LAKE GENEVA, Wis., June 2, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- An alliance of American organizations, convened by the Global Room for Women, launches a national campaign and declaration of solidarity and friendship with women peace builders in the Middle East fueling a new surge of optimism throughout the region. In support of their recent courageous and inventive work on the frontlines of revolutions, uprisings, and war they have harnessed new social media tools and strategies of non-violent protest to topple decades-old regimes and outmoded systems. Current members of the alliance include CODE PINK, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Peaceful Tomorrows, Middle East Children's Alliance, Global Oneness Project, Women's Peace Collection, Prosperity Candle, Circle Connections, American Muslim Voice, Bay Area Women in Black, Democracy in Action, the SOP, Just Vision, Women's Alliance for Democratic Iraq, Principle Pictures, Weaving the World, and Global Room for Women.
Members of the alliance and women across the country will meet women peace builders, straight from the frontlines in Gaza, Pakistan, Egypt, and Bahrain – women changing the world one step at a time, in the midst of an unprecedented degree of war, revolution and uncertainty besieging their communities every day. And despite a chorus of naysayers about their prospects for real and lasting peace, these women utilize their passion to fuel their work, while American women from every conceivable socio-economic background step up to listen to and learn from them. This all takes place in the safe virtual space called The Global Room for Women, the first-ever scalable platform that provides American women access to real-time, direct conversations by phone with an array of diverse women living in developing countries and war-torn regions who are reshaping the landscape for women and girls' lives.
"We designed The Global Room for Women to be convenient and easily adapted to a woman's busy schedule, whether she's a teacher, an executive or a soccer mom. We invite women to take a step outside their comfort zone, come as they are, when their schedules permit. All they need to do is pick up the telephone and an entire global community of women is waiting to engage with them," says GRW founder Linda Higdon. "The real beauty of this model is that we bring women from far-reaching areas of the world directly to busy U.S. women and can include hundreds of women across the country on each call, while creating an intimate experience through small breakout conversations. There is nothing like this out there for American women," adds Higdon.
Although these women may not be visible in the Western media news cycle, they are working under the radar to make real change from the bottom up. "We are continually amazed at the degree to which women on each side of the conversation are benefitting from listening to the experience of the other," adds Higdon.
Who are these women who are so driven by a fierce determination to build peace?
- A Muslim woman originally from Pakistan, Samina Sundas became an outsider in the United States, her home for decades, in the aftermath of 9/11. By opening her doors to all ethnicities and faith groups, she dispelled misperceptions and created groundbreaking conversations between many who thought it impossible. "After 9/11, we were living in a culture of fear and I said, 'I am a Muslim woman and welcome to my home.'" Founder of American Muslim Voice, Saminais a recipient of the Martin Luther King Jr. Peace Prize awarded by Fellowship of Reconciliation.
- A Gaza City physician, Dr. Mona ElFarra is a builder of refugee camp cultural and health centers, and serves as Vice President of the Gazan Red Crescent Society. "For children living in camps in the Gaza Strip, the most tragic thing is the loss of hope. So we keep saying over and over 'We Love You.' It is our duty to provide them a chance and a right to be a child – that is our hope for our own futures and what keeps me going."
- The voice of young Cairo beyond the revolution – Aya Faissal's back story reveals one woman's ongoing adventure of joining millions of youth en mass to invoke reform in Egypt. And for her day job she uplifts those women she can – of the million people trapped in the poverty-ridden slums of Cairo. As one of only a few students studying in France prior to coming home to Egypt, she defied the headscarf law while preserving her own customs and personal identity.
- With unrest sweeping through the Middle East, a positive counter-force is organized by youth, leveraging social media and technology – and it's surging beneath the radar of most. Esra'a Al Shafei organized MideastYouth, a grassroots, digital network of fresh, vibrant free-thinkers and activists across North Africa and the Middle East staring down governments and historic regimes. And the West has their eyes on her work, particularly Harvard, TED Fellow Awards and Think Social.
Members pay a small fee ($12-16) per series of calls and there is no limit to how many they can attend. Each woman chooses her own experience, and there is no pressure to do more than listen. After each call many engage with each other as a living global community. Through "My Global Room," a social networking space, they live chat after each call, organize, or keep the conversation going. Through Maestro technology, members receive one another's contact information. The Global Room site provides and supports actions, initiatives, projects, resources, and success stories emerging continuously within the community. To learn about the upcoming roster of speakers or to register, click or visit our site at .
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