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When a Small Bunch of Young Women Envision Peace

We are a small bunch. We are a group of young women from Bosnia and Herzegovina. We gathered around a Peace Academy Project, organized by Kvinna till Kvinna, to undergo a training in peace, conflict transformation, and the role of women. Guided by the Security Council Resolution 1325, our country’s history of war and our own experiences and hopes, we embarked on a journey that served as a test to our own beliefs and narratives, which we surrounded ourselves with.

Giving a woman’s perspective on peacebuilding is as important as protecting women from violence and discrimination. For much too long, peace missions and negotiations have been dominated by men and their visions of peace as absence of war. As we discovered during our training, peace isn’t only absence of war, it is absence of fear – fear from violence, fear from existential hardships, fear from your government, from your boss or your partner. Once liberated from such terrors, one can truly live in peace.

The Post 2015 agenda addresses well the issues related to the importance of building peaceful and inclusive societies. However, more prominence has to be given to the role of women in these processes. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, women have not been an equal partner in peacebuilding and statebuilding. The same men who started the conflict or had been involved in some way or another, have been creating their vision of peace based on populist ideologies and politics of fear.

Now, 20 years after the war, women are trying to take over the role which they had been deprived of, and are shedding light on all the gaps made in the process of transition and recovery. I believe us to be a part of this initiative, as our peace training gave us the opportunity to rethink our roles in the society and the narratives we grew up with and directly or indirectly supported. We are 41 young women. We are going to share our view of peace with women in our communities through several small projects and we are going to help create the Young Women’s Peace Charter together with young women from Serbia, Kosovo, Sweden, Armenia and Azerbaijan. We are a small bunch, but we are making things happen.

Erma Mulabdic is a young feminist activist from Bosnia and Herzegovina is participating in the Young Women’s Peace Academy