Rome 2007


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A REPORT ON A MEETING HELD IN ROME, ITALY
16-17 MAY 2007

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Women of Faith from eight countries in Europe convened in Sassone, Rome Italy from the 16-17 of May 2007 and formed the Religions for Peace European Women’s’ Coordinating Committee. The committee would function as a leadership body to elaborate a vision of building the Religions for Peace European Women of Faith Network. The meeting was convened by Religions for Peace Europe in collaboration with Religions for Peace International Secretariat, and moderated by the Coordinator of Religions for Peace International Women’s Coordinating Committee Ms. Mehrézia Labida
In addition to serving as an advisory body in the process of building the European Women of Faith Network, the European Women’s Coordinating Committee (EWCC) is mandated to provide direction on strategic planning, policy development and mainstreaming women of faith to the Religions for Peace Europe and the European Council of Religious Leaders.

Participants in this initial meeting represented different Christian, Islamic, and Sikh religious organizations from Bosnia, Scotland, Hungary, Belgium, France, Sweden, Spain, Italy and Britain. The committee would be further populated through the process of cooption of more members from other faith traditions and countries in Europe.


The European women of faith emphasized the need to acknowledge the inalienable roles, perspectives and leadership of women of faith and mainstream them into all Religions for Peace activities and objectives.

The Committee elected it’s own coordinators: Ms. Ravinder Nijjar from the Interfaith Council of Scotland and Ms. Yolanda Iliano from WCRP Belgium. They also identified the thematic foci of the European Women of Faith Network, based on national and regional realities, and informed by previous commitments reached at Religions for Peace World Assemblies in Kyoto Japan in August 2006 and Amman Jordan in 1999.

Thematic Foci
Grounded in faith, the women of faith identified the following thematic priorities based on national and regional realities:

  • Building the European Women of Faith Network and sharing of good practices, within Europe and beyond, with other Religions for Peace Networks in Africa, Middle East, Asia & the Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean and North America
  • Confronting Gender-Based Violence, particularly trafficking of women and Girls
  • HIV/AIDs in Europe.
  • Strengthening and mainstreaming the leadership role of women of faith at all levels.
  • Peace Building: conflict management/transformation; peace-making; peace education.
  • Empowerment of immigrant minority women’s groups in pluralist contemporary European amidst “alternative media”.
  • Creating linkages with other organizations (faith / secular partnerships).

Structure & functions of European Women’s Coordinating Committee
The participants nominated the members of the Religions for Peace European Women’s Coordinating Committee, which would further be populated through the process of cooption of more members from other faith traditions and countries in Europe .

Religions for Peace European Women’s Coordinating Committee (EWCC) is mandated to advise and provide strategic direction to build the European Women of Faith Network and mainstream it to national chapters and the European Council of Religious Leaders.

The EWCC shall consist of fifteen to twenty representatives of national and regional religious organizations and women of faith networks in Europe. Women serving in Religions for Peace Europe Chapters, sub-regional or national Inter-Religious Councils and/or Councils of Religious Leaders shall be co-opted to serve in the EWCC. Due consideration shall be given to achieve religious and geographical balance and to integrate young women of faith. Due consideration shall also be given to include women who serve at Religions for Peace International Women’s Coordinating Committee or to those women elected co-Presidents of the “World Council” of Religions for Peace. The Coordinator of the Regional Women’s Coordinating Committee shall be a co-opted to the International Women’s Coordinating Committee.

Guiding Principles

  • Self-confidence / visibility / mainstreaming: -questioning, humility, listening, – bringing inner peace and thence diffusing peace
  • Mutual empowerment through networking, sharing of good practice (very concrete – grass-roots projects – market-place)
  • Representativity based on religious, social, geographical, generational and minority demography and balance
  • Subsidiarity, where each national network of women of faith has the autonomy to make their own decisions based on their own local realities. There are two developments in parallel – the local/national and the regional (European). These will vary and be mutually helpful. But each own agenda is the starting point for specific identity and thence input to the whole – this is not being imposed from any other group or level.

Follow-up tasks

  • A survey would be administered to women of faith in Europe to map out religious women’s organizations towards the building of the European Women of faith Network
  • An inventory of Religious Women’s Organizations in Europe be developed
  • Religions for Peace Europe Chapters and European Council of Religious Leaders would be invited (with report of Rome GB meeting) to propose members for the Women of Faith Network and help with inventory of women’s organizations in Europe
  • A follow-up meeting be organized in February 2008 to finalize the coopetion process of the European Women’s Coordinating Committee as well prepare specific input for the Regional Assembly of Religions for Peace Europe at the Rovereto Encounter in May 2009
  • Planning for Regional Assembly of Religions for Peace Europe: Encounter 2008
    - At least 30 women of faith will be invited to participate in this regional assembly
    - It was important to recommend women of faith who would serve as speakers, workshop leaders and moderators during the regional assembly
    - Themes on gender would also be identified to be part of the general assembly
    - In order for this preparation to be done effectively all preparatory papers needed to be circulated to the Committee for review with the gender lens.
  • A fundraising strategy be developed to support concrete projects for the empowerment of women and enhance sustainability