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UNDP celebrates Asian women leaders and their male allies for building peace

October 23, 2014
23 October 2014, Bangkok – The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) will honour women peace advocates from six Asian countries on Friday at the N-Peace Awards 2014.  These women leaders and peace champions will be celebrated for their achievements at a marquee event in Bangkok, Thailand.

The ceremony will also highlight Asian men who strive alongside women for gender equality.

This high-level celebration is the conclusion of an annual regional campaign that received over 100 nominations from six participating countries – Indonesia, the Philippines, Afghanistan, Nepal, and first-time participants Myanmar and Pakistan.

“It is so important that we highlight the stories of women who are doing such inspiring work resolving and preventing conflict throughout Asia,” says Mr. Rosellini, UNDP’s Deputy Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific and Director of Bangkok Regional Hub.

“So often the only stories we hear about women in conflict-affected areas involves them as victims, as passively accepting their fate. In reality, in communities everywhere, women are the ones bringing different groups together to talk, encouraging reconciliation and negotiation. UNDP is honoured to be celebrating the tireless efforts of these women and their male allies,” he says.

To recognize and showcase the achievements of this year’s 11 awardees, UNDP is hosting a series of events throughout the day.

An exhibition, titled Unseen. Unheard. Untold, highlights the forgotten stories of Asian conflicts through the photographs of renowned photojournalists Philip Blenkinsop, Nic Dunlop and Tim Page.

The exhibit is open to the public from 24 to 26 October with the official opening taking place at 3pm at Siam Paragon’s Hall of Mirrors. It will feature special guests Khun Chadatip Chutrakul, CEO of Siam Paragon and a member of Forbes “Asia Power Women 2014,” and Sirinya Bishop, Thai model, actor and TV personality.

A film screening of short documentaries telling the personal stories of each awardee follows at 4.30pm, at Paragon Cineplex, Cinema 13.

The 2014 N-Peace Awards Ceremony and cocktail reception, to be held at VIE Hotel, starting at 7 p.m.

Judy Cheng-Hopkins, Special Adviser of the Secretary General on the University for Peace, will present the Untold Stories – Women Transforming their Communities awards to the five women from Afghanistan, Nepal, Myanmar, Indonesia, and Pakistan who are winners in this category. They were selected by over 8,000 members of the public in an online poll:
  • Bimala Kadayat (Nepal) works to socially reintegrate and reconcile children and youth who have been embroiled in Nepal’s armed conflicts.
  • Hasina Jalal (Afghanistan) is an advocate fighting for the rights of rural women in remote areas of Afghanistan.
  • Mi Kun Chan Non (Myanmar) is a devoted women’s rights activist working for Mon women to fight their marginalization.
  • Mona Parkash (Pakistan) is a grassroots education activist who promotes diversity and tolerance in the school she established when she was still a teenager.
  • Syarifah Aliyyah Shihab (Indonesia) works with Indonesia’s vulnerable youth to empower them and help them access a range of opportunities.
The 2014 special categories winners were chosen by an international selection panel of celebrated peace advocates. The winners include:
  • Miriam Coronel Ferrer (Philippines) and Hajji Khalil (Afghanistan) in the category Campaigning for Action - Women and Men Mobilizing for Peace. Miriam played a lead role in the comprehensive agreement on the Bangsamoro, which ended 30 years of conflict in southern Philippines. Hajji, a former fighter, now heads Badghis Provincial Peace Council and works for inclusive peace that empowers women.
  • Rabiah Jamal Beg (Pakistan) for Breaking Stereotypes – Women and Media. Rabiah became the first female crime reporter in her country and reported from some of the worst conflict zones.
  • Wai Wai Nu (Myanmar) and Shah Zaman (Pakistan) in the category the Peace Generation – Young Women and Men Building Peace. Wai Wai is a former political prisoner who has founded two NGOs with the aim of reducing hatred and discrimination, especially discrimination faced by her Rohingya people. Shah Zaman founded the Milky Way Youth Movement, an organization that supports young people to pursue education and become more involved in their communities in Pakistan.
  • Democracy and Peace Women Network (Myanmar), the first organization to win an N-Peace award, for the category Thinking Outside the Box – Bringing New Solutions to Persistent Problems. The women behind this organization work to empower those in Myanmar society facing persistent issues of discrimination and injustice.
The short documentaries of the awardees’ work that will be shown at the film screening will be available for the public to view from Monday, 27 October on the N-Peace YouTube channel: YouTube.com/N-Peace Network.  

N-Peace (Engage for Peace, Equality, Access, Community and Empowerment) is a multi-country initiative managed by UNDP.

Press are invited:
Official Opening of N-Peace’s UNSEEN. UNHEARD. UNTOLD exhibit, which will take place on 24 October 2014 at 3pm, the Hall of Mirrors (M Floor) Siam Paragon, Rama I Road, Bangkok, Thailand.

Available for interviews:   
All winners are available for interviews. For full biographies of the N-Peace Awardees 2014, go to http://n-peace.net/n-peace-awards .
Resource persons outlined below.

For more information, please contact:  
mahtab.haider@undp.org; +66 (0)9 2248 1876 or radhika.behuria@undp.org; +66 (0)8 1734 1513.
Follow the N-Peace Awards Ceremony and join the conversation:
Facebook.com/NPeaceNetwork | Twitter.com/@NPeaceNetwork | www.n-peace.net  

Resource Persons available for interview:
  • Luz Méndez (Guatemala) Peacebuilder and women’s rights advocate. Luz has a long history of advocating for gender equality in peacebuilding and in peace accord commitments. She is one of the very few women to have taken part in peace negotiations, having participated in the peace process that ended Guatemala's 36-year conflict. Her ongoing work with the National Union of Guatemalan Women sees Luz working to achieve justice for survivors of sexual violence during conflict.
  • Irene Santiago (The Philippines) Pioneering women’s rights advocate from Mindanao. Co-founder of the Mindanao Commission on Women, Irene has long influenced public policy regarding peace in Mindanao. From 2001-2004, Irene joined the government panel that negotiated peace with Moro Islamic Liberation Front, and was a signatory to the ceasefire agreement. Irene helped draft the Bangsamoro Basic Law, ensuring that women’s rights were enshrined.
  • Zahra’ Langhi (Libya) Strategist and activist for increased women’s political participation. Zahra’ is co-founder of Libyan Women’s Platform for Peace and a strong advocate of the need for women and women’s rights to be fully integrated in the transition to democracy. Named by Helen Clark as a “woman to watch in global politics,” Zahra’s tireless efforts have seen Libyan women demanding their right to political participation – women now account for 16% of Libya’s parliamentarians.
  • Judy Cheng-Hopkins (Malaysia) Peacebuilding expert and Special Adviser of the Secretary General on the University for Peace. Judy has had a long and successful UN career spanning over 30 years covering development and humanitarian work in Africa and Asia. Before taking up here current position she was Assistant Secretary-General for Peacebuilding Support. She has received the prestigious Global Leadership Award (2013) from Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs and is one of “The 10 Most Powerful Women at the UN”. 

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