Shadia Marhaban at the 2021 ASEAN Regional Forum Workshop on Women, Peace, and Security

Shadia Marhaban, MBBI’s 2017 Peacemaker of the Year and Southeast Asian Representative was a featured speaker at the 2021 ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) Workshop on Women, Peace, and Security (WPS).

Shadia was a panelist and speaker on the opening panel of the conference, which focused on how “ARF’s work on WPS can be linked to global initiatives to advance the WPS agenda. Several presentations by respected WPS experts will provide participants with a history of the WPS agenda, an understanding of current and emerging issues in this context, including COVID-19, and provide a framework for the WPS agenda in the Southeast Asia region.” 

Her main takeaways: 

#1: How far has ASEAN has come and grown. “What I mean by growing is that we mature and understand conflict better than before. I come from Aceh and if we look at the Aceh process from 3 decades of conflict, we have created peace and still remains peaceful until today.”

#2: We have a pool of women mediators in Southeast Asia from civil society leaders, government representatives, and various stakeholders. They are respected and high-profile in this region.

#3: Timor Leste, as a new country and post-conflict, can teach us about the real implementation of sustainable peace in the region and reconciliation.

#4: I feel that it is time to share. We have sufficient knowledge and we need to take the responsibility to share this knowledge with the world.

#5: WPS is not about getting women into the table but it’s about setting our own table and taking the lead. My friend from Kenya always said, “If you are not sitting at the table, YOU ARE ON THE MENU.”

#6: I think many of us who are sitting here have the capacity to create peace and contribute our best practices, lessons learned, knowledge, and wisdom to the world.