Report: UNSCR 1325 on PEACE, WOMEN, SECURITY & SECULARISM

On Thursday April 11, The Light Millennium led and hosted a UN related side event under the theme of Peace, Women, Security & Secularism (PWSS) in reflection of the 19th Anniversary of the Unite Nations Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security. Along with the UNSCR #1325 & Secularism main concept, the event presented in support of and in conjunction with the SDGs 5, 16 and 17.
Report on the UNSCR 1325 On PEACE, WOMEN, SECURITY & SECULARISM Event
by: Jonathon CUMMINGS,
Partnership Manager, World Human Accountability Organization & in collaboration with Bircan Ünver, The Light Millennium

UNSCR 1325 & Secularism (in short) program was Co-Organized by the Azerbaijan Society of America, and Co-Sponsored by the Atatürk Society of America, the Red Pepper Association, the Turkish Women League of America and the African Women Working Group at the UN—1000 Women in Religion for Global Peace.

The event was mainly structured in two section, which started with the
Opening Session followed by the Multi-Participatory Session. Under this session, made presentations were consisted both by the collaborator partners of the event along with various Civil Society Organizations both with and non-UN associated ones.

The event began with a welcoming remark delivered by Bircan Ünver, the Founder, President and TV Producer of the Light Millennium. In her introduction Bircan stated that “This event aims to support and create awareness on the United Nations Security Council Resolution #1325 on Peace, Women and Security in correlation with the concept of Secularism, which is the missing key component of the #1325 framework. It also aims to introduce the SDGS#5, 16 and 17 to the general public in conjunction with the #1325 towards the attainment of the 2030 Development Agenda.”

The PWSS consisted of presentations from notable speakers, UN Diplomats and NGO representatives such as Tareq Md Ariful ISLAM (on Peace, Women and Security), Deputy Permanent Representative Permanent Mission of Bangladesh to the United Nations, New York, delivered the Opening Remarks. Ambassador and former Under Secretary General Anwarul K. Chowdhury (on UNSCR 1325) along with Sean Faircloth (on Secularism), former State Senator from Maine and Author of “Attack of the Theocrats: How the Religious Right Harms Us All and What We Can Do About it” back to back both delivered on the theme based Keynote statements.

In his keynote address Ambassador Chowdhury began by giving his thanks to The Light Millennium for putting together the event. He also thanked the Permanent Mission of Bangladesh for effectively organizing a side event at the UN CSW-63 session, which interlinked areas of women equality, empowerment and the culture of peace.  Ambassador Chowdhury asserted that “We should always remember that without peace, development is impossible, and without development, peace is not achievable, but without women, neither peace nor development is conceivable.”

Sean Faircloth in his keynote address stated that “The forces of democracy, women’s rights, and human rights will only prevail if we forcefully call upon the U.N., the E.U. and the U.S. to condemn the undermining of the most basic separation of religion from government that originally distinguished America in its founding, then grew nation to nation.” Faircloth asserted that now was a time for action. He called on the international community, the UN, the European Union and America, for increased explicitness in UN General Comment 34 in rejecting specifically:

1.Governmental collaboration with a favored religion, thus mutually increasing power, and discrimination against un-favored political and religious groups.

2. Government pointing to religion to legitimize harm to any minority political or religious group.

Ambassador Isaiah Zimba Chabala, Former Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Zambia to the United Nations and Humanitarian;
Founder and President, Visionary Empowerment & Divine Empowerment Mission, brought into the concept a spiritual aspect and role and importance of an individual’s undertaken and commitment. With the Ambassador Chabala’s presentation, the Opening Session was concluded. 

On behalf of The Light Millennium, the host-and-director of the program Ms. Ünver and Dr. Ada Okika, UN Coordinator, Africana Women Working Group at the UN–1000 Women in Religion for Global Peace; jointly presented awards to each speaker of the Opening Session follow by each presentation was made. In the presented awards, it read:

The Light Millennium and Africana Women Working Group at the UN Gender Advocate Star Award Presented to (each provided name of the Opening Session) PEACE, WOMEN, SECURITY & SECULARISM Event Towards the 19th Anniversary of the UNSCR 1325 (2000) on Women and Peace and Security on April 11,2019.

Then Ms. Ünver has moved into the second and Multi-Participatory Session, in which, designed from a diverse spectrum on “PeaceorWoman or Security orSecularism” or one of the relevant SDGs (ref SDG#5, 16, or 17) and/or a combination of in between these concepts and as to each speaker given presentation time was 3 minute.

During both the Opening and Multi-Participatory Sessions, Ms. Ünver, in ref to the Concept Note of the session, reminded to the speakers to share their presentations with the TurkishLibrary.Us in order to make the full-contents of the event globally available.

According to the run-down of the second session, Fatma Aytaç, Co-Founder & UN Rep., Red Pepper Association (Kırmızı Biber, ECOSOC), delivered her talk.
Sermin Özçilingir, President, Turkish Women’s League of America (TWLA);

Mirat Yavalar, Co-Founder & Treasurer, Ataturk Society of America (based in W.D.C. and UN-DGC-CSO associated) followed.

As one of the collaborative partners of the UNSCR 1325 & Secularism event, and through her outreach effort Dr. Ada OKIKA, UN Coordinator, Africana Women Working Group at the UN–1000 Women in Religion for Global Peace; gained to the program with 30 students and 3 teachers from the George Westinghouse Technical and Career High School, Brooklyn, N.Y. In this section of the program, two 9th Graders also made brief presentations, namely Thiola Ogunremi and Jared Cain. Follow by 2 certificates for the two students along with to the School presented once again jointly by Ms. Ünver and Dr. Okika.

This led to move to the next and last section of the program, which consisted from Diverse Presentations by Civil Society Representatives namely:
Dr. Wale Idris Ajibade, Founder and Executive Director, African Views, UN Representative (ECOSOC);
Abaynesh Asrat, Founder-President, Nation to Nation Network, Inc.; Nermin Bezmen, Author;
Jonathon Cummings, Partnership Manager, World Human Accountability Organization;
Ayşegül Durakoglu,
PhD, Pianist and Professor of Music, Stevens Institute of Technology;
Denise Scotto, Esq. Attorney at Law & Policy Advisor, V.P. & UN Rep. Intl. Federation of Women in Legal Career (FIFCJ);
And the program concluded with a brief introduction on the UN-DGC Youth Steering Committee and the 68th UN Civil Society Conference
by Annie Deng, Co-chair, Youth Representative Steering Committee UN Department of Global Communications.

During the Multi-Participatory Session, a speech by Mirat Yavalar, Co-Founder and Treasurer of the Atatürk Society of America, she focused in her speech on laicism and gender equality in laws and social practices. Mrs. Yavalar stated that “For the Atatürk Society of America, laicism means distancing the religious authority from the legislative, executive, and judicial branches. Laicism is to treat all believers and non-believers equally and to leave religion in the private domain of the individual to practice it freely.” She further asserted that “When Atatürk, the founder of the Republic of Turkey, succeeded to motivate the Turkish people to end the religion-based state (Sharia Rule) and founded in its stead a laic democratic republic in 1923, his main principles were freedoms, rationality, science, progress towards the contemporary civilization, and peace.

Jonathon Cummings, the Partnership Manager for the World Human Accountability Organization spoke on the topic of SDG 17. Mr. Cummings asserted that “SDG 17 is the most important SDG because it represents a collective effort by member states committed to advancing the sustainable development goals to work together to support everyone for the collective good for human development.” Mr. Cummings concluded his speech by saying “If we care about advancing human development, if we care about equality, if we care about achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals, then we need to run this race together—because when you want to go fast, go alone, when you want to go far, go together. How far do we want to go?”

The UNSCR 1325 & Secularism event presented its concept from a diverse background and voices with a given equal importance to both on the UNSCR 1325 on Peace, Women and Security along with to its second component, Secularism. Together, the event manifested its thesis, in fact, “secularism” might be the way to present solution to security and peace in the world. In this line, in particular, to its second component, “secularism” the organizers aimed to bring back the “concept of secularism” to the UN ground, which also presented jointly along with the UNSCR 1325 as the first time. With that in mind, the PWSS event presented a compilation of unique concept and experiences that each and every speaker contributed to the first or second and/or in support of the SDGs related components of the event effectively and successfully.

The event took place at the The Salvation Army Intl. Social Justice Commission in NYC, and received approximately 80-90 attendees including speakers and 30 Students from George Westinghouse Technical and Career High School, Brooklyn, N.Y along with 3 teachers.

DELIVERED KEYNOTES ON THE THEME by:
Ambassador Anwarul K. Chowdhury on UNSCR 1325:

by Sean Haircloth on Secularism:
HUMAN RIGHTS FOR WOMEN AND MINORITIES AND SECULARISM IN THE INTERNATIONAL ORDER
http://www.turkishlibrary.us/human-rights-for-women-and-minorities-and-secularism-in-the-international-order/

Concept Note – UNSCR 1325 – PWSS Event – April 11, 2019:
WE AIM TO BRING BACK THE “SECULARISM” CONCEPT INTO THE DISCUSSION IN CORRELATION WITH THE UNSCR 1325 AND SDGs TO THE UN GROUND

(2000) UNITED NATIONS SECURITY COUNCIL RESOLUTION 1325

Ambassador Isaiah Zimba Chabala: WOMEN AND GIRLS ARE AN INDISPENSABLE AND EQUAL PART OF OUR COMMON HUMANITY.

Multi-Participatory Session:
Fatma Aytaç: WE MUST REMAIN VIGILANT ALL OUR LIFE. AND WE HAVE TO BE VIGOROUS.

Sermin Özçilingir: WHERE WE STAND ON AS A TURKISH-AMERICAN WOMEN ORGANIZATION IN THE U.S!

Mirat Yavalar: LAICISM IS TO TREAT ALL BELIEVERS AND NON-BELIEVERS EQUALLY, AND LEAVE RELIGION IN THE PRIVATE DOMAIN

Nermin Bezmen: VIOLENCE IS ENCOURAGED, PROTECTED AND EVEN NOURISHED UNDER THE SACRED MEANS OF RELIGION

Jonathon Cummings: IF WE CARE ABOUT ADVANCING HUMAN DEVELOPMENT

Dr. Aysegul Durakoglu: EMPOWERING WOMEN THROUGH MUSIC EDUCATION

Impressions on the PWSS Event by Sevgin Oktay:
I TOO NOW STATE THAT I AM A FEMINIST WITH THE HOPE THAT MANY OTHERS WILL ALSO FOLLOW

Related – CSW-63 – March 21, 2019 Side Event – Concept Note:
WOMEN’S EQUALITY AND EMPOWERMENT ADVANCES THE CULTURE OF PEACE

WOMEN’S EQUALITY AND EMPOWERMENT ADVANCES THE CULTURE OF PEACE”

Run-Down of the PEACE, WOMEN, SECURITY AND SECULARISM Event (Final)

PROGRAMME-Booklet with Bios of the SPEAKERS
(version#9 as of April 10, 2019)

Photo Album I – Opening Session
UNSCR 1325: On Peace and Women and Security, and Secularism-1

Photo Album – II – Multi-Participatory Session
Peace and Women and Security, and Secularism – 2

PROGRAM & along with the brief Bios of the Speakers
http://www.lightmillennium.org/events/2019/1325-pwss-april-11-booklet-w-bios-v9-final.pdf

Event Photo Credits: Demet Demirkaya

"The U.S. Turkish Library & Museum For Friendship and Peace" project joined, and has been produced under the umbrealla of The Light Millennium Organization effective on October 15, 2015.