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Organization: International Federation of University Women
The following information may be cited or quoted as long as the source is accurately mentioned and the words are not taken out of context.
Posted: April 13 2005,17:06 If you wrote this report, you will find a button here that you may click
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PROGRESS: Has your organization seen progress toward a culture of peace and nonviolence in your domain of action and in your constituency during the first half of the Decade?


The International Federation of University Women was founded in 1919 following World War I in the hope of preventing further such catastrophes. Eighty-five years later the world still faces strife on many fronts and promoting international cooperation, friendship, peace and human rights remains a top priority in fulfilling the mission of IFUW.  
Our founders recognized the need for national diversity.  IFUW, with members in seventy-eight countries, does not espouse the politics of any country or group of countries.  We do, however, firmly believe that our energies and expertise as educated women must be directed toward the promotion of peaceful means of resolving conflict. "Women: Agents for Change" is the IFUW programme theme for the years 2004 - 2007. One of the three key areas where action is needed internationally, nationally and locally is Human security and Peace. All IFUW Affiliates are encouraged to continue their involvement for a more secure and peaceful society (see IFUW website at: http://www.ifuw.org/programme/index.htm).

Reports from IFUW national affiliates of progress in establishing a culture of peace and non-violence:

Reports of progress dealing with a number of issues were received from:
(a) The Australian Federation of University Women (AFUW),
(b) The Canadian Federation of University Women (CFUW),
(c) The New Zealand Federation of Graduate Women (NZFGW),
(d) The South African Association of Women Graduates (SAAWG),
(e) The University Women's Association of Singapore (UWAS),
(f) The Finnish Federation of University Women (FFUW),
(g) The Japanese Association of University Women (JAUW),
(h) The Mexican Federation of University Women (FEMU),
(i) The Nigerian Association of University Women (NAUW),
(j) The Carbondale, Illinois Branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW).
(k) The Norwegian Federation of University Women

The details of actions, obstacles, areas of action, types of action, partnerships and future plans taken by each of these National Federations and Associations (NFAs) are shown below under ACTIONS or listed separately (see links under ACTIONS).

In addition to these reports, in the International Federation of University Women (IFUW) publication "IFUW in Action 2001-2004" published in August 2004, under the chapter headed Human Rights, Human Security and Peace there are reports of projects undertaken by several of the National Federations and Associations (NFAs) named above in addition to the following:

* The Moldovan Association dealing with the rights of women held in detention and also protecting the rights of victims of violence

* The Indian Federation of University Women (IFUWA) dealing with sexual harassment of women in the workplace

* L'Association Française de Femmes Diplômées des Universités (AFFDU) seeking solutions to counter sexual and sexist violence in schools; bullying and aggressive, violent behaviour in schools

* The Association Guinéenne des Femmes Diplômées des Universités (AGUIFEDU), carried out a study, financed by UNESCO, of violence in middle and high schools Conakry, Guinea.

* The Vanuatu Association of Women Graduates (VAWG) developed material and educated people about changes in the Magistrate's Courts and how they affect victims of domestic violence;

* The Israel Association of University Women has lobbied Parliament and Ministries for programmes and materials to teach children how to avoid violence; for better implementation of sexual harassment legislation and increased penalties for domestic violence.

* The Sri Lankan Federation of University Women (SLFUW) has been a partner in national efforts to obtain legislation on gender-based violence.

At the 28th IFUW Triennial Conference held in Perth, Western Australia in August 2004 the Interdisciplinary Seminar Programme included a Seminar on a Culture of Peace in which individual members of IFUW from 9 different countries (Cameroon, Costa Rica, Ghana, India, Israel, Nigeria, Norway, Uganda, and USA) presented papers that described efforts on the part of national governments, local communities, educational institutions and private sector organizations to:
* Promote gender issues,
* Empower women,
* Eradicate discrimination and violence against women
* Foster the values of tolerance and understanding among people
* Reduce conflict
* Create a culture of peace.

The executive summaries and, in some cases, the full paper from this seminar can be read on the IFUW website www.ifuw.org

OBSTACLES: What are the most important obstacles that have prevented progress?

Obstacles differ from one region to another.  See Japan below and separate reports from Australia, South Africa and Singapore (links are below under ACTIONS).

ACTIONS: What actions have been undertaken by your organization to promote a culture of peace and nonviolence during the first half of the Decade?

Details of individual National and Federation and Association (NFA) Actions undertaken and submitted for this report:

Click on the following for separate reports listed under the forums for:

(a) Australia
(b) Canada
( c ) New Zealand
(d) South Africa
(e) Singapore

(f) The Finnish Federation of University Women (FFUW)

The FFUW has no national projects in relation to the Culture of Peace that it initiates.  Nationally all efforts by Finnish women are coordinated centrally by the National Council of Women of Finland (Naisjarjestojen Keskusliitto - Kvinnoorganisationernas Centralforbund) Information about the work of Finnish women can be found at www.naisjarjestojenkeskusliitto.fi

(g) The Japanese Association of University Women (JAUW)

JAUW has no national projects on a Culture of Peace.  Two Case studies undertaken by in one case a Branch of JAUW and in the other case a Standing Committee of JAUW were submitted.

* Case One:  Seminars-on-demand on Gender Equality discussing 'ways to live together' have been carried out by the Ibaraki Branch of JAUW.   Concern has been identified about suicide by middle-aged women, juvenile violent crime, domestic violence and child abuse.  Seminar formats held during 2004 included:
- A joint seminar with another group with the same goal of gender equality
- A brainstorming session with township officers and the town's gender equality committee members
- A session targeted at middle-aged women in an apartment complex hall
- At a workplace with nurses
- Side by side with a symposium on marriage
- At a regular town hall meeting for both men and women.

* Case Two:  Carried out by the Education Committee of JAUW, research is being carried out on helping Exchange students to understand Japanese culture.  Activities include theatre, museum visits, kimono dressing, tea ceremony, concerts etc.  The aim is to increase understanding and tolerance between both Japanese students and exchange students.


In Case one it was found to be difficult to translate equality into everyday, real-life context for both men and women; also to secure all-out involvement of local administration in gender equality.  It was also felt that when women's problems are put into a human rights framework they become obscured.

In Case two having a membership large enough to support the cost of the programmes was a problem because the exchange students saw them as being very popular for whom there was no cost.

(h) The Mexican Federation of University Women (FEMU)

FEMU Actions have addressed the issue of Violence Against Children as follows:

* By providing economic, medical, educational and psychological support for abused women and children at a Centre for Comprehensive Assistance for Abused Women, named Fortaleza, in Mexico City.

* By assisting agencies of the state government and other NGOs with the establishment of a similar house to the one above in the state of Hildago.

* Is seeking to establish a similar refuge in Acapulco.

* In 2004 FEMU published a book by Patricia Galeana, Coordinator of Women's Human rights in Mexico.  This included a 26 page Chapter on Violations of Children's Human Rights in Mexico.

* In November 2004 Femu organized an International 2 day Seminar at Sonora University, on migration issues that included a Workshop on Children

Future Plans include a Workshop on Infant Labour and the new Family Structure in Mexico to be held in April 2005 at the Faculty of Policy Sciences at the National University of Mexico.

(i) The Nigerian Association of University Women (NAUW)

Action undertaken:

The years 2001-2002 were years, which saw an escalation of violence in Nigeria due to ethnic and religious uprising and the introduction of Sharia Law.  The University students also were involved in ‘cult' clashes.  

To address this NAUW organized a National Workshop on "The Role of Women in Conflict Prevention and Resolution".  The purpose was to sensitise the public on the need for peace and sustainable growth and the role of women in achieving these goals.

The workshop was very successful because of the large attendance and the patronage provided and also because a book titled "Nigerian Women in Peace Education and Conflict Resolution" was published.  The workshop events were also well covered by the media and the Project was recognized with second place in the 2001-04 IFUW Project Challenge Competition.

(j) The Carbondale, Illinois Branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW)

* The action taken by this branch was to host a 10 member Russian delegation during October 2004 as part of the Open world Programme sponsored by the US Congress.  The aim was to promote peace and understanding between the US and Russia through a short term training programme, hospitality and cross-cultural exchange.  

The project, "Women as leaders in Elections 2005" included 2 facilitators and 8 women who were leaders in their respective fields of work.  The project included familiarization with the US political system, election and leadership issues and small business development.

(k) The Norwegian Association of University Women planned a Seminar on Peace in the autumn of 2003.  Although they had excellent speakers and financial support they were unable to proceed with it because too few participants enrolled for them to be able to proceed.  The Norwegian Association believes that it is becoming increasingly difficult to interest younger women in issues of a societal nature.

ADVICE: What advice would you like to give to the Secretary-General and the General Assembly to promote a culture of peace and nonviolence during the second half of the Decade?

The following advice is offered from University Women in South Africa and Singapore respectively:

a) Raise awareness about the need to extend advocacy around a culture of peace and non-violence among schoolboys.  For example, through such projects as SAAWG's Johannesburg Aurora project which addresses confidence-development in schoolgirls.

Informal approaches to heads of boys' schools in South Africa have so far met with negative responses.

b) Further consciousness-raising around the need to involve the world's men in the annual 16-days of Activism against Violence and Abuse international campaign, by extension advocating a 365-day worldwide campaign.

* * * * * *

Promoting a culture of peace and non-violence is a continuous effort, which should be a main focus in education. It is vital to start with an education that subscribes to values that promote life long learning that fosters positive communication, creative problem solving and respect.

PARTNERSHIPS: What partnerships and networks does your organization participate in, thus strengthening the global movement for a culture of peace?

Partnerships differ from one region to another.  See separate reports from  Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa (links are above under ACTIONS)

PLANS: What new engagements are planned by your organization to promote a culture of peace and nonviolence in the second half of the Decade (2005-2010)?

Future plans differ from one region to another.  See report above from Mexico and separate reports from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa and Singapore ((links are above under ACTIONS)

Postal address of organization

8 rue de l'Ancien-Port,  CH-1201 Geneva, Switzerland

E-mail address of organization


Website address of organization


Highest priority action domain of a culture of peace

Second priority action domain of a culture of peace

Highest priority country of action (or international)


Second priority country of action (or international)

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Organization: International Federation of University Women

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