From May 24-26, we joined some 400 diverse peacebuilding experts, practitioners, policymakers, and NGO representatives at the Alliance for Peacebuilding’s (AfP) annual conference in Washington, DC. The theme of the gathering, “Next Gen Peace”, spoke to the future of peacebuilding as a field, and the three days were full of energy, insightful panels, and thought-provoking discussions. For us, the event was a time to listen and learn from others, share our own work, and collaborate with the AfP community to encourage greater support for local peacebuilding, including the critical role of youth as peacebuilders. Our experience at the conference highlighted six key lessons for the future of peacebuilding.
The impact of conflict on women is often overlooked, despite the effects being clear. Ninety per cent of all casualties sustained are civilian, of which a significant amount are women. That’s why we believe a female perspective is integral to the peacebuilding process. With our help, women in conflict zones are now taking action to promote peace both within their local communities and further afield.
The determination and courage of Pakistani peacebuilder, Gulalai Ismail, have won her international recognition and admiration. In the past few months Gulalai Ismail, founder of Aware Girls, has been recognised with three invitations to the USA. As recognition for the success of Aware Girls, this year Gulalai also received the Democracy Award from the National Endowment for Democracy in the US Congress