attended, among other official events, the launching of the new UN agency, UN Women, the umbrella agency to oversee and push forward all UN programs directed toward gender equality. At this event they heard the opening address by the dynamic former President of Chile now heading UN Women, Assistant Secretary General Michele Bachelet. These events were held within the grounds of the UN, while the events organized by the nongovernmental organizations affiliated with the UN were held in other venues around the city of New York. WCCI organized one such event, and team members served as panelist on event organized by other NGOs.
As the primary theme topic was science and technology, WCCI association with the International Institute for Peace Education (IIPE) offered a workshop on “Peace Education for the Girl Child: the Importance of Science Education.” With Betty Reardon facilitating, the session was initiated with sequential responses to two questions framed to begin the discussion on the importance of science education to the preparation of girls for active political participation, such as is articulated in Security Council Resolution 1325 that calls for women’s equal and full participation in all matters related to peace and security. These responses were offered by WCCI’s representatives to the UN, Dean Karen Webb of Alliant University and Vincent Shieh of Kaohsiung National University, immediate, past president of WCCI. As the purpose of the panel was to elicit suggestions on actions toward improving science and peace education for girls, the audience was invited to reflect and share their thoughts in pairs and small groups. The reflection-sharing process was facilitated by Janet Gerson, Education Director of IIPE. The recorder for the session was WCCI intern Dominique De Leon, a student at the University of California San Diego. Some of the suggestions derived from the discussion are posted on the WCCI website.
Karen Webb and Betty Reardon also presented at a set of panels, organized by Vincent Shieh in a collaboration of WCCI, the Taiwan Economic and Cultural Office and Foundation for Women’s Promotion and Development (FWPD). A third WCCI member Sue Fan Foo also presented on these panels, chaired by Vincent Shieh. Present at both WCCI sessions were Angela Lo, Hsiu-Chen Hung (Jane) and Nai-Chien Chang (David) all of whom had also participated in our conference in Pecs, Hungary last July.
These events and the active participation of WCCI in all aspects of CSW 55 comprised an important step in the Council’s becoming an active member of the NGO community at the UN that represents the interests and perspectives of global civil society to the interstate organization. Plans are underway for WCCI to continue this active involvement with the UN NGO community.