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Swords into plowshares

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Swords into Plowshares is the blog of the Peacemaking Program and the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations of the Presbyterian Mission Agency of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

Seeking peace. Striving for justice. Together.

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July 25, 2014

Orange Day!

By Max Hill

On July 24, 2014, the Permanent Mission of Grenada and the organization African Women for Good Governance held a conference at the UN titled “Women in Power Making a Global Difference”. The conference included statements from Ambassador Denis G. Antoine, Permanent Representative of Grenada to the UN, Ambassador Sire Conde, President of African Women for Good Governance as well as others from places of influence for women around the world.

In his opening statements, Ambassador Antoine told of the strides that women have made in Grenada, including that 33% of Grenada’s parliamentary elected officials are women.  Ambassador Conde followed with her statement, laying more of the groundwork for the conference saying, “We are women from all over, working together to build the bridge to show kids what they can do to build a better life and empower women.”

The opening statements were followed by remarks from people such as Dr. Stephanie Aisha Steplight Johnson, speaking on “Understanding good governance”. Dr. Johnson asserted that if you educate a girl, you educate a nation, and from this you can help bring good governance.

“Good governance,” said Johnson “is having policies that assure that people have a quality of life that includes, good education, health care, protection.” She continued by saying that in order to have good governance you must first have a system that utilizes conflict-minimizing skills such as diplomacy and transparency.

This conference came the day before this month’s Orange Day. Orange Day falls on the 25th day of each month. This campaign by UNiTE calls for people to wear orange on the 25th day of every month in order to raise awareness to end violence against women and girls around the world. This orange day focuses on violence against women in the informal economy. Many women around the world work in unregulated workplaces and have to suffer from violence, harassment and bullying. The informal working environments often do not include zero-tolerance policies to protect women and girls from these conditions, and many most likely do not include a way for women and girls to report any sort of violence or harassment to which they are subjected.

Join us today and the 25th of each month and raise awareness to end violence against women and girls. 

Tags: orange day, un, united nations, violence against women


July 11, 2014

How will you use your 67 minutes?

by Christina Gore

In November of 2009 the United Nations General Assembly declared July 18 Nelson Mandela International Day. Nelson Mandela International Day is a day honoring the memory of the great president of South Africa for his contributions to peace and freedom all over the world.  The United Nations has issued a call for individuals to spend 67 minutes helping others.  Each minute represents a year that Mandela spent serving others.


Nelson Mandela once said, “We can change the world and make it a better place. It is in your hands to make a difference. “ It is in all ...

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July 9, 2014

10 years after the International Court of Justice Advisory Opinion

Today, I attended the Committee on the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People meeting recognizing the 10-year anniversary of the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the construction of a separation wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The Committee stated, “The Wall is but one element of the wider system of severe restrictions on the freedom of movement imposed by Israel, the occupying Power, on the Palestinian civilian population in the West Bank. There are currently well over 600 closure obstacles, including checkpoints, obstructing Palestinian movement within the West Bank. In addition, the system of roads ...

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July 8, 2014

Progress made, work to do, on children in armed conflict

by Max Hill

Last week the Secretary-General released the annual report on Children and Armed Conflict. This report summarized all of the progress that has been made in terms of reducing the amount of children involved in situations of armed conflict, as well as highlighted areas where work still needs to be done. UN Special Representative on Children and Armed Conflict, Leila Zerrougui, stated that there are 23 situations around the world in which children are being used in armed conflict in some way.

The annual report named some specific groups and areas where clear violations of children’s rights ...

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July 7, 2014

Be our media

by Max Hill

On 1 July 2014, I attended a meeting with four students from Bethlehem University (BU), a Catholic university founded in 1973, in Palestine. Our partner NGO Caritas Internationalis arranged the meeting for members of the Israel-Palestine NGO Working Group.

The four students were all very personable and had many positive things to say about their experiences both at the university and their time here in the United States. All four are here as a part of BU’s ambassador program and are participating in 6-week internships arranged through Caritas and its partners

To kick off the meeting ...

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