Welcome to the “Breaking Barriers” Conference

The following is an excerpt from opening remarks given by IPJ Deputy Director Dee Aker, on Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2012.


Gathered with steadfast partners and 10 generations of IPJ Women PeaceMakers from 30 countries, we join together to confront the scope and magnitude of gender-based violence, discrimination and exploitation. We connect across disciplines, sectors and nationalities to build stronger platforms for action. Here, we can collaborate to form strong responses to the global scourge, to work for our collective human bond on this small green world.


Together, we have seen the costs of conflict, the physical and moral costs of ignorance. We convened this conference to dismantle the barriers by articulating a perception of the world that is secure and just. The words of Rio and Beijing are with us still. The challenge of human trafficking, impunity, arms trade and patriarchy are boulders impinging on our collective path to peace. We must articulate strategies to chip away at these blockages, with clarity, precision and concrete plans that span different sectors.


The sense of urgency is palpable. It is not sufficient merely to expose the multiple forms these gendered barriers. We have the opportunity to construct building blocks to overcome these obstacles. We must be negotiators, advisors, advocates and peacebuilders. Through policy recommendations and active contributions, we have the power to protect communities and promote women’s participation in the governing of new democracies. At the end of these three days, we will have a report and strong statements that we can disseminate around the world. We can cooperate to communicate our needs, in real time, to inform and influence what is truly safe and just for us all.

More information on the 10th anniversary of the Women PeaceMakers Program and the international conference “Breaking Barriers: What it will take to achieve security, justice and peace.”