Support WFWP by purchasing from Amazon through this link!
Angelika Selle

Angelika Selle

Angelika Selle, born in Pforzheim, Germany, studied at the University of Freiburg in Catholic Theology, in German and English. In the years following she travelled to Japan, Korea and America. She settled in the U.S. in 1983 with her American husband, Bob Selle. Together they are the parents of 4 wonderful children. She has worked with Government officials, held the position of the editor in chief of two magazines, “Neue Hoffnung” and “Today’s World”, and she taught at a parochial elementary school. Rev. Selle’s true passion and calling is to be a reconciler and peace-maker to promote reconciliation and healing between different races, religions, and cultures. Together with her husband and another family, they founded a reconciliation group in MD. In 2001 she founded the Prayer in Action Ministry and in 2003 the Interfaith Prayer and Fellowship Ministry in Washington DC. On April 8, 2005 she was ordained at the Lively Stone Worship Center under “God’s Vision International Ministries” by Apostle Floyd Nelson. In 2006, Rev. Selle was appointed to be the Pastor of New Hope Family Church in Landover Hills, MD. Earlier this year, on March 21, 2010, Rev. Selle was appointed by the Founder of WFWP, Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, to be the President of Women’s Federation for World Peace USA and Vice-President of WFWP International.

If I had to summarize in a few bullet points or paragraph my experience during a 10-day marathon of empowering, inspiring events related to our Co-Founders' birthdays, this is what I would say:

It is time to ignite a new culture, a culture of heart, peace, joy, innocence, and creativity as leaders -- young and older, men and women -- using our expertise and knowledge to create that culture together.

On the occasion of her 74th birthday and her late husband's 97th, the woman of action who is Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon not only celebrated her birthday with 25,000 people, dignitaries, and youth from around the world but also demonstrated her capable leadership as a woman who operates from a mother's heart, giving to others for the sake of all humanity.

Dr. Moon was personally involved in the planning and execution of eight huge, stellar events, ranging from the World Peace Summit of Parliamentarians for Peace to launching and relaunching relevant organizations, especially in the area of sciences and the arts, all for the sake of making world peace a reality -- with the highlight event being the awarding of the annual SunHak Peace Prize to two utterly outstanding recipients.

She encouraged the various audiences she addressed to be leaders who lead with the heart of a mother, a more feminine style of leadership based on "soft power" and leadership of the heart, and who guide the people they are responsible for and truly care for through their own examples and lifestyle of living for the sake of others.

Sakena Yacobi receiving the SunHak Peace Prize from Dr. Moon.Sakena Yacobi receiving the SunHak Peace Prize from Dr. Moon.
Dr. Moon believes that the sciences and the arts should be used to create a positive environment for peace, and that knowledge should be used to solve the many problems and ills of the world, creating a culture of what she calls "Hyo Jung" (Korean for "the filial heart of a child") -- in other words, a culture of innocence, authenticity, genuineness, and goodness without any shadows.

We all were able to experience that heart and culture, especially during her birthday celebration, when she had her and her late husband's favorite foods prepared in lunch boxes that each of the 20,000 people present received, along with a personal letter from Dr. Moon (please read). Then she ate together with the great assemblage.

As the leader ultimately responsible for everything at the festivities, Dr. Moon personally invested herself in all the events and programs, such as the World Summit, the SunHak Peace Prize award ceremony, the relaunching of the International Conference on the Unity of the Sciences and the Professors World Peace Academy (two organizations founded by her husband decades ago), and also the launching of several entirely new organizations, such as the International Hyo Jung Cultural Center and the Hyo Jung Academic Center.

Gino Strada Receiving the SunHak Peace Prize from Dr. Moon.Gino Strada Receiving the SunHak Peace Prize from Dr. Moon.

In it and through it all, her motherly heart and touch was seen and profoundly felt, as she also used the opportunity to address several audiences in person, giving it her all. She modeled leadership through example by launching the new projects and reviving old ones, all of which are intended to work to bring to fruition and substantiation the vision her late husband had set out to accomplish some five decades ago. He invested every moment of his life and every ounce of energy to inspire others to become shining rays of hope around the world with a filial heart toward Heaven and exemplary citizens of peace.

Women's Federation for World Peace International also engaged in several meetings and discussions with our international president, Dr. Yeon Ah Moon; with WFWP International vice presidents from around the world; and with our Korean chapter leaders, with whom several smaller nations created sisterhood partnerships to synergize their efforts and resources in order to grow and develop in their countries.

Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon's example of simple elegance, depth of heart, prayer, and hard work inspired women and men during these 10-plus days to double and triple our efforts to be shining rays of hope in a troubled world. What a way to celebrate a birthday!!

As mentioned in the President's Corner, while I was in Las Vegas, it was a pleasure to have the opportunity to share WFWP's vision and heart on Aimmee Kodachian's The Experts show at the beginning of this brand new year 2017! The show aired to about three million subscribers on January 23, 2017 and can be seen below.

I am convinced that this is indeed just the beginning for the voices of peace, love, reconciliation, and action to be heard and seen throughout 2017!

Click here to go to the website and see the show.

Aimmee, Angelika, Mary Hida, and Stephanie ThompsonAimmee, Angelika, Mary Hida, and Stephanie Thompson

Dear Ladies, Friends, and Families,

Happy New Year 2017!

I hope your new year's resolutions are still intact?! In case you are a bit behind, the Chinese New Year began on January 28 this year, so we have another opportunity.

According to the Chinese calendar, 2017 is the year of the fire rooster! I love the four virtues that the fire rooster represents and thought to share them with you:

Civil Service - "Crown" (comb) on his head;
Courage - fights without retreat (for goodness);
Generosity - shares food with others;
Sincerity - always lets us know the right time in the morning.

In WFWP USA we dedicate 2017 to be the Year of Solutions, Problem-Solving, and Actions for Goodness, infused with these virtues above.

In the spirit of the fire rooster of courageously speaking out, I had a wonderful opportunity to be on the "Aimmee Kodachian and the Experts" show in Las Vegas this month. I was interviewed about "Women as the Turning Point for Peace." (See article below that includes the video clips of the show.) Ms. Kodachian spoke at last year's National Assembly in New Jersey (in last month's newsletter and on the website); and is an ardent supporter of the WFWP chapter in Las Vegas.

Also this year, WFWP will celebrate its 25th Anniversary around the country, and we will take this opportunity to "Show and Tell" the greater public about our noble Founders, our Philosophy of Peace, national and local activities; and the amazing women who, with a sacrificial heart and spirit, have been laying a wide foundation for impact over the last two plus decades in the new series introducing WFWP's National Chairwomen.

In 2017 we will continue to empower and educate women in creating peace as peace leaders in their homes, the greater community, the nation, and the world; to be an alternative voice to that of hatred, strife, confusion, and despair. We are also actively seeking to create chapters in the remaining 15 states in the U.S. So, if you would like to start a chapter in your state, please let us know. We will assist you!

Regardless of how things may look around us, we are very hopeful and excited because we are certain that lasting change for the better will come from our Creator first within our hearts, and then will be actualized elsewhere.

The process has already begun and is gaining momentum. We invite you to join in this process.

Happy 2017!

With love,
Dear Ladies, Friends, and Families,

Are you by any chance stressed? Do you feel bogged down with health issues, feel powerless to effect change, or feel trapped physically and emotionally?

In this October issue, you will find many pointers and insights about staying healthy, such as what brought a Cuban woman who lives in New Jersey to be 102 years young! You'll also discover tidbits of wisdom as to what you can do to recreate your own health and feel more empowered!

And did you know that the digestive system reacts based on how you think before you eat, or how you think before you even prepare the food? So health begins in the mind and in our emotions, as Mr. Bochenikov taught in our WFWP health seminar in the Washington, DC, chapter. Therefore, everyone needs emotional healing, and a "miracle of heart and soul," which can occur in many ways, such as through a Bridge of Peace crossing, or through experiencing art, music, and beauty that uplifts our spirit.

Since this month is also Cancer Awareness Month, we are featuring the stirring story of Dr. Sandra Lowen, a cancer survivor -- how after several battles with cancer she has been cancer free for 15 years!

There can't be lasting peace without a healthy mind and healthy body. As someone mentioned at a recent International Peace Day celebration, "Peace Day is every day!" In the same vein, a "health day" is also every day! And healing is available to make that happen.

And did you also know that you can laugh yourself to better health through "laughter Yoga"? You can check it out at our upcoming 24th National Assembly, November 11-13, in Fairfield New Jersey! Yet, there is more than one reason to attend, I would submit at least 7, to uplift, empower and inspire you and for you to be an inspiration to others. (See "Why attend") Hope to see you there!

Enjoy this beautiful month of October, and here's to your health and well-being and to the health and well-being of your family!


“The Hope of Humanity Comes from Mothers”. These are the words of WFWP Founder, Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon. Her vision and belief is that peace cannot be accomplished from the outside, but must begin on the inside. Especially from the quiet voice that speaks to all human beings to be good and to do good. At this time of global and local crisis, WFWP International President Dr. Moon is calling on all women and mothers (and also all men and fathers), to listen to that quiet inner voice and to act on it; to work together beyond differences of race, nationality, or religion for the sake of the higher common good of all of humanity. The time is ripe for a different paradigm of leadership, now more than ever, and that is what we will be talking about and exploring in this year’s 24th Anniversary National Assembly.

But more specifically, why attend? What’s in it for me? Below are seven reasons that personally inspire me:

1. Speakers: Several experts in their fields will share new ideas and challenge us to shift our mind and heart to a new way of thinking. They will be addressing hot issues that are the silent killer of human spirit and dignity and giving practical take-away points, on the topic of compassionate sustainable leadership.

2. Learning and Fun: Through interactive breakout sessions, you can experience laughter yoga, learn how to develop a healthy and happy sex life in marriage, get practical tips on turning your passions into a sustainable project, and so much more.

3. Healing rifts and relationships: Through the Bridge of Peace, open a path to address and resolve current issues and heal the pain and wounds of the past. Learn from those who cross the Bridge the skill of reconciliation and solving issues with intelligence and heart instead of violence.

4. HerStory Award, Veterans Award: We will uplift, celebrate, and honor those who have made a difference by overcoming the odds and making a difference through their outstanding example.

5. Action: WFWP is motivated and propelled forward through a mother’s heart and the Logic of Love which is expressed in a multitude of service and relief projects from the local to the international level reaching out beyond the United States and serving the world. In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “Everybody can be great, because anybody can serve,”

6. The Blessing of marriage breakout session and Ceremony will introduce a new way of looking at marriage and provide knowledge and tools to make our marriages last. WFWP USA’s core tenet is that, “Healthy Families are the School of Love and the Foundation for a happy society and world. A healthy family based on morals and ethics will provide fertile ground for leaders of integrity, conscience, and compassion who will care for the greater good more than for themselves.”

7. Your Presence is very important and appreciated, as we TOGETHER will create something new and amazing for everyone. I know that through your presence and contributions, this work for peace will be blessed and will multiply more quickly

What inspires me the most about this year’s assembly is the involvement of the next generation of young women and of our local chairwomen, especially our local New Jersey chapter, in planning and executing this wonderful gathering.

Will you join us there? I sincerely hope so!
Dear ladies, friends, and families,

What does the word "peace" mean to you?

Each year on September 21, the UN celebrates the International Day of Peace, yet we might wonder what there is to celebrate.

Even right here in the U.S., during this very month dedicated to peace, police shootings of black men continue, as in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Tulsa, Oklahoma, inflaming racial tensions regardless of whether the killings were justified or not.

However, whatever things may look like, the last thing to do now would be to give up on peace!

Earlier this month, I and my husband Bob attended radio talk show host Al Cole's annual "People of Distinction Humanitarian Awards" reception in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill. He has been highlighting, uplifting, and endorsing "unsung heroes" in the community from all walks of life (see article below). That evening, his organization bestowed awards on 20 humanitarian leaders from small but effective organizations providing a wide variety of amazing services to people in need.

What Bob and I took away from Al's awards reception was hope in knowing that there is still so much good in the world, and here in the United States, that there are many "unsung heroes" who sacrifice and live for the sake of others, quietly and consistently, and ARE making an impact for the better!

A very stirring and moving moment also took place this month on September 17 when two mothers, representing black and white Americans, respectively, walked across the Bridge of Peace at the Washington Mall next to the U.S. Capitol building as a part of the "America and God's Will" 40th Anniversary celebration. One of the mothers, Elzabieta Byrne, lost her daughter due to murder but was able to forgive the perpetrator and even show compassion and understanding toward his parents.

Closing with inspirational quotes as food for thought:

"Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding."
- Albert Einstein

"I offer you peace. I offer you love. I offer you friendship. I see your beauty. I hear your need. I feel your feelings."
- Mahatma Gandhi

What does "peace" mean to you?


Angelika Selle
October 3rd, 2016

There Is Still Much Goodness in America!

Al Cole's "People of Distinction Humanitarian Awards" reception took place on Tuesday, September 13 on Capitol Hill at the Rayburn House Office Building. Al Cole is a CBS radio talk show host, and he has made it his job to dig into various communities around America and unearth precious "diamonds" of sacrificial service who are hidden among all the attention-getting violence and desperation, and who are true agents of peace!

The small conference room was bursting with 250 guests, awardees, and friends from all over the country to witness small snippets of stories of the 20 "unsung heroes" who were honored on that day for their extraordinary work for the human family.

WFWP USA and our sister organization, the Universal Peace Federation, were represented well with a small delegation, as both organizations subscribe to the ideals of peace and "Living for the Sake of Others" that Al Cole is uplifting.

Twenty awards were presented to leaders of various organizations who were from a variety of culturally, socially, and politically different backgrounds, highlighting their sacrificial volunteer work of serving others. It was quite remarkable, and we were filled with hope and a renewed sense of how many "good people" there are in America!

Among the 20 awardees were people like:

=> a retired Police Captain who helps suicidal officers who suffer from PTSD
=> a Navy Admiral who started a senior service college
=> a therapist who helps countless youth deal with their emotional pain
=> a woman who works on preventing homelessness
=> a woman who helps to strengthen marriages and mental health, and
=> a woman who works to heal families to solve generational issues.

It was quite powerful to experience, the Human Family at its best!

People of Distinction Awards: Bob and Angelika SellePeople of Distinction Awards: Bob and Angelika Selle

More >>
July 4th, 2016

Heart to Heart Gathering with WFWP International President

At the occasion of Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon's, our Founder's, visit here on the East Coast at the beginning of June, our international President Yeon Ah Moon who had accompanied her, took the opportunity to meet with a small group of WFWP leaders and members for a heart to heart meeting. The small group of ladies was comprised of representative of both WFWP USA and the International UN office in New York, under the leadership of Alexa Ward, who was also present.

As always, meetings with our International President turn out to be free flowing, free-spirited, honest, and energizing. We always enjoy being with Prof. Yeon Ah, because she herself emanates and demonstrates an open heart and spirit, which makes anyone in her presence feel immediately at ease. Needless to say, all ladies spoke freely from their hearts, sharing deep wisdom and insights; and as we listened to one another, we felt each unique contribution provided the brush strokes that together created a beautiful painting.

The highlight of the gathering was when President Yeon Ah shared her personal experiences with Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, her lifestyle, heart, and commitment that always amazes and inspires us. She highlighted and confirmed Mother Moon's ongoing concern and investment to educate the next generation and for the Elders to being role models of a parental heart through the leadership of the Logic of Love. The meeting ended in prayer and joyful fellowship!

Group photoGroup photo

More >>
May 31st, 2016

A Visit to Ukraine – A Visit of the Heart

It finally happened: A very long-awaited trip to Ukraine.

For the past five years, each year, Mrs.Tatiana Kotseba, the President of WFWP in Ukraine had been inviting me to speak at their annual WFWP anniversary conference; and every single year, I couldn’t go for one reason or another.

At last, this year, the stars were aligned, and I made my way to Kiev, arriving on April 26, which marked the 50th anniversary of the Chernobyl incident. It turned out to be the perfect time to visit Ukraine, as most of the country was in the full bloom of springtime, and was celebrating Orthodox Easter Week and Easter Sunday.

A small delegation of WFWP leaders welcomed me at the Kiev airport with a bouquet of roses, and brought me to our beautiful quarters a bit outside of the city of Kiev--or Kyiv in Ukrainian.

The next day, April 27, WFWP Ukraine held an educational roundtable event in collaboration with City Hall. Thirty-five women leaders and CEO's gathered around a very long conference table at City Hall, to share and discuss the topic of "Women, Peace, and Security." It was the fourth roundtable discussion of its kind, and included international representatives of WFWP from the USA, Japan, the United Kingdom, Belarus, and Austria.

Round-table at City HallRound-table at City Hall

In my 10-minute presentation, which was translated paragraph by paragraph, I highlighted the 1325 UN resolution that states that it is beneficial to have women at the negotiation table in matters of war; since they gave birth to and will lose those who are fighting each other. I also compared the relationship between men and women in the US which is on a more equal footing, more like a team, when compared with the traditional one in Ukraine. Notwithstanding, however, the additional fact that in the US the healthy family unit is falling apart and gender confusion is on the rise.

Other presentations talked about the issue of women still not having a voice in decision-making in Ukraine, and being the ones who always need to carry the results of war, poverty, and with little or no support. One presenter especially “unloaded her heart on this issue,” and I could feel the deep pain that Ukrainian women feel, waiting and hoping for “liberation.”

WFWP President Tatiana then highlighted WFWP’s vision and focus on strengthening the family as the “School of Love and Peace.” She pointed out that the family in Ukraine has also undergone many changes and is no longer the stronghold of society that it used to be.

A lot of the weakening of the family has to do with the ongoing wars and fights for independence that Ukraine has been involved in over the years under Communism. The women in Ukraine have for decades had to fend for themselves and their children, since their men went either to war or were involved in other independence-driven, dangerous activities where they lost their lives. As always the women and mothers have had to deal with their children, without support and living in poverty as a result.

Unfortunately, it is clear that the Ukrainian traditional culture is very much intact, which means that women still don’t have much of a voice; yet I experienced that internally they are very strong and have very deep hearts.

The highlight of the visit was the 9th National Anniversary Conference of WFWP in Ukraine, which took place the following day, on April 28, at one of the largest Universities in Ukraine, the Kiev University of Borys Grinchenka. The conference brought together around 500 women and also men from different parts of the country.

Among them were representatives of the Ministry of Social Policy, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Defense, city administrators, public organizations, embassies, Universities rectors, school principals and teachers, artists, scientists, and many other dignitaries and women leaders.

Anna Kalmatskaya, WFWP Secretary-General, described the event briefly, as follows:

“Prior to the event a national TV channel interviewed [WFWP] USA President and International Vice-President, Angelika Selle, Ukrainian WFWP President Tatiana Kotseba as well as famous Ukrainian woman artist. In addition, two All-Ukrainian and three local newspapers highlighted the event.

“One hour before the conference, special guests and international representatives partook in a tea reception in a special VIP room, while others enjoyed the music of the military Lyceum orchestra, which was playing outside the building and attracted many onlookers.

“The conference began with a WFWP video report, welcoming words from the Vice-Director of Grinchenka University and also from a vice-chairman of children’s rights department of the Ministry of Social Policy. Mrs. Angelika Selle – WFWP USA president and Mrs. Tina Coombs, member of the European WFWP board, spoke on behalf of WFWP International and WFWP Europe. President of WFWP Ukraine Mrs. Tatiana Kotseba based her speech on the Founder’s words, emphasizing the importance of family, centered on universal values.”

My 20-minute presentation covered the main topic: “What are Universal Values, and why we need them to achieve global peace and harmony.” I highlighted three values, which also reflect the values of our organization and are important for leadership of peace:

  1. Integrity
  2. Living for the Sake of Others
  3. Service

When practiced, these values have the potential to create a plateau for real change for the better in both of our nations.

A very strong focus of festivities was the award-giving ceremony which honored and highlighted ordinary women who had accomplished extraordinary things, as well as women leaders who have made great impact in their field of influence.

Among the awardees was the mother of a Ukrainian pilot hero, Nadiya Savchenko, who received the “Woman-Patriot Mother” award; an 81-year-old world legend of gymnastics, Mrs. Albina Deriugina became “Woman Coach Nominee;” and the head of the biggest All-Ukrainian charity foundation on IDP (internally displaced persons) issues received the “Woman Public Figure” award. Seven other wonderful ladies became “Woman-veterans”, “Woman-journalist”, “Woman-teacher”, “Woman-mother of many children”, “Woman-doctor”, and the “Woman-artist” honorees. The conference also included award winners of the children's literature competition entitled: “My mother is the best”, initiated by WFWP Ukraine.

The award ceremonies and speeches were interspersed with lively Ukrainian music, performed by dance group and a group of Kazaks.

In spite of the language barrier (I don’t speak or understand Ukrainian), I felt a natural and strong affinity with the Ukrainian women and mothers, whose deep hearts, souls, and inner strength were exuding from them.

Seeds of love and connection were sown through these moments of sharing, as well as later when leaders of WFWP met together and shared about each other’s vision, goals, and ways of working.

It was a very fruitful cross pollination, and all committed to building on this new-found friendship. Heart to heart connections were established on many levels; even after the events, when our international delegation had the opportunity to go sightseeing and visit historic and beautiful sites that reminded us of the deep spiritual but also painful history of Kiev and Ukraine. On Easter Sunday the city was enveloped not only in beautiful sunshine, but there was an atmosphere of holiness and joy everywhere.

Traditional Easter bread that had been baked the night before and was sanctified by the priest in the early morning hours, was shared everywhere in the homes and in the restaurants for free, as well as colorfully painted and decorated Easter eggs.

We ended our visit with an Easter dinner, enjoying Ukrainian borscht and other tasty dishes. Most of all we all felt we had become closer in heart as friends and distant family, and committed to stay in touch and in good collaboration for our common goals.

After all I thought; the U-nited States and U-kraine, both begin with the letter “U;” and if we put the two together, we have a “W,” a “We.” So, together, WE can do it!

More >>
March 25th, 2016

CSW60 2016: Off to a Hopeful Start Personal Observations and Reflections

This is my fourth year in a row representing WFWP USA at the annual Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) events in New York City. Each year it is quite an experience when thousands of women of all ages and ethnic backgrounds from around the world, representing their countries, organizations, and causes, descend on New York City and the UN to participate in discussions at CSW events.

As you might know, this year's annual topic is “Women Empowered to Implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).” This title in and of itself gave me a lot of hope for actual progress in solving issues rather than just talking about them. And indeed there is a lot of evidence and hope that this will happen this year.

What I noted immediately at the Opening Session of Consultation Day, as well as at the General Assembly on the following day, was that there was a significantly higher number of young women present—and men (mostly young)! This became more noticeable to me during my lunch break at the UN cafeteria, where there was a gentleman sitting at nearly every other table with a group of women, involved in conversation. The increased number of young men and women was partially attributed to the newly launched Youth UN component, which held its first forum on the 11th and 12th of March.

 General Assembly opening session of CSW events at the UN, March 14, 2016 General Assembly opening session of CSW events at the UN, March 14, 2016

Overall this year, there seems to be a more upbeat, more hopeful spirit present, which was confirmed and expressed by Susan O’Malley, Chair of the NGO Committee on the Status of Women in New York and of the International Federation of Businesses and Professional Women (IFBPW), in her welcoming remarks on Consultation Day. “During these next two weeks,” she said, “we will be focusing on implementing the SDG goals, as well as addressing pressing problems.”

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Under Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women, highlighted that the focus for this year would be the implementation of the resolutions concerning violence against women and children through a universal approach. “Institutions that are well resourced,” she emphasized, “have the most influence in helping those who need help.”

Phumzile Mlambo-NgcukaPhumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka

Later in the morning during the panel discussion focusing on the theme “No One Left Behind: Opportunities and Constraints in Implementing the 2030 Agenda,” Mrs. Ngcuka suggested that to implement these very hopeful goals we “need to start at the back.” She encouraged us to also begin with data collection, to document the work being done. She noted also that the new Youth CSW and the “multi-generational cooperation will be an integral part of the decisions we make.”

H.E. Ambassador Antonio de Agular Patriota, Permanent Representative of the Mission of Brazil and Bureau Chair of the CSW, also spoke. “Unless we place gender equality at the center of the focus of our program,” he said, “we will not be able to erase poverty.” The commission, he also pointed out, “needs to expose shortcomings and build new alliances.” He encouraged everyone to include the private sector and to engage the philanthropic community and all stakeholders.

Mrs. Ngcuka, who was also part of the panel, again emphasized the importance of securing resources. She suggested making a case to donors for funding by highlighting that “investing in women will give us all higher benefits.”

The motherly essence of women shines outThe motherly essence of women shines out

Another panelist, Mrs. Saida Ali, International Policy Consultant, shared some of the very painful stories of sexual slavery she witnessed in her country of Kenya. She pointed out that most people don’t know the meaning of the necklaces some young girls are wearing. She said, “When young women wear the beautiful African pearls, it actually means that they are available for sexual abuse.” Therefore, “let’s not philosophize about why these things happen, but let’s talk about what we can do so it will not happen in the first place.” She called for insisting on and promoting accountability of actions. She ended by saying that she herself attempts to visualize and meditate on what a society of non-discrimination would look like, and encouraged all present to do the same.

Mrs. Lakshmi Puri, Assistant Secretary-General of the UN and Deputy Executive Director of UN Women, declared CSW60 2016 to be “the biggest year of hope, endeavor, and achievement.” She said the CSW efforts have come to a very “promising point,” poised to leave the wrong behind and to capitalize on the positive in all discussions. Based on the UN’s very hopeful 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, Mrs. Puri felt that women will be able to accelerate their momentum and create a new model within a generation.

On a personal note, as I was sitting in the audience in the YMCA auditorium (where some of the CSW60 events were held), surrounded by a great variety of women, I could feel the deep-down inner feminine and motherly essence that all women carry, which is the essence of birthing humanity, the force of giving and nurturing life. I felt hopeful because women during these past years have been talking here at the UN about “real situations” and have not been shy to express the pain and suffering that women have been enduring throughout history—suffering that is still not acknowledged to the necessary degree. However, it was also amazing for me to realize that it will have to be the women who take the lead to end that suffering and to provide real and practical solutions for a sustainably peaceful world without violence and hate, using their own creative resources and inner wisdom gained over centuries and millennia. Quite remarkable!

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki​-moon at the Opening SessionUN Secretary-General Ban Ki​-moon at the Opening Session

This year’s second Women of Distinction Awardee, Bandana Rana from Nepal, who was introduced and welcomed warmly, echoed many of the points mentioned earlier and added that the importance of “movement building” and the collective energy of all women “will make a difference.” She also said that UN Women needs power and resources and that we need to work on changing the minds of the men “in the house,” because “we need men to join us!”

On the following day, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s address began with words of encouragement and hope: “I feel truly inspired. You empower me and I am energized by your energy and strength. I thank you very much. You are here to change the world. When I see all of you—from so many different countries, with so much experience and such strong commitment—I know we can achieve full equality for all women, everywhere around the world.”

Concerning men's involvement with and support of women in their plight, he mentioned his own example:

“I was proud to be the first man to sign up for the HeForShe campaign to mobilize men and boys. This built on my network of men leaders fighting for full equality around the world. ... I pay tribute to the thousands of heroines I have met along the way. And I commend the men who join us, because they know women’s rights are human rights that we secure for the benefit of everyone.”

He went on to highlight the many attempts he has made and steps he himself has taken to promote the cause of women, ending with introducing the latest step he has taken to address the prevention of violence against women and girls.

He said: “The new United Nations Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism sets out specific proposals to give women more influence in the global response. And the Plan calls for ensuring that efforts to counter terrorism and violent extremism never violate any human rights. When we stay true to our principles, we stay on the right side of history and the winning side on this issue. As long as one woman’s human rights are violated, our struggle is not over.”

As I attended other sessions that day, words and phrases like “accountability,” “implementation,” “the how to,” and “collaboration and movement building” were surfacing in nearly all sessions.

It is comforting and hopeful to see the head of the UN supporting the cause of women, and when men do stand up and speak up for women and girls, and for all other issues on the table, together we can make a difference!

In reflecting on and observing these hopeful beginnings of the CSW60, I believe that the real hope is in the increasing number of men who are concerned and are getting involved to alleviate the plight of women!

I would like to end with a quote from Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, our WFWP Co-Founder, who addressed over 1,000 women in 2012 on the occasion of the 20th Anniversary of WFWP International in a speech entitled “Women as the Turning Point for Peace.”

She said: “Now women and men should play a major role in world history by serving alongside each other like the wheels of a great engine pulling the construction of a peaceful world forward. Today I invited women to accept an important role and become the turning point in building a new century characterized by a loving peaceful culture.”

More >>
Page 1 of 6