Yesterday, Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson co-hosted a roundtable discussion with her Congressional Black Caucus colleague Congresswoman Karen Bass (D-CA) entitled Promoting Peace and Security for Women in African Nations. The purpose of the roundtable was to foster a dialogue on the plight of women in African nations, and to identify how best to strengthen the efforts of peace and security for women in Africa.
"I have always believed that women bring a unique perspective to conflicts, and conflict resolution is incomplete without them," said Congresswoman Johnson. "As policymakers, we have the opportunity to work alongside African women leaders and leaders who advocate on behalf of African women, to help them access the necessary resources to effectively implement peace strategies in their communities."
The panelists included: United States Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Ambassador Johnnie Carson; United Nations Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict Zainab Hawa Bangura; Farah Council, Institute for Inclusive Security; Rebecca Deng, Shaza Elmahdi, and Hawa Salih, Voices for Sudan; Marcelo Giugale, The World Bank Director of Economic Policy and Poverty Reduction Programs in Africa; Afshan Khan, Chief Executive Officer, Women for Women International, Dr. Elavie Ndura, Ed.D Professor at George Mason University, and Dr. Akec Khoc, Ambassador of the Republic of South Sudan. The discussion was moderated by Kathleen Kuehnast, the Director for the center for Gender and Peacebuilding at the U.S. Institute of Peace.
The attendees included several Members of Congress, as well as staff from the State Department, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Civil Society Working Group, Institute for Inclusive Security, the Embassies of Sierra Leone and South Sudan, and other women advocacy organizations.
"It is important we have these dialogues on a consistent basis, in order to identify and address the major needs of women around the world," noted Congresswoman Johnson. "It is my sincere hope that today's discussion will be a catalyst for further discussion on the persistent issue of peace and security for women in African countries, and across the globe."