Human Security: A Conversation

HumanSecurityAConversationIn Social Research
Women’s Learning Partnership for Rights, Development, and Peace organized a conversation to map out an approach to a definition of the concept of human security. The participants discussed the concept of human security in order to identify the parameters as well as the limits of the traditional definition of human security, and to broaden it to encompass a wider spectrum of both human material and spiritual needs. They agreed to base their discussion on a value system that puts people’s welfare at, the center; emphasizes power sharing at all levels; and promotes an economic framework that encourages sustainable development, social justice, human rights, gender equality; and democracy. The conversation is a prelude to organizing a policy action group on human security with the support of the WLP and the Commission on Globalization.

Epilogue: Our Shared Human Values

Epilogue Our Shared Human ValuesIn To Mend the World: Women Reflect on 9/11
We seem to have passed the era of absolutes. We have the ability to achieve, if we master the necessary goodwill, a common global society blessed with a shared culture of peace that is nourished by the ethnic, national, and local diversities that enrich our lives. To achieve this blessing, however, we must assess our present situation realistically, assign moral and practical responsibility to individuals, communities, and countries commensurate with their objective ability and, most importantly, subordinate power in all its manifestations to our shared human values.

Toward A Compassionate Society

compassionatesociety2002 / Women’s Learning Partnership / Bethesda, MD
Introduction available online

Towards a Compassionate Society is an anthology focusing on women’s roles in conflict resolution, peace building, and democracy in a culturally and politically diverse world. It addresses the importance of cultural pluralism and women’s role in promoting…

Toward A Compassionate Society: Introduction

compassionatesocietyWe achieved an incredible capacity for doing good or evil in the past hundred years. How do we go from here to a compassionate society? Will the society of tomorrow be anything like our idea of what a caring society should be– a society based on fairness, equity, help to the needy, community, family, an ethical system that stresses the value of the “other?” In a world of instant communication and interconnection, in a world of diverse cultures and standards, how do we uphold common values and how do we live those values? Is a compassionate society possible if we barricade ourselves in or others out by erecting economic, political, psychological, or moral walls that in simple language translate as jails, ghettos, borders, and institutional discrimination? Can a compassionate society be constructed on the notion of exclusivity? If not, how is it possible to overcome the odds?

Architects of Peace

Essay in Architects of Peace: Visions of Hope in Words and Images / Michael Collopy and Jason Gardener (eds.) / Also in Persian
A compilation of essays by 75 leading peacemakers – spiritual leaders, politicians, scientists, artists, and activists. Afkhami states that, “The end of the Cold War removed the immediate causes of wholesale destruction–but not the threat that is contained in our knowledge. We must tame this knowledge with the ideals of justice, caring, and compassion summoned from our common human spiritual and moral heritage, if we are to live in peace and serenity in the 21st century.”

A Woman in Exile

AWomenInExileMapofHopeIn A Map of Hope / Marjorie Agosin (ed.)
We have learned first hand that nothing is worth the suffering, death, and destruction brought about by ideologies that in their fervor uproot so much and destroy so many and then fade away, blow up, or self-destruct. We have paid with the days of our lives for the knowledge that nothing good or beautiful can come from harshness and ugliness.

Fashioning A Moral Future: Gorbachev Forum Ponders Weaponry, Women and War

San Francisco Chronicle / By Catherine Bowman
In a discussion that included author Betty Friedan, naturalist Jane Goodall and former Congresswoman Bella Abzug, several panelists said the 21st century will be defined by women’s leadership. Nevertheless, women have a long way to go. Mahnaz Afkhami, executive director of the Foundation for Iranian Studies, said fewer than 11 percent of legislators worldwide are women.

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