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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.).

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March 21, 2014

Commission on the Status of Women

Shellyann Lewis, an intern at the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations reflected on two parallel events she attended at the 58th Commission on the Status of Women.


On Thursday I had the opportunity to attend two parallel events and they were truly inspirational. The first event that I attended was held at the U.N. in the ECOSOC chamber. The event was hosted by UNESCO’s International organization of la fracophonie (IOF). The discussion was geared toward cultural diplomacy and multilingualism. In fact, the entire discussion was conducted in French which reinforced the overall sentiment of the importance of language pluralism. There were representatives from countries ranging from Cameroon, Romania, and Morocco.  Each panelist argued how important it was to incorporate culture in the Post 2015 Development Agenda. Artists from various African countries gave amazing speeches about the preservation of culture through the arts to combat the increasing dissemination of the cultural identity of many groups.  For many speakers the unification of people through dialogue, media, education, arts etc was the most effective way to increase development. I agreed with much of what was said mainly because people tend to underestimate how essential art can be to the identity of a country and to its people. One of the things that stood out to me the most was when one of the artists said that “art transcends peace and war”.  Not only was it very thought provoking, but it was something that needed to be considered by a world that is becoming more and more interconnected.

The second event that focused on innovative teaching tools for vulnerable women and girls that I attended was held by Lawyers Without Borders and Gibson Dunn LLP. This was a great event and opened the door to a lot of discussion about the kinds of teaching tools that should be used when dealing with matters such as human trafficking. Ethical dilemmas were raised as well and there were other important matters brought to the forefront. Overall the activity was not only extremely interactive, but it was really productive in teaching me about human trafficking. In fact, they had given each of us the exercise to take home which was helpful. The people in charge of running the event did an amazing job of getting their point across and they were prepared. I certainly enjoyed the activity and intend on sharing it with whomever is interested. In fact, going to this event has fueled my interest in human rights law and refugee law.

Overall both events were not only informative, but gave me a different perspective on the Post 2015 Development Agenda and many issues. This was my first experience with CSW and I will make sure that it is not my last! This is definitely a process that I want to continuously be a part of.


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