Pax Christi International Peace Award 2015
Women, Peace and Security Collective for Reflection and Action (Colombia)
PRESS RELEASE, Bethlehem, 16 May 2015
Pax Christi International is pleased to grant its 2015 Peace Award to the Women, Peace and Security Collective for Reflection and Action (Colectivo de Pensamiento y Acción Mujeres, Paz y Seguridad) in Colombia for making visible and encouraging the essential contribution of women to peacebuilding in their country and for their work to promote an ethical transformation of Colombian society as the path towards sustainable peace. Established in 1988, the Award is funded by the Cardinal Bernardus Alfrink Peace Fund and honours contemporary individuals and organisations who make a stand for peace, justice and non-violence in different parts of the world.
Founded in October 2011, the Collective is a women’s network that currently brings together women from different social and professional backgrounds (religious, ex-combatants, indigenous, afro-descendants, journalists, academics, human rights defenders, union leaders, etc.), as well as organisations committed to a revolution in ethics as the basis for sustainable and lasting peace in Colombia.
The Collective’s flagship initiative is the “Ethical Pact for a Country in Peace,” a civil society framework agreement for the ethical transformation of Colombia. This initiative points out that in order to achieve lasting peace, efforts beyond official peace talks between the Government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) will be necessary. The Pact is a 15-point plan promoting a series of value-based steps that Colombian society must undergo for sustainable peace. One highlight is the importance of an inclusive dialogue for peace where women’s participation is actively sought and encouraged.
Speaking at the Peace Award Ceremony held in Bethlehem, on 16 May, during Pax Christi’s week-long 70th anniversary celebrations in this city, Pax Christi International Co-President Marie Dennis, acknowledged the Collective’s pivotal work in challenging women’s traditionally limited assigned role in the building of peace in Colombia. She further highlighted the important contribution that women play worldwide in conflict transformation and peacebuilding at local level: “Pax Christi International’s history has been marked by the presence of courageous women who have led ordinary but significant peace initiatives at the local level. Our experience has helped us understand the important contribution of women to peace dynamics in every society.”