Latest News


A Student Engagement Story for Peacebuilding: Young WILPF Workshop at ISWI 2017

In May 2017, the International Student Week in Ilmenau (ISWI) under the motto ‘Global Justice: A Fair(y) Tale?’ will be held in Ilmenau, Germany. ISWI is an international student organisation, founded in 1993, campaigning for peace through several projects and events, with impact on and collaboration with people from across the globe.

Image credit: Felix Dürrwald / Flickr.
WILPF International Secretariat
12 December 2016

by Marie Cucurella, coordinator of the Young WILPF Network, and Sankalp Pawar, member of the Initiative for World Solidarity.

In May 2017, the International Student Week in Ilmenau (ISWI) under the motto ‘Global Justice: A Fair(y) Tale?’ will be held in Ilmenau, Germany. ISWI is an international student organisation, founded in 1993, campaigning for peace through several projects and events, with impact on and collaboration with people from across the globe.

Given the shared objectives and similar areas of work, Young WILPF will collaborate with ISWI to hold a workshop at the conference. Young WILPF will cease the opportunity to present the newly conceived toolkit on youth and peace activism. There will be also be an info-stand sharing information about Young WILPF with participants of ISWI 2017.

Significance of student engagement and call for participation

The voice of youth has played a definitive role in shaping our world. Young activists have in the past stood up and continue to stand up against injustice, prejudice, patriarchy and war.

Marie Cucurella, Young WILPF International Coordinator at the IPB World Congress 2016 in Berlin. Photo: IPB.
Marie Cucurella, Young WILPF International Coordinator at the IPB World Congress 2016 in Berlin. Photo: IPB.

We live in an age of connectedness facilitated by modern technology. Youth networks have been further strengthened to coordinate and collaborate, take action and inform each other. But being young and/or a student in a global network is not enough. One must choose to stand up for a cause and be willing to contribute to fixing and refining the state of the world.

It is to encourage young people to stand up that ISWI is organising its conference from 12 to 21 May on ‘Global Justice: A Fair(y) tail?’. It is to encourage young people to be committed that Young WILPF will hold a workshop and a discussion there, on youth and peace activism. The youth network help enhance the reach of WILPF by encouraging youth participation.

Every small action, even those that some may perhaps not consider as activism, can actually have an impact on one’s surrounding and thereby on the world at large. Starting with little steps, being aware and informed, one can gain the courage and the needed madness to carry out larger audacious projects. The youth must not wait for the right skills, time, or better circumstance to engage in making a difference.

Functioning and impact of ISWI as an organisation

With around 30 active members, ISWI association functions as a non-profit student organisation. Transparency and democratic decision-making form the key features of ISWI as an organisation. Every member has an equal opportunity to share opinions, take up responsibilities and also to put forward criticism.

As an initiative for peace building and peace education, the impact of ISWI on its members and everyone it has associated with, has been positive and even life changing.

In Ilmenau, ISWI has been contributing to the cosmopolitan culture on the campus and in the city, benefiting the lives of students and locals alike. To encourage international exchange and solidarity, ISWI organises several events. They bring people together and foster tolerance, mutual understanding and respect, thus strengthening the core values ISWI is based on.

The newly formed sub-group, the ISWI Peace Project (IPP) is actively working to highlight peace related topics and align with the global peace movement through participation in campaigns and actions. Nuclear disarmament action, autonomous weapons, political developments in conflict areas, and ethical and moral standards in university research are some of the topics that the group aims to work on and that it shares with WILPF

ISWI 2017 ‘Global Justice, A Fair(y) Tale?’


ISWI 2017, dedicated to the topic of ‘Global Justice’, will be held from 12 to 21 May 2017. In today’s world, justice can represent solidarity, a uniform distribution of resources, or free access to quality education for all. It can also encompass aspects such as the balance between economic prosperity, social and environmental welfare, and the fight against discrimination based on ethnicity, religion, gender and sexual orientation. In a way, global justice could mean to give every human a fair chance to live their life with dignity and, thereby, to contribute to the global society.

ISWI 2017 aims to bring forth a broad discussion with different interpretations of the concept of global justice and possibilities of establishing such a form of global justice. Under the motto ‘Global Justice: A Fair(y) Tale?’ the participants will engage in 10 days of group work, lectures, workshops, including one held by the young WILPF network, discussions and presentations.

The conference does not intend to provide simplified answers or easy perfect solutions to the world’s many problems. It is rather a sincere effort to build a dialogue and to combine ideas of the global youth. Change through effective engagement is the underling goal of this meet, both for ISWI and for Young WILPF.

If you found the conference meaningful and in alignment with your work and expertise, you can hold a workshop/lecture/discussion at ISWI 2017 or suggest appropriate speakers/organisations by contacting inhalt (a)

Photo credit: Felix Dürrwald / Flickr.

Share the post

WILPF International Secretariat

WILPF International Secretariat, with offices in Geneva and New York, liaises with the International Board and the National Sections and Groups for the implementation of WILPF International Programme, resolutions and policies as adopted by the International Congress. Under the direction of the Secretary-General, the Secretariat also provides support in areas of advocacy, communications, and financial operations.

Your donation isn’t just a financial transaction; it’s a step toward a more compassionate and equitable world. With your support, we’re poised to achieve lasting change that echoes through generations. Thank you!

Thank you!

Melissa Torres


Prior to being elected Vice-President, Melissa Torres was the WILPF US International Board Member from 2015 to 2018. Melissa joined WILPF in 2011 when she was selected as a Delegate to the Commission on the Status of Women as part of the WILPF US’ Practicum in Advocacy Programme at the United Nations, which she later led. She holds a PhD in Social Work and is a professor and Global Health Scholar at Baylor College of Medicine and research lead at BCM Anti-Human Trafficking Program. Of Mexican descent and a native of the US/Mexico border, Melissa is mostly concerned with the protection of displaced Latinxs in the Americas. Her work includes training, research, and service provision with the American Red Cross, the National Human Trafficking Training and Technical Assistance Centre, and refugee resettlement programs in the U.S. Some of her goals as Vice-President are to highlight intersectionality and increase diversity by fostering inclusive spaces for mentorship and leadership. She also contributes to WILPF’s emerging work on the topic of displacement and migration.

Jamila Afghani


Jamila Afghani is the President of WILPF Afghanistan which she started in 2015. She is also an active member and founder of several organisations including the Noor Educational and Capacity Development Organisation (NECDO). Elected in 2018 as South Asia Regional Representative to WILPF’s International Board, WILPF benefits from Jamila’s work experience in education, migration, gender, including gender-based violence and democratic governance in post-conflict and transitional countries.

Sylvie Jacqueline Ndongmo


Sylvie Jacqueline NDONGMO is a human rights and peace leader with over 27 years experience including ten within WILPF. She has a multi-disciplinary background with a track record of multiple socio-economic development projects implemented to improve policies, practices and peace-oriented actions. Sylvie is the founder of WILPF Cameroon and was the Section’s president until 2022. She co-coordinated the African Working Group before her election as Africa Representative to WILPF’s International Board in 2018. A teacher by profession and an African Union Trainer in peace support operations, Sylvie has extensive experience advocating for the political and social rights of women in Africa and worldwide.

WILPF Afghanistan

In response to the takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban and its targeted attacks on civil society members, WILPF Afghanistan issued several statements calling on the international community to stand in solidarity with Afghan people and ensure that their rights be upheld, including access to aid. The Section also published 100 Untold Stories of War and Peace, a compilation of true stories that highlight the effects of war and militarisation on the region. 

IPB Congress Barcelona

WILPF Germany (+Young WILPF network), WILPF Spain and MENA Regional Representative

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Mauris facilisis luctus rhoncus. Praesent eget tellus sit amet enim consectetur condimentum et vel ante. Nulla facilisi. Suspendisse et nunc sem. Vivamus ullamcorper vestibulum neque, a interdum nisl accumsan ac. Cras ut condimentum turpis. Vestibulum ante ipsum primis in faucibus orci luctus et ultrices posuere cubilia curae; Curabitur efficitur gravida ipsum, quis ultricies erat iaculis pellentesque. Nulla congue iaculis feugiat. Suspendisse euismod congue ultricies. Sed blandit neque in libero ultricies aliquam. Donec euismod eget diam vitae vehicula. Fusce hendrerit purus leo. Aenean malesuada, ante eu aliquet mollis, diam erat suscipit eros, in.


WILPF uses feminist analysis to argue that militarisation is a counter-productive and ill-conceived response to establishing security in the world. The more society becomes militarised, the more violence and injustice are likely to grow locally and worldwide.

Sixteen states are believed to have supplied weapons to Afghanistan from 2001 to 2020 with the US supplying 74 % of weapons, followed by Russia. Much of this equipment was left behind by the US military and is being used to inflate Taliban’s arsenal. WILPF is calling for better oversight on arms movement, for compensating affected Afghan people and for an end to all militarised systems.

Militarised masculinity

Mobilising men and boys around feminist peace has been one way of deconstructing and redefining masculinities. WILPF shares a feminist analysis on the links between militarism, masculinities, peace and security. We explore opportunities for strengthening activists’ action to build equal partnerships among women and men for gender equality.

WILPF has been working on challenging the prevailing notion of masculinity based on men’s physical and social superiority to, and dominance of, women in Afghanistan. It recognizes that these notions are not representative of all Afghan men, contrary to the publicly prevailing notion.

Feminist peace​

In WILPF’s view, any process towards establishing peace that has not been partly designed by women remains deficient. Beyond bringing perspectives that encapsulate the views of half of the society and unlike the men only designed processes, women’s true and meaningful participation allows the situation to improve.

In Afghanistan, WILPF has been demanding that women occupy the front seats at the negotiating tables. The experience of the past 20 has shown that women’s presence produces more sustainable solutions when they are empowered and enabled to play a role.

Skip to content