Centre for Peace and Justice, (CPJ), BRAC University and UN Women recently organized a ‘National Colloquium on Leanings from the Women Peace Café initiative in Bangladesh’ at Dhaka.
The colloquium was attended by H.E. Ito Naoki, the Honorable Ambassador of Japan to Bangladesh, Professor Vincent Chang, Vice-Chancellor, BRAC University, Manzoor Hasan OBE, Executive Director, Centre for Peace and Justice, BRAC University, Diya Nanda, Deputy Country Representative of UN Women Bangladesh and Dr. David Dowland, Registrar, BRAC University. Muhammad Badiuzzaman, Research Coordinator of CPJ and Zia Uddin, Project Manager presented on the learning outcomes of Women Peace Cafe initiative in Bangladesh.
In his opening remarks, Manzoor Hasan OBE, Executive Director of CPJ said, CPJ has repeatedly brought together young people to promote social cohesion through civic engagement. We are grateful to the UN Women and Government of Japan for making this possible in Bangladesh, he said.
The Honorable Ambassador of Japan to Bangladesh, H.E. Ito Naoki praised the initiative in his speech and said, “Japan has been supporting Bangladesh for the last 50 years and assisting in building infrastructures. Japan is really delighted to support the social development initiatives like peace café where women are acting as the catalysts of change in the society.”
Vice-Chancellor Professor Vincent Chang spoke as the chair of this event. He emphasized more on student centered education and said that peace cafe is one of the successful examples for undertaking student activities and learning outside the classroom.
“We have established Women Peace Cafes (WPS) in regional and national universities through this partnership and nearly 900 students have been trained on social entrepreneurship, peace-building and social cohesion. The key takeaway now is to
ensure the continuation and sustainability of this model” said Diya Nanda, Deputy Country Representative of UN Women Bangladesh.
Dr. David Dowland, Registrar, BRAC University in his speech emphasized on students’ social activism. He inspired the young peace café member by saying that they are the social activists and the change makers in their communities.
The winners of the Women Peace Ambassador Award-2022 were announced at the end of the event along with the winners of a video contest titled “Women as the Catalyst of Peace, Security and Prosperity Off and Online”.
Since July 2018, CPJ has been implementing a flagship programme of UN Women titled ‘Empowered Women Peaceful Communities’ at 4 universities in Dhaka, Mymensingh, and Rangpur. CPJ has successfully implemented 3 phases of this regional programme. Under this project, CPJ has facilitated the establishment of several Peace Cafés as an innovative and pioneering initiative to promote peace and social cohesion through nurturing and mentoring female-student-led civic engagement and social entrepreneurship activities.
Women Peace Café (WPC) is a university-based platform for young female students to engage in knowledge sharing, social entrepreneurship and civic engagement to promote women’s empowerment, peace and social cohesion by fostering innovative ideas and working with vulnerable communities. Currently there are four peace cafés at BRAC University, University of Dhaka, Jatiya Kabi Kazi Nazrul Islam University and Begum Rokeya University under the guidance of CPJ, BRAC University supported by UN Women Bangladesh, with the generous funding from the Government of Japan.