16th - 19th of March 2014
The nine female members of the High Peace Council of Afghanistan, accompanied by 3 female advisors from the Joint Secretariat, travelled to Berlin for a 3-day seminar focusing on the role of women in peace processes. The seminar was organized by the Berghof Foundation in cooperation with the German Federal Foreign Office.
During the seminar, the women discussed in detail the opportunities and capacities of women to influence the peace process in Afghanistan and debated the strategies for ensuring a place for women at the negotiating table. They were joined in their discussions by Shadia Marhaban from Aceh, Indonesia and Amat Alsoswa from Yemen, women who play leading roles in the peace processes within their respective countries. Further topics under discussion were the incorporation of the needs of women into peace negotiations, promoting a holistic view of peace – with social and economic elements as well as issues of equality and empowerment – and establishing a “culture of peace” in Afghanistan.
In the framework of a press conference, the members of the High Peace Council (HPC) had the opportunity to inform the German press about their current campaign “Women’s Call for Ceasefire and Peace”, through which they collected over 250,000 signatures from women throughout the country in support of peace.
On the final day of the seminar the members of the HPC delegation met with Ambassador Dr. Michael Koch, Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan at the Federal Foreign Office as well as four members of parliament: Edelgard Bulmahn (SPD, Vice-President of Parliament), Franziska Brantner (Green Party), Barbara Kofler (SPD) and Roderich Kiesewetter (CDU). Senator Sediqa Balkhi submitted the Afghan Women’s Call for Peace and Ceasefire to Dr. Koch and Mrs Bulmahn and both expressed their recognition of the campaign and promised further support for Afghan women.