Last month, Secretary General Madeleine Rees gave a speech at the 2014 Rotary Peace Fellows Seminar, held at the University of Bradford.

Following the seminar’s theme of “Inspiring Action: building peace and justice together,” she drew on her international experiences to discuss the changing narrative of war and gender. She highlighted the importance of including a gender analysis, since “a real gender analysis would look at the structures of power, who has it, who owns it, and how it impacts on men and women in all areas of their lives.”

Reflecting on the prevalence of war over the last 100 years, she asks why we have failed to learn lessons and why we continue to repeat mistakes in Ukraine and Syria in particular.

Madeleine_6983“We have a choice; we either let things continue, and I fear we know where this will end, or we decide actively to engage in getting our governments to change the narrative of confrontation. Crises can only be dealt with, ultimately, through political negotiation, the longer it is left the more difficult it gets, the greater the entrenchment of our dysfunctional narrative and the less likely it is that we can achieve the deep peace that is needed.”

Read the rest of Madeleine Rees’s speech and follow her call for change!