Peace is a time of calm and quiet and is free of commotion. Throughout history this term has synonymously been used with a time of no conflict or war. The soaring 20s was one decade in the 20th century which saw tranquility. During the 1920s, industries were booming, life was blossoming, and countries such as Britain, Germany and France were making pacts.
Peace cannot be solely achieved without humanitarian and international support. Various peacemakers have dedicated their life work to assisting nations and countries torn by abuse, war, conflicts, slums and famine. They put their life at risk to help others and establishing equal power relationships through conflict resolution. As such, this article devotes its space to the following top 10 female peacemakers.
1. Louise Fréchette:
Louise Fréchette served as United Nations Deputy Secretary General. She is also known as a Canadian diplomat and public servant for her role as deputy Minister of National Defense between 1995 and 1998. In 1989, she secretly traveled to Cuba to lobby Fidel Castro’s support for the Gulph War. Throughout the 2000s, Fréchette has advanced United Nation peacekeeping efforts by encouraging more women to join and emphasizing United Nation’s zero tolerance for sexual abuse and assault. Most recently in 2006, Fréchette chaired the Nuclear Energy Futures Project. Her aim is to strengthen global governance in the areas of security, safety and nonproliferation.
2. Maria Ida Giguient
Maria Ida Giguient works for the Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and has devoted over two decades to bringing peace to Mindanao and East Timor. In her role as the head of the Notre Dame University Peace Education Centre in Cotabato City, she initiated talks between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Moro National Liberation Front faction groups. Furthermore, she succeeded in drafting a peace agenda for Lumad, an indigenous group in Mindanao in 1998. Today she continues her peacemaking and peace building efforts by training various international groups in diminishing violence.
3. Condoleeza Rice:
Condoleeza Rice is an American diplomat and politician. She served as National Security Advisor to George W. Bush between 2001 and 2005 and as United States’ Secretary of State between 2005 and 2009. Throughout her tenure as Secretary of State, Rice focused on transformational diplomacy which sought to expand, build and sustain democratic governments, especially in the Middle East. She most popularly supported Israel in its fight against terrorism during the Lebanon War in 2006 and Gaza Strip War against Hamas terrorism in late 2008/early 2009.
4. Aung San Suu Kyi
Aung San Suu Kyi is a Burmese opposition politician and a former General Secretary of the National League for Democracy. In 1988, she supported masses in their strife for democracy and reform after General Ne Win stepped down. When the military Junta stepped in, she continued to fight for human rights and equality. Her core beliefs are rooted in the rule of law, which Burma is lacking. She would have been the new Burmese leader in 1990, if the military junta did not nullify the results and place her under house arrest. In 2010 she was released after 15 years of house arrest.
5. Mother Teresa:
Mother Teresa was the founder of Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta. As a peacemaker, she worked to help the poor, the dying, the sick and the orphaned. She set up schools, orphanages and hospitals to help those who were less fortunate. When she died in 1997, her non profit organization had 300 members and 600+ missionaries in more than 100 countries. Her efforts were visibly seen when she put herself in the middle of gunfire to save 37 children in Beirut in 1982. It is thus not surprising that she won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979.
6. Princess Diana:
Diana Spencer, Princess of Wales, was another humanitarian and peacemaker who deserves a spot on the Top 10. She worked with many charities to combat landmine accidents and aid those affected by AIDS epidemic. She was open and tended to connect with others by expressing her own experiences with suicide and bulimia. She was once photographed touching an HIV positive child without worrying about the repercussions. This illustrates Diana as a compassionate and empathetic individual, who devoted her life to helping others. Hugging someone affected by a disease goes a long way to providing comfort and improve someone’s Quality of Life.
7. Jody Williams:
A teacher and aid worker, Jody Williams founded the Nobel Women’s Initiative along with 5 other women representing North America, South America, Africa, Middle East and Europe. The initiative served to bring peace, justice and equality, especially to women around the world. She played an integral part in ratifying the Ottawa Treaty in 1997 which banned antipersonnel landmines. This role landed her and her organization a Nobel Peace Prize the same year.
8. Benazir Bhutto
As the first and only female Prime Minister of Pakistan and of any Muslim majority country, Bhutto was an advocate for democracy. Furthermore, she supported fundamental human rights and stood strong against Martial Law and the corrupt dictator, Zia-ul-Haq. She condemned Taliban’s terrorist policies, the unfair treatment of women in Pakistan and honour killing. Her re-election in 2008 was a means for hope for positive change to a country faced with political, religious and cultural strife. She sadly was assassinated before she had a chance to do so.
9. Dorothy Day:
An American journalist and social activist, Dorothy Day was another peacemaker that deserves to be on the top 10 list. She founded the Catholic Worker Movement, which assists the poor and the homeless through pacifist and non-violent means. She was an advocate of anti-war and Women Suffrage movements. During World War II and the Vietnam War, she supported pacifists’ anti-war movements. She used the just-war doctrine to condemn the war, which brought destruction. Specifically during World War II, she believed that the United States did not wage war to save Jews from Nazis. She strongly believed that if the United States wanted to save Jews, it would have admitted them in 1939.
10. Samantha Smith:
This is the letter that a 10 year old Samantha Smith from Manchester, Main wrote to Communist Leader, Yuri Andropov:
Dear Mr. Andropov,
My name is Samantha Smith. I am ten years old. Congratulations on your new job. I have been worrying about Russia and the United States getting into a nuclear war. Are you going to vote to have a war or not? If you aren’t please tell me how you are going to help to not have a war. This question you do not have to answer, but I would like to know why you want to conquer the world or at least our country. God made the world for us to live together in peace and not to fight.
This letter was published in the Soviet Newspaper, Pravda. She received a response from Andropov in 1983. Andropov personally invited Smith to Moscow to meet with him and discover the life in Soviet Union for herself. Although Smith did not meet with Andropov personally, she spoke with him on the phone. She did visit Moscow and was applauded for her peacemaking efforts. Her peacemaking efforts were cut short when Andropov fell ill and when she tragically died in a plane crash with her father at the age of 13. She serves as an inspiration to all teenagers wishing to do their effort to improve the Quality of Life in this world.
“Samantha’s Letter”. www.SamanthaSmith.Info. Retrieved 2008-03-03, from http://www.samanthasmith.info/samantha’s_letter1.htm.