Geneva Initiative Annexes
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Putting Women at the Forefront of Peace Promotion

Throughout July we ran a one of a kind Leadership Course to Empower Israeli Women to Promote Peace, in which a group of aspiring female leaders met for a series of lectures, workshops and discussions, through which they were given the knowledge and tools necessary to promote the two-state solution. Next on the agenda: meeting graduates of the parallel Palestinian course!
The course's paticipants (including some very busy moms who joined us!)
 
Nearly all of the course's speakers were women, each bringing her own rich professional or academic experience. For instance, Brig. Gen. (ret.) Israela Oron, former Deputy Head of the National Security Council, focused on security related challenges; and Talia Sasson, author of the Sasson Report on illegal outposts in the West Bank, spoke about settlements and the stalemate in the peace process.
Other speakers shared with the participants highlights from their experience as peace negotiators, politicians and peace promoters. For instance, Pnina Sharvit Baruch, who is an experienced peace negotiator and currently the head of the Program on Law and National Security at the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS), spoke about her experiences as a young women sitting around the negotiations table.
 
 
Former peace negotiator and security expert Pnina Sharvit Baruch speaking at one of the course's meetings
 

 

 
"There is no doubt that we need women in peace negotiations", said Sharvit Baruch at the end of the talk. "It's my experience that they are often much more able to put aside the blame game and really put themselves in the other side's shoes. And as I've learned through many years of negotiations - understanding the other makes you a better negotiator".
One of the course's highlights was meeting Fadwa Alshaar Khawaja, Palestinian civil society expert and Head of the Jerusalem Center for Women, who talked about the role of women in the Palestinian civil society and politics, and stressed the importance of having Israeli and Palestinian women play a more significant part in peace negotiations and peace promotion.
 

The course concluded with an interactive workshop focused on how to replace society's "conflict conciseness" with a constructive "reconciliation conciseness"
 
Next, the course's alumni are getting ready to meet the Palestinian women who took part in a parallel course in Ramallah, where they will get a chance to meet, talk and share their experiences, and think of ways they can work together to promote peace. Updates to come!
This course was made possible through the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development.