In today’s interconnected world, pursuing peace and diplomacy has become more crucial than ever. While traditional approaches to diplomacy predominantly involve governments and institutions, there is a growing recognition of the pivotal role women play in promoting peace and fostering cultural understanding.
On May 23th, 2023, SpecialEurasia Managing Director, Silvia Boltuc, moderated the event “Women for Peace”, whose purpose was to promote the role that women and cultural diplomacy have in supporting the peace process. The President of the Nobile Accademia Leonina, Cristian Raponi, with the support of the Star University, gathered female representatives from the diplomatic, economic, military and fashion world to discuss women’s role and efforts to promote the interfaith dialogue and the peace process in conflict zones.
The main panel gathered the Ambassador of the Republic of Armenia to Italy, H.E. Tsovinar Hambardzumyan, the Ambassador of Yemen to Italy, H.E. Asmahan Abdulhameed Al-Toqi, the Ambassador of Lebanon to Italy, H.E. Mira Daher, the Ambassador of Palestine to Italy, H.R. Abeer Odeh, and the Ambassador of the Arab League to Italy, H.E. Enas Mekkawy, and the former Italian Minister of Defence, Elisabetta Trenta.
Women, peace process, and cultural diplomacy: opportunities and challenges
The event emphasised women bring diverse perspectives, experiences, and skills to the table, enriching peace processes with inclusive solutions. Their involvement ensures that the needs and rights of all members of society, particularly marginalised groups, are considered.
Women’s role is significant in preventing conflicts through early warning mechanisms, mediation, and grassroots initiatives, and post-conflict reconstruction since their contributions to governance, justice, and socio-economic development help to heal wounds, reconcile communities, and establish sustainable peace.
At the end of the event, SpecialEurasia Managing Director, Silvia Boltuc, shared her thoughts and analysis about women’s role and diplomacy.
“If we consider that cultural diplomacy encompasses the exchange of ideas, values, arts, and traditions between nations to foster mutual understanding, cooperation, and peace – Silvia Boltuc explained – therefore, women, through their roles as cultural diplomats, play an essential part in strengthening international relations.”
On the other hand, there are some challenges which women face in their everyday life in different sectors, which should be addressed and overcome. Among the challenges, gender inequality appears to be the most noteworthy, since despite their crucial role, women still face various obstacles in participating fully in peacebuilding and cultural diplomacy. Gender biases, prejudice, and restricted access to resources impede their involvement and sway. Addressing these challenges is essential to realising their full potential.
According to Silvia Boltuc,
“Investing in women’s empowerment, education, and leadership opportunities is pivotal to their active involvement in peace and cultural diplomacy. By providing platforms for capacity building and creating gender-responsive policies, societies can tap into the immense reservoir of women’s talent and expertise.”
The event “Women for Peace” highlighted that including women in peacebuilding activities and the advancement of cultural diplomacy provide effective methods to create a peaceful global community. Women’s unique perspectives, skills, and experiences contribute to more inclusive and sustainable peace, while cultural diplomacy cultivates mutual understanding and bridges divides.
By embracing these principles, societies can harness the transformative potential of women and cultural diplomacy, paving the way for a more peaceful and interconnected world.