Women Empowerment Workshop – Nadi, Fiji, from 13 to 15 June 2013


‘Give Greater Recognition to Women’s Role in Promoting a Culture of Peace in the Pacific: UN’

FIJI WORKSHOP WOMEN[Nadi, Fiji – June 13]
Women in the Pacific have shown over and over again that it is they who foster peace in a myriad of recognized and unrecognized ways.

Women’s roles in bringing lasting peace and recognition in strife-torn societies need to be given a greater recognition.

These comments were made by the United Nations Resident Coordinator and UN Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative for Fiji, Knut Ostby when he delivered opening remarks at a regional consultation on women’s empowerment for a culture of peace and non-violence in the Pacific.

“Global efforts towards peace and reconciliation can only succeed with a collective approach built on trust, dialogue, and collaboration. We need to recognize the fact that women have a major role to play in promoting the culture of peace, particularly in strife-torn societies, and in bringing about lasting peace and reconciliation. Bringing women to the forefront of this culture of peace will help create long-term solutions,” said Mr Ostby.

He said a culture of peace generates a mindset that is a prerequisite for the transition from force to reason, from conflict and violence to dialogue and peace.

Women in the Pacific have proved again and again that it is often they who foster the culture of peace in a myriad of recognized and unrecognized ways. The Leaders of the Pacific Islands Forum recognized the importance of women’s equality in their 2012 Declaration on Gender Equality and called for ‘new determination and invigorated commitment to efforts to lift the status of women in the Pacific and empower them to be active participants in economic, political and social life’.”

The consultation on Women’s Empowerment for a Culture of Peace and Non-violence in the Pacific is designed to promote and strengthen a culture of peace at the country and regional level in the Pacific. It is jointly organized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and UN Women.

Dr-Susan-Vize-286x300Dr. Sue Vize, the Officer-in-Charge of the UNESCO Office for the Pacific States said the consultation was designed to address issues surrounding culture and gender equality by creating a dialogue and looking for solutions that have the support of the community.

“UNESCO promotes intercultural dialogue for a culture of peace. Essentially, this involves examining different views and creating consensus for addressing issues in a positive way, for example ways in which cultural models can support and strengthen achievement of gender equality,” she said.

The consultation is attended by a cross section of development professionals and community representatives drawn from governments, national and regional women’s organizations, academic institutions and development partners. Delegates at the meeting are from the Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu. The event will end on June 15 with the expected outcome being a better understanding and agreement on a range of actions at national and regional level that could be adopted to promote increased dialogue amongst leaders and policy makers on the contribution culture and heritage can make to addressing issues of gender inequality and reducing gender based violence.

fiji women peace

Workshop on Women’s Empowerment for the Culture of Peace and Non-Violence in the Pacific to take place at

Nadi, Fiji, from 13 to 15 June 2013.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGender-based violence is widespread across the Pacific.

This is an issue which has been consistently raised by Pacific Islands Countries (PICs) in the framework of the Universal Periodic Review of the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).

The Pacific Regional Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security launched by the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) provides a framework for concerted actions by countries and development partners. Gender equality and addressing gender-based violence are key regional priorities in the Pacific.

Pacific Workshop

A Women’s Empowerment Workshop (Nadi, Fiji, 13 – 15 June 2013) will bring together experts in the area of women’s empowerment for a culture of peace and non-violence in the Pacific.

Research papers and information on projects aimed at promoting gender equality in the region will be presented.

Topics include;

  • exploring linkages between culture and women’s empowerment
  • gender and cultural norms
  • discriminatory cultural practices
  • traditional justice systems
  • participation of women in decision making at all levels

Presentation will form the basis for discussion with recommendations made in a plenary session to be included in a workshop policy statement and action plan.

Information Documents

Workshop Brochure
Designed by Tiapapata Art Centre (Click here)


UNESCO: Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity – 2008

Description: The Tonga archipelago lies in the South Pacific approximately 2,000 kilometres north-east of New Zealand. It is the only constitutional monarchy in the Pacific region. Often considered Tongas national dance, Lakalaka is a blend of choreography, oratory, and vocal and instrumental polyphony. This cultural expression is practised by communities throughout the islands and features prominently at important celebrations such as the coronation of the monarch and anniversaries of the constitution.The term lakalaka means to step briskly or carefully in the Tongan language, and its origins can be traced to a dance known as the meelaufola. The tradition developed in the nineteenth century and, thanks to the continuous transmission and the patronage of the royal family, it underwent a revival in the twentieth century.

Performances last approximately thirty minutes and involve large groups of up to several hundred people. Participants are aligned in rows, men on the right and women on the left.The men dance in rapid and energetic movements, while the women execute graceful dance steps co-ordinated with elegant hand gestures. Both groups clap and sing as they move, and a chorus often provides vocal accompaniment.The polyphonic singing coupled with the synchronized movements of hundreds of dancers offers an impressive spectacle.The creative force behind the performance is the punake who is at the same time poet, composer, choreographer and performance director. Punakes are expected to continually renew the Lakalaka repertory, by exploring themes related to Tongan history, legends, values and social structure.

However, over the past few decades, the number of performances has, diminished and young composers tend to recycle the existing repertory rather than create new compositions.



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