Nobel Peace Prize 2011 winner Leymah Gbowee made a passionate plea on Thursday to those who work in conflict zones around the world to include women as equal partners in the journey toward peace.
Gbowee spoke at the Women, Peace and Security Conference held at the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island. She led a women’s movement that helped end Liberia’s civil war in the early 2000s.
“In 2003, even in the war in Liberia, it was the mothers in different communities who came and said, ‘Come, guns are hidden there, guns are over there,’” she said at the conference. “Without these mothers who are the keepers of the secrets of the communities, we would not have known that many of the young men -- who were parading by day as decent citizens -- were killers by night.”
Gbowee insisted that it’s time to redefine what we mean by peace and security.
“The peace and security agenda is not just a military agenda,” she said. “It is an agenda that considers people, their lives, their livelihood, their right to self-determination, their right to expression, their right to political participation.”
The annual conference aims to empower women in conflict prevention and peace.