Women I would ask to make peace in Syria:

The world desperately needs peace.  How can we end these insane wars?  Here are twelve highly qualified women peacemakers who should be asked to take on the task:

·      Catherine ASHTON first European foreign minister; led successful diplomatic agreement with Iran.

·      Michelle BACHELET headed UN Gender Equality; first woman President of Chile.

·      Dr. Gro Harlem BRUNDTLAND headed World Commission on Development and Environment 1983; three times Prime Minister of Norway; first woman to head World Health Organization.

·      Helen CLARK Prime Minister of New Zealand; first woman to head UN Development Program.

·      Carla DEL PONTE First international Prosecutor of war crimes in Balkans and Rwanda.

·      Mary Elizabeth KING born New York City 1940. Professor of Peace Studies at UN University for Peace Costa Rica; Director Peace Corps.

·      Carolyn McASKIE  Assistant Secretary General for Peacebuilding, heads UN Peacebuilding Commission; led UN Peacekeeping Burundi.

·      Federica MOGHERINI Youngest woman Italian Foreign Minister; second woman European foreign minister; made peace with Sudan.

·      Mary ROBINSON UN High Commissioner for Refugees, first woman president of Ireland.

·      Helga SCHMID Top German and European diplomat; first deputy foreign minister of Europe.

·      Ellen Johnson SIRLEAF Nobel Peace Prize 2011 for ending Liberian war; UN Development Fund for Africa; first woman president of an African country.

·      Margot WALLSTRÖM UN Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict 2010; European Environment Commissioner; “feminist foreign policy” as Swedish Foreign Minister.

Full Bios: 

Catherine ASHTON born Upholland, Lancashire 1956.  British diplomat; first European foreign minister (High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy) 2009; led successful agreement with Iran on limiting nuclear production 2013; instrumental in Kosovo peace April 2013; First Vice President European Commission 2010; active leader in CND Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament 1977-83; as leader of House of Lords she got approval of Treaty of Lisbon.

The only solution to the Syria crisis is a political one.” (European Parliament 23 Oct. 2013).

Michelle BACHELET born Santiago, Chile 1951. Headed UN Gender Equality 2010; first woman President of Chile 2006; imprisoned and tortured by Pinochet; as first President of Union of South American Nations (Unasur) 2008 called summit to mediate in Bolivia; pediatrician.

“Because I was the victim of hate, I have consecrated my life to converting that hate into understanding, into tolerance, and why not say it, love.” (15 Jan. 2006; Eliz. Farnsworth Online Newshour 16 Jan. 2006).

Dr. Gro Harlem BRUNDTLAND born Oslo 1939. Head of World Commission on Development and Environment 1983; three times prime minister of Norway, first woman and youngest ever; first woman to head World Health Organization 1998-2003;  UN Special Envoy for Climate Change 2007; Charlemagne Prize 1994.

Women power is a formidable force” (Final address Beijing Women's Conference).

Helen (Elizabeth) CLARK born Hamilton, New Zealand 1950. Professor of Political Science who led movement for peace and disarmament; opposed Vietnam War; promoted nuclear free zone; Prime Minister of New Zealand 1999ff.; opposed US invasion of Iraq; first woman head UN Development Program 2008.

"[W]e appreciate the importance of diplomacy, mediation, and peaceful resolution of conflict, so that others do not suffer the way in which soldiers and civilians suffered here" (at World War I battlefield Ypres, 9 Jun 2012).

Carla DEL PONTE born Lugano, Switzerland 1947. First international Prosecutor of war crimes in Balkans and Rwanda 1999-2008; European Community investigator of Kosovo organ thefts 2008; Swiss diplomat 2008-11; UNHCR mission on Syrian war 2011.  

[T]here can be no lasting peace in a society unless the criminal justice system is allowed to take its course.” (CNN, 9 June 2001).

Mary Elizabeth KING born New York City 1940. Professor of peace and conflict studies at the UN University for Peace Costa Rica; Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) leader 1962-6; Director of national Action including Peace Corps and Vista 1970; Jamnalal Bajaj International Prize for Gandhian work 2003; El-Hibri Peace Education Prize 2009; Lawson Award for Nonviolent Achievement 2011.  

Since nonviolent resistance is based on an understanding of power more profound than is military force, the dogs of war are less likely to be unleashed as more societies learn, and with greater accuracy, of the power of nonviolent action.” (Mary King, “Waging Peace”, Bulletin Peace Studies Inst., 2006, p. 20).

Carolyn McASKIE born Glasgow 1946. UN diplomat; Assistant Secretary General for Peacebuilding 2006-8, heading new UN Peacebuilding Commission; led UN Peacekeeping Burundi2004-6 ; Asst. Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator 1999-2004; UN Humanitarian Envoy forhumanitarian crisis in Cote d'Ivoire 2003); Emergency Relief Coordinator 1999- 2001. Previously Canadian diplomat, High Commissioner to Sri Lanka and Maldives 1986-1989.

Peace talks are nearly always amongst those who fought the war, whereas they should be among those who will build the peace, the peacebuilders; and women are an important component of that. Women also need to be represented in post-conflict planning and governance to make sure that women's issues are addressed. The basic concept here is that if women aren't at the table, the chances of their issues being addressed are very low.” (SGI Quarterly Jan. 2011).

Federica MOGHERINI born Rome 1973.  Youngest woman Italian Foreign Minister 2014; Second woman European foreign minister 2014; opposed military response to Russian war in Ukraine, condemning illegaloccupation of Crimea; announced agreement with Iran on behalf of EU 2015. Made peace with Sudan, saving Mariam Ibrahim from death sentence 2014. In first week as EU rep she visited Gaza, saying:

“We need a Palestinian state — that is the ultimate goal and this is the position of all the European Union…It is not only the people of Gaza that can’t afford having a fourth war, all the world cannot afford this,” (Times of Israel, 8 Nov. 2014).

Mary ROBINSON born Ballina, Mayo, Ireland 1944. UN High Commissioner for Refugees 1997-2002; First woman president of Ireland 1990-7; International Human Rights Law professor; founding president Council of Women World Leaders 1996; European North South Prize 1997; Amnesty International Ambassador of Conscience for Human Rights 2004.

“In a society where the rights and potential of women are constrained, no man can be truly free. He may have power, but he will not have freedom.” (Oct. 1992 The Voice of Somalia).

Helga SCHMID born Dachau, Bavaria 1960.  Top German and European diplomat; first deputy foreign minister of Europe 2019; credited by UN women’s report with successful nuclear treaty with Iran 2015; actively promoted peace in Colombia, Palestine, Ukraine, Libya.

When it comes to the solution to the Syria crisis, the EU position is clear: a lasting solution to the conflict can only be achieved through a Syrian-led political process leading to a transition. Which means obviously that you also talk to the representatives of the Assad regime.”  (Interfax interview 17 April 2015).

Ellen Johnson SIRLEAF born Monrovia, Liberia 1938. Nobel Peace Prize 2011; UN Development Fund for Africa 1992-7; first woman president of African country 2005; led campaign against wartime violence against women; UN report Women, War and Peace 2002.  

During the years of our civil war, they [Liberian women] bore the brunt of inhumanity and terror. They were conscripted into war, gang raped at will, forced into domestic slavery. Yet, it is the women who labored and advocated for peace throughout our region.” (Inaug. 16 Jan. 2006).

Margot WALLSTRÖM born Skellefteå, Sweden 1954. UN Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict 2010; European Environment Commissioner 1999-2004; First Vice President European Commission 2004-10; “feminist foreign policy”as Swedish Foreign Minister 2014 led to breach of relations with Saudi Arabia over her criticism of treatment of women; with Russia over murder of Nemtsov; with Israel for recognition of Palestine; strongly urged welcoming refugees

“Our humanity trumps all.”(Financial Times 7 Sept. 2015).“It’s just a matter of believing that the right man in the right place can be a woman.” (Oreja de Europa 12 Nov. 2009).