Women Waging Peace at the Grassroots – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Women Waging Peace at the Grassroots

The Hobart and William Smith Colleges Human Rights and Genocide Forum brings a second talk about the Women Waging Peace initiative.

(November 3, 2003) GENEVA, N.Y.–Visaka Dharmadasa, Josephine Perez, and Michal Miller are in the United States as part of Women Waging Peace's fifth annual Colloquium on Peace Building through Civil Society, held this year in Boston, Nov. 1-8. They will present “Waging Peace at the Grassroots: Sri Lanka, the Philippines, and Israel” at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 10, in the Geneva Room of the Warren Hunting Smith Library, on the Hobart and William Smith Colleges campus. The three will also visit various Colleges classes throughout the day on Nov. 11, and will hold a peacemakers workshop that afternoon. Their presentations at the Colleges are sponsored by the Human Rights and Genocide Forum, and are free and open to the public.

As the project coordinator of Hebrew University's Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace, Miller facilitates and researches for the joint Israeli-Palestinian program “Women and Nonviolent Approaches to Conflict Resolution.” This cross-community initiative investigates the role of women in peace building and nonviolence, with particular emphasis on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Miller recently traveled to Northern Ireland as part of an Israeli and Palestinian delegation examining the management of divided cities and exploring issues related to sharing resources, dealing with ongoing violence, and reintegrating ex-combatants, among others.

Dharmadasa is founder of Parents of Servicemen Missing in Action, chair of the Association of War-Affected Women, and secretary of the Kandy Association for War-Affected Families. Working to end the civil war that has gripped Sri Lanka for the last 20 years, she educates soldiers, youth, and community leaders about international standards of conduct in war and promotes the economic and social development of women across conflict lines. She has designed and facilitated dialogue processes bringing together influential civil society leaders from both sides of the conflict.

Perez is director of the Peace Education and Capacity-Building Program of the Gaston Z. Ortigas Peace Institute. The initiative institutionalizes and mainstreams civil society's long-term capacity for conflict resolution and peace building through case documentation and research on existing frameworks, practices, and efforts of local communities. A social psychologist, Perez believes that healing the damage caused by conflict is a key dimension of building peace. She works in partnership with the Sweden-based Olof Palme International Center to train peace workers, who often face great pressure in their jobs, in stress and crisis management. She teaches graduate-level courses in the psychology of peace and a seminar on group processes at the Ateneo de Manila University.

Women Waging Peace is an organization devoted to the full inclusion of women in peace processes, launched in 1999 to connect women in conflict areas to one another and to policy shapers worldwide. Hunt Alternatives Fund is a private foundation that advances innovative and inclusive approaches to social change.

The Human Rights and Genocide series was founded in 1999 to improve understanding of all life-annihilation processes inherent in our modern world. The program was expanded in 2002 to include issues of human rights. Past speakers include Greensboro Massacre survivor Sally Avery Bermanzohn, and Nobel Peace Prize winner and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel. The discussion series is supported by the Colleges' President, the Provost, the Fisher Center, the Department of Religious Studies, the Zachor Fund of Rochester, and by Hobart alumnus Dr. E.P. Franks.