Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson Hosted A World of Women for World Peace Conference
DALLAS, TX – On Saturday, April 29, 2017, Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson hosted her annual conference, A World of Women for World Peace at UNT Dallas College of Law.
The conference is held annually to bring a greater visibility to women who are victims of war and aggression and women who promote peacemaking, peacekeeping and peace-building activities in their communities. This year’s conference addressed the Israel-Palestine peace process and promoted a discussion of new ideas for a lasting solution to the conflict. “I believe a two state solution is necessary in settling the conflict between Israel and Palestine,” said Congresswoman Johnson.
The conference featured a panel of three dynamic individuals who are peace activists and promote peacebuilding along with two keynote speakers. The keynote speakers were Hamutal Gouri and Yousef Bashir. Hamutal Gouri, serves as the Executive Director for the Dafna Fund, responsible for working with the board to develop grant making strategies and priorities, initiate proactive programs designed to strengthen the feminist and women's organizations arena in Israel. As they discussed ways to promote peace Ms. Gouri said, “There is nothing more beautiful than to see a woman, a girl or a boy, stepping in and saying I can make a difference and I have to make a difference. We all have to make a difference.”
The second keynote speaker was Yousef Bashir, a Palestinian Peacemaker who grew up in the Gaza Strip where his family’s home had been taken over by the Israeli military. Later he was shot by an Israeli officer yet received treatment from an Israeli doctor. This life changing experience taught him there was an opportunity for coexistence, so today he works to bridge the gap between Palestinians and Israelis. While paying tribute at the conference to his late father – who influenced his dedication to peacebuilding in the region, Mr. Bashir said, “If there is any place that we need and should enjoy peace it is the Holy Land – Jerusalem. I truly believe that this is where East meets West and if we are not able to have peace there, then it shouldn’t be a surprise when we cannot have peace elsewhere.”
The other notable panelists were Imam Omar Suleiman, Muslim Community Leader; Rabbi Nancy Kasten; Reverend Vonciel Jones Hill. The panelists and keynote speakers engaged with participants in a Q&A session as well. Additionally Congresswoman Johnson awarded Ms. Gouri and Mr. Bashir both with the Tomorrow’s Peace-builder Award (pictured above).
Through “A World of Women for World Peace,” Congresswoman Johnson has worked tirelessly to bring attention to women on the forefront of the peace movement. It is her firm belief that the burden of peacemaking and peace building must be a shared responsibility that encompasses all, regardless of race, class, gender and religion. Congresswoman Johnson saw young boys holding machine guns in Liberia on the cover of a magazine and questioned how our world had come to this point of war and aggression. She thought of how Mother’s Day was founded by a woman that wanted to honor her own mother who was a peace activist, caring for soldiers on both sides during the Civil War. She strongly believed that she also needed to promote peace and diplomacy in the world.
Pictures from the conference can be viewed here.