September 15, 2022
The Interfaith Peace Project will observe this year’s International Day of Peace by sending out a reflection each day from September 10 through September 21. Today is the fifth reflection. If you miss any reflections, you will find them on our website: interfaithpeaceproject. org.
We will continue our ongoing observance of the International Day after September 21, by sending out a reflection on the twenty-first of every month. We invite you to share in this effort by sending any articles or information that you would like to share to:
Thomas P. Bonacci, C.P
CELEBRATING THE INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PEACE
SEPTEMBER 10 – 21, 2022
Nobel Peace Prize Laureate 2001
Leymah Gbowee is a Liberian peace activist, social worker, and women’s rights activist. She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011 along with Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Tawakkul Karman “for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work.” Leymah is best known for leading a non-violent movement that brought together Christian and Muslim women to play a pivotal role in ending Liberia’s devastating, fourteen-year civil war in 2003. This paved the way for the election of Africa’s first female head of state, Liberian Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. In 2006, Leymah co-founded the Women Peace and Security Network Africa and served as Executive Director for six years. This program is a women-focused, women-led pan- African non-profit organization dedicated to promoting women’s strategic participation and leadership in peace and security governance on the continent. These leadership development programs in Ghana and Liberia have transformed the lives of many young women. In February 2012, Leymah launched a new non-profit organization, the Gwobee Peace Foundation Africa in Monrovia, Liberia, which provides educational and leadership development opportunities for women, girls, and youth. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Nobel Women’s Initiative, Gwobee Peace Foundation, and PeaceJam Foundation. She is also a member of the African Women Leaders Network for Reproductive Health and Family Planning.
Leymah’s Words of Wisdom
“You can’t cure trauma when violence is on-going, so the primary effort must be working for peace. You can’t negotiate a lasting peace without bringing women into the effort, but women can’t become peacemakers without releasing the pain that keeps them from feeling their own strength.”
“You can tell people of the need for struggle, but when the powerless start to see that they really can make a difference, nothing can quench the fire.”
Often peace is born from the courage to hope beyond the trauma of the moment. The claiming of our inner peace is socially, politically, and spiritually radical. World peace begins in the ordinary lives of real people. Today I will walk peacefully in my neighborhood. May I be aware of how I bless the World as I walk peacefully. May I be mindful of all those who walk in the ways of peace.