IPJ Program Officer Zahra Ismail recounts her experience from two-day training in Turkey on September 25 – 26, 2013.
For two days 18 women peacebuilders from 13 countries in the Middle East, Africa and Asia came together in Istanbul-a city rich in history and diversity. The training entitled “Women In Peacebuilding: Enhancing Skills and Practice” was put together by Mediators Beyond Borders, an international mediation capacity building and advocacy organization, and facilitated by myself and four other skilled and experienced trainers with Irish, Iranian, Indian and American roots.
Over our time together we practiced skills, shared experiences, laughed, cried, danced, sang, and shared our collective wisdom and stories of struggle and success. Among this powerful group of women were three IPJ women PeaceMakers, Radha Paudel (2012) of Nepal, Rashad Zaydan (2011) of Iraq and Vaiba Flomo (2010) of Liberia.
Radha the founder and president of Action Works Nepal (AWON), known as a true changemaker and “someone who makes things happen” shared with me as we were saying our goodbye how participating in the training had further built up her confidence. Through our two days together she uncovered the realization that despite not having formal training in mediation prior to this—these were skills and tools she was already using in her work everyday.
For myself, being in the presence of such passionate, inspiring and powerful women left me bubbling with motivation for all the possibilities that lay ahead. As we move forward, the hope is to provide a platform for continued mentorship, support and exchange ensuring that these women, often working in isolation, have a constant reminder that they are not alone.