Office Address

BRAC University, Building 07, Level 09, 43 Mohakhali C/A Dhaka,1212, Bangladesh

Phone Number

02-9844051

Email Address

cpj@bracu.ac.bd

November 28, 2019 salim rana

On November 28th, 2019, Centre for Peace and Justice (CPJ), Brac University, has organized a grand launching ceremony of its 2nd Women Peace Café at Jatiya Kabi Kazi Nazrul Islam University (JKKNIU), Mymensingh. CPJ has facilitated the establishment of Women Peace Café at two regional universities as an innovative and pioneering initiative to engage young female students in promotion of peace and cohesion in the society under Empowered Women, Peaceful Communities Project in support of UN Women Bangladesh.

The launching ceremony of Women Peace Café at JKKNIU was commenced by releasing doves and unveiling plaque of the Café on 28th November. Then, the guest along with selected participants have visited the photography and drawing exhibition on peaceful and inclusive society organized by WPC members at ground floor of JKKNIU Central Library. They were amazed to see students’ creative side and how they have portrayed women, peace and cohesion through their imagination and creativity.

 

Photography Contest (Online) and Exhibition on Peaceful and Inclusive Society

Women Peace Café, JKKNIU and Film & Photography Club JKKNIU jointly organized an online photography contest on Peaceful and Inclusive Society on 18-24 November 2019.  More than 300 hundreds photos have been received from 27 photographers and among them 24 selected photographs were exhibited on launching ceremony.

 

Drawing Competition on Women in Peace & Social Cohesion

On the occasion of Women Peace Café Launching Ceremony, the Peace Café members organized Drawing Competition on Women in Peace & Social Cohesion on 27-28 November 2019 at WPC Office, JKKNIU. 25 students of JKKNIU joined the drawing contest. Selected drawings were exhibited during launching ceremony.

The competition aimed to increase awareness and thinking among university students on Peace and Social Cohesion. The drawings and photographs also support the students to visualise a peaceful and inclusive society

Shoko Ishikawa, Country Representative of UNWomen Bangladesh, with other guests then visited the Women Peace Café and talked to WPC members about their ongoing activities.  Members of WPC have received all the guest with sweets. They have also handed over the portrait drawing of Shoko Ishikawa and Manzoor Hasan.

Rally for Launching of Women Peace Café

To create awareness among university students about launching of WPC and its activities a rally had been organized which started from Central Library of Jatiya Kabi Kazi Nazrul Islam University and ended at Gahi Sammer Gan Mukto Monch. Distinguished guests along with 150 students, faculty members including guests participated the rally.

Discussion Meeting with Students and Faculty Members at Gahi Sammer Gaan Mukto Monch

Country Representative of UN Women Bangladesh, Ms. Shoko Ishikawa, Honorable Vice Chancellor of Jatiya Kabi Kazi Nurul Islam University, Prof Dr AHM Mustafizur Rahman, the Executive Director of Centre for Peace and Justice, Manzoor Hasan OBE, Treasurer of JKKNIU Prof. Jalal Uddin and Board Member of Dr. Wazed Research and Training Institute, Dr. Saber Ahmed Chowdhury and Dr. Samia Huq, Research Fellow, CPJ & Director, GenEd, Brac University were present as distinguished guest among others.

More than 300 pre-registered student and faculty members of JKKNIU and BRUR participated the event. A number of electronic and print media representatives have also joined the ceremony for news coverage.

 

Sadik Hasan Shuvo, Mentor WPC and Lecturer, JKKNIU requested the honoured guests and participants to take their seat. He then handed over to Mr. Wali Ullah, Chief Mentor and Lecturer, JKKNIU for his welcome speech.

Mr. Ullah extended his warm welcome to the distinguished guests, faculty members, Women Peace Café members and Volunteers and participants present at the programme. He thanked honoured guests for their presence.  While talking about the current scenario of violence against women and social turmoil in Bangladesh Mr. Ullah stressed on how important this initiative is. He sincerely thanked CPJ, Brac University and UNWomen to recognise the needs of peacebuilding works and giving students the opportunity to advocate for women’s role in peace and cohesion.

Dr. Samia Hoque shared her memories of WPC’s beginning with the programme participants. She said,

“The idea of Women Peace Café actually came from students who participated in the training gprogramme and since then they have been wonderfully moving forward resulting this idea to become reality.”

 

In her speech addressed to students she emphasised on recognising the strength of feminine voice and bring more women’s voice on peace discussion. She said,

“There have been growing discussion that we should practice talk in more feminine way rather in masculine way which is considered aggressive and dominating. It has been proved that discussions are more fruitful when they have female representatives talking in feminine voice. Hence we all, including men, should recognise the power of femininity and use this power in peace talk.”

Members and Volunteers of WPC, JKKNIU and WPC, BRUR also shared their experience of working for Women Peace Café. Mahmuda Shorna, President of WPC, JKKNIU shared a story of a woman who lacked purpose in life and was always wanting to do something for her community before she attended the training programme delivered by CPJ. She said, “This is my story and I am the woman. Involving with Women Peace Café has been a life changing experience for me.” She said that WPC has helped to develop her leadership capacities to influence people and promulgate peace.

A volunteer, Probin Tripura, has also expressed his excitement and gratitude with students to be part of WPC. Reflecting on men and women working together as partners to build a peaceful community, he said, “Many of us have always been wondering why development initiatives only involve women, why not men also? Now, I am so delighted that CPJ and UNWomen are giving us, men, the opportunity to get involved to empower women.”

Jasmin Khatun from BRUR WPC shared what initiatives they have taken from WPC, BRUR to uphold peace in their campus. She gave a little tour of the activities they have completed and been doing. She stated, “We have celebrated International Peace day with tree plantation, organized Debate Competition on Women, Peace and Security, and started a 2 months long ‘Self-defense Training’ recently.” She also mentioned how their university authority especially honourable Vice-Chancellor Prof. Dr. Major Nazmul Ahsan Kalimullah BNCCO, have been supporting WPC to accomplish its aim.

After the intriguing speeches from students Dr. Saber Ahmed Chowdhury, Board Member, Doctor Wazed Research and Training Institute, BRUR gave his motivating speech addressing the students. He talked about how WPC is empowering women by giving them a platform to raise their voice and take actions. He called the students who are working with WPC “the Shining Stars”. He stressed on replicating WPC in other universities saying,

“My experience is that there is a huge positive acceptance of WPC in both of the campuses, BRUR and JKKNIU. This is evidence that students want to be involved in such kind of activities. Therefore, we should provide them with more opportunities.”

He also thanked CPJ, UNWomen for introducing such an innovative initiative and their sincere efforts to contribute to build a peaceful society.

Prof. Jalal Uddin, Treasurer of JKKNIU, talked about equality between men and women. He compared men and women as the two wheels of the same vehicle. He said,

“If one wheel is broken the other cannot move forward the vehicle. These means both of the wheels are equally important. Now consider men and women as these two wheels of the society. If we want to better society we have to give equal treatment and importance to both.”

Barrister Manzoor Hasan spoke about the objectives and importance of Women Peace Café in this auspicious event. He stressed on partnership between stakeholders, and institutions to create such platforms and work on peacebuilding in such a time of turmoil and conflict sprouting time. He said,

“We should focus on three ‘P’s here, Partnership, which should be developed in every sphere of life; Peace- an important philosophy of life and we want to promote more of it; and finally Politics- that we should avoid to build better partnership and peace.”

He also encouraged students saying,

“You have been extremely productive in the last few months and that shows in your today’s wonderful arrangements. Now we need to propagate this work, partnering men and women and promote peace in the communities. I want to congratulate you for this wonderful initiative and achievemnets, you will be role model to the future students.”

Shoko Ishikawa, Country Representative of UNWomen also thanked students and CPJ Brac University in her speech. She said that Women Peace Café is a platform bringing students especially female students of universities, together for a cause. She recognized the Action Plan that has been adopted by the Bangladesh Government for women empowerment. She said,

“Bangladesh has come a long way in women education and empowerment. Bangladesh has actually been leading the global community with the exemplary achievements in women education. We hope university students will play an important role in promoting peace and cohesion also.”

She also forwarded ideas to students on how to contribute on Activism for Prevention of Violence against Women as the 16 Days Activism against Gender Based Violence was going on. She called upon students of JKKNIU to be a part of this campaign. She also advised students to use social media to motivate other students and people by publicizing their wonderful activities.

She especially thanked the Vice Chancellor of JKKNIU for encouraging students and supporting their activities. She said that she can see the Honourable VC as the embodiment of students’ enthusiasm and efforts to make a change for better and peaceful community.

 

After the speeches from Guests of Honour, The Chief Guest of the event Vice Chancellor of JKKNIU Dr. A. H. M. Mustafizur Rahman gave his remarkable speech. He thanked all distinguished guests for their gracious presence. He especially thanked CPJ, Brac University and UNWomen for their outmost support for such a wonderful event. He said to his students to honor women and recognise their strength. He said,

“Women are no less than men, they are equally capable of achieving wonderful things. We should give them equal opportunities and honour so that they can achieve those things. There is still discrimination towards women and we should work to eradicate these discrimination.”

The Women Peace Café members and mentors have provided the distinguished guest with a crest as souvenir.

 

The event came to an end with Vote of thanks delivered by Zia Uddin, Programme Manager of CPJ, Brac University. He thanked the present honoured guests, the chief guests, students and volunteers of WPC, mentors of WPC, Asma Afrin Haque, Monitoring & Reporting Analyst, UN Women Bangladesh, his team members from CPJ and present journalists and all participants for their cordial presence and make the event a succes

 

Cultural Events:

At the end of discussion session, WPC members performed a dance with a country song Pratul Mukhopadhyay titled Ami Banglay Gaan Gai.

Then the WPC members performed a ramp reflecting the multiple roles of women in society. The ramp was directed by Mehedi Tanzir, Assistant Professor, Theatre & Performance Studies, JKKNIU.

 

The Ramp Show are available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Llb6ZSbm64

 

Pledge Collection

A team of WPC Members collected pledges from participants launching ceremony on 28th November since morning. Participants have asked to write their pleadges, thoughts on Women Peace 

 

Photo Booth

Two Photo Booth has been placed to capture photographs and raise awareness about Women Peace Café Initiative

 Women Peace Café Launching Pack: In order to raise awareness about women peace café initiatives and its activities, the organisers designed a T-Shirt and Note Pad.  All the participants and guest have been distributed pack containing a pen, note pad, T-shirt, programme schedule, and project brochure during registration.

Thoughts of Women Peace Café members and General Students on Launching Programme

To understand the students’ experience of WPC till now and their expectations from the launching event and future of WPC designated research personnel from CPJ, Brac University talked to the students and volunteers. Working with WPC has been life changing experience for the students. WPC has provided them with a platform to gather, interact, and take actions for making positive impacts in their campus.

Although WPC has not been officially launched in the JKKNIU campus it has been actively implementing initiatives for promoting peace and women’s role in peace and cohesion for a while. Some the activities that have been accomplished successfully are a seminar on Depression and Mental Health Observing International Peace Day, International Day for Tolerance, Organizing Peace Adda (Peace Talk), Establishing Resting booth during 2019 Admission test at the campus, Co-organizing Photography Competition and Exhibition on Peaceful and Inclusive Society, and Organizing Drawing Competition on Women in Peace and Cohesion etc.

Members and volunteers are thrilled to take this forward. Male students are also working together with female students and they think this will send strong message to other students that men and women should work together to promote women’s role in peacebuilding.

Mahmuda Shorna, the President of the WPC, JKKNIU said,

“To raise awareness for peacebuilding men and women can equally contribute. Men’s and women’s path and destination are not different on the contrary it’s the same, to accomplish a peaceful environment in the society. Therefore I think involving men to support us will strengthen our capacity.”

Probin Tripura, a male volunteer of WPC said,

“We, men, are thrilled to be a part of this initiative. We only hope we can support the women in every possible ways and help them to achieve the goal to build a peaceful society.”

Member and volunteers are hopeful that this launching ceremony will have a significant positive impact among the students. As much as it gives WPC an exposure in the campus it also familiarise students with peace discussion. It will also help WPC to recruit more enthusiast volunteer.

Overall, WPC members and volunteers are envisioning to promote peace and cohesion in the campus through their activities for a peaceful community. To them peaceful community is-

“Free of any stereotype and discrimination. Everyone will have the equal opportunity.”-Mahmuda Shora, President of WPC, JKKNIU

“Where people irrespective of their class, gender, and religious or ethnic identity will be living with unity and in harmony. No one will be denied of their rights and there will be no turmoil that disrupt peace.” Probin Tripura, Volunteer of WPC, JKKNIU

Event Promotion on Social Media

The launching of WPC have been actively promoted on social media to grab students’ attention and promulgate interest. More than 250 students registered online which reflects growing interest in the campus for Women Peace Café activities. News of Women peace café has been reched to more than 5,000 audience through social media.