Women say, Jai Jagat!


JAI JAGAT! Glory to the world, glory to all! When women from different cultures sing this transformational Hindi song calling for peace in the world and active participation in the fight against poverty, the bonds of sisterhood becomes palpable and space for public leadership widens further in their hearts and minds.

Jai Jagat is a campaign launched by the organization Ekta Parishad, an organization based in India, to culminate on the year 2020 highlighting the role of minority communities across the world in taking control over land and natural resources to fight poverty.

Ekta Parishad explains further that “Jai Jagat actually means VICTORY OF THE WORLD. That is very close to the concept of Sarvodaya (‘well being of all’) that was given by Mahatma Gandhi. The underlying principle is that, if there is a victory then it should be the victory of our common humanity not the victory of one nation over another. The victory should also be based on the victory of living commodiously together, and of people coexisting with nature. If the victory is for everyone and for everything, then this is the best. A modern world needs to imbibe these new values, the values of Jai Jagat and Gandhi’s notion of Sarvodaya.”

WOMEN LEAD PEACE. 30 women leaders from all over the world claim the public space to promote nonviolence and peace. (PBR)

This is the vibe that permeated throughout the five-day International Conference on Women’s Public Leadership in the Pursuit of Peace held on March 23 to 27, 2017 at the Eugenio Lopez Center in Antipolo, Rizal.

Organized by Ekta Parishad and the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, the conference tackled the issues of Women Public Leadership in the Pursuit of Peace by Irene Santiago, GRP chair of the implementing panel of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission; Non-violent Conflict Resolution in the Ghandian Tradition by Jill Carr-Harris (USA); Case studies on non-violent remedies for ethnic, political and communal violence which had representatives from Thailand, Cambodia and India sharing insights, and; Case studies on non-violent action regarding land grabbing, resource extraction and agricultural industrialization with women from Cambodia, Kyrgyztan and India leading the discussions.

Santiago, on women’s involvement in public spaces, said that “only social movements can bring about social change” and the women who were effective in peace had all come from movements. Having worked with indigenous and Muslim women most of her life, she said “if by tradition, women and girls are tasked to set the family dining table, then another table has been put up to which can be attributed some of the successful stages of the talks, the peace table is set-up and put into strategic position by the women themselves.”

“Words make our world,” Santiago said and women should be mindful of how they frame their messages to achieve the kind of change they want.

Public spaces are venues where policies and decisions about resources, that is why it becomes necessary to have more women in public spaces and for them to claim that public space.

On the second day, women discussed the issue of the role of women in preventing violent extremism by Mosarrat Quadeem of Bangladesh, and an input by Amina Rasul on violent extremism in the Philippines and how the Bangsamoro women are addressing it.

Former Gabriela partylist Representative Luz C. Ilagan also gave the long history of struggle of women and their important role in peacebuilding.

Mags Maglana, who facilitated the conference, it was a moment where “all incredible women (are) together in this incredible space at this incredible time.”

The conference was attended by 11 international participants from Cambodia, Thailand, Kyrgyztan, India, Switzerland and USA and 15 Muslim and indigenous peoples representative from the Philippines.

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Advisory Committee: Yves Berthelot (France),  PV Rajagopal (India), Vandana Shiva (India), Oliver de Schutter (Belgium), Mazide N’Diaye (Senegal), Gabriela Monteiro (Brazil), Irakli Kakabadze (Georgia), Anne Pearson (Canada), Liz Theoharis (USA), Sulak Sivaraksa (Thailand), Jagat Basnet (Nepal), Miloon Kothari (India),  Irene Santiago (Philippines), Arsen Kharatyan (Armenia), Margrit Hugentobler (Switzerland), Jill Carr-Harris (Canada/India), Reva Joshee (Canada), Sonia Deotto (Mexico/Italy),Benjamin Joyeux (Geneva/France), Aneesh Thillenkery, Ramesh Sharma, Ran Singh (India)