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Adoption of the WILPF Manifesto: renewing a centennial commitment to peacemaking

23 April 2015

Today, 23 April 2015, marks an historic moment for WILPF, as we celebrate the founding of the organisation 100 years ago and renew our commitment to peacemaking by adopting the WILPF 2015 Manifesto.

ABOUT 300 WILPF WOMEN GET TOGETHER TO DISCUSS THE MANIFESTO
WILPF members vote raise a yellow card to vote for the appoval of the WILPF 2015 Manifesto
WILPF members raise a yellow card to vote for the appoval of the WILPF 2015 Manifesto

The WILPF 2015 Manifesto, the official declaration of our organisation’s intentions, views and work, has just been adopted by an overwhelming majority here in The Hague, the Netherlands, where WILPF was founded 100 years ago.

The adoption of the document was the culmination of a passionate and enriching discussion during which almost 300 WILPF members from all over the world contributed with their ideas and points of view. Members attending the Centennial Congress, the highest decision making body of WILPF, discussed in particular the potential of the Manifesto as a roadmap to sustainable peace at the grassroots, local and international level.

A COLLECTIVE PROJECT

The Manifesto is the result of a long collaborative drafting and revising process, which included all of our Sections, the Executive Committee, International Board and Anniversary Political Working Group.

“The Manifesto as it appears on the Agenda of Congress has been considered and shaped by many members, so it should be seen in some sense as a collective project” affirms Cynthia Cockburn, main author of the document.

Cynthia Cockburn is a feminist researcher and writer, honorary professor at the Department of Sociology at City University London and at the Centre for the Study of Women and Gender at Warwick University.

COMMEMORATING THE PAST AND LOOKING AT FUTURE CHALLENGES

“Reading back carefully into our past renewed my confidence in what WILPF has always stood for,” continues Cockburn. ”I thought recalling those guiding principles, while simultaneously imagining the challenges ahead, might help us reinvest our energies in our beliefs.”

The WILPF 2015 Manifesto is coming at the right moment. 20 years after the Beijing Conference, 15 years after the UN Security Council resolution 1325, 15 years after the Millennium Development Goals and 60 years after the foundation of the UN, the world is still torn by wars. Now more than ever it seems that we all need to scale up our efforts to promote sustainable peace.

UNITING A TRANSFORMATIVE PEACE MOVEMENT

“We are face to face with a hard truth. International mechanisms we’ve trusted, and indeed put a lot of our own effort into creating, are proving unable to end injustice and stop war. So we remember the ones in WILPF who never gave up on the word ‘revolution’,” explains Cockburn.

“We see that only radically transformative movements, inspired by feminist principles and led by the most excluded of women, are likely to bring equality, justice, love and non-violence” she concludes.

Read here the final version of the WILPF 2015 Manifesto.

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Melissa Torres

VICE-PRESIDENT

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

VICE-PRESIDENT

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

PRESIDENT

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

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Demilitarisation

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.

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