Saturday, October 11, 2008

More than a Conference: The International Peace Meeting by the WwF.org

I had the honor to be part of a peace and culture meeting held by the International organization, Women without Frontiers (WwF), in the beautiful island of Rhodes, Greece on September 26-28. The International Intercultural Conference on Women, Peace, and Culture in the Common Cultural Course of the Eastern Mediterranean was more than a peace meeting. For me it was a great social learning opportunity when I was so lucky to meet with and interact in person with more than 70 peace loving people and listened to presentations by some of them. Participants were officials, educators, politicians, and business people from across the Mediterranean, including Greece, Italy, Cyprus, Jordan, Iran, Lebanon, and Kuwait.

The first day began with speeches by local officials and senior educators who expressed support and encouragement to members and friends of WwF. The official ceremony took place in one of the main conference rooms in the Rodos Palace Hotel; the room walls were decorated with lovely portraits and Art peaces by Greek female Artists. There was also a long counter at the entrance of the room where books, including novels and poetry by Greek authors, poets, and writers.


Also, a number of beautiful young ladies from Rhodean high schools, dressed in lovely ancient Greek dresses with the viol head cover, all in soft and lovely cream color, welcomed all of us, the audiences, anywhere we walked in the room, while holding olive branches to express love and peace and support to all good wills (sorry about the quality of the photo - I'll try to find a better one soon). In the evening we were all invited to a real Greek concert when we listened to beautiful Greek songs by a female singer first and then a male singer, and both were more than great (sorry the photos are not good to publish due to the dark light effect). Later we were taken in such a luxurious coach to my favorite part of Rhodes, the Old City, where we had such a lovely dinner that I'm still remembering its taste in my mouth (yum)at the famous restaurant of the Four Season, where Onassis once had dinner there, we were told; such an honor we were given, and I am still emotional about the Rhodean Hospitality that I believe have exceeded the Arabic's.

The first round of sessions began at 9:50 am (Greece local time-GMT+3)on the second day when participants from Kuwait, Farahnaz and I delivered our talks. Farah, who is an Iranian, currently residing in Kuwait gave a complete background information about the activities of the Women's Cultural Society in Kuwait. Her presentation was so informative that I've learned a lot from her about the cultural society of women in Kuwait.

Later, more participants from across the ME and Greece gave informative talks about women and people activities toward peace and the effort exerted to improve their societies in the field of Education and Health, in particular. The second round of sessions began at 5 pm when more participants educated us about the current situations in their countries / provinces / regions regarding ways to empower children, women, and the role efforts of WwF.org branches in this regard.

The day ended with an invitation to a generous typical Greek dinner in the hotel where we were treated like queens and princesses :) The evening began with traditional Greek dances from the various lovely Greek folklore, and the more than excellent food from the Greek cuisine. It was an unforgettable learning experience when I got to know new Greek dishes and then learned how to dance Greek.

Finally, I'd like to express gratitude to the lady behind the scene and her team, Ms. Charoula and the members of the Administrative Board of the WwF.org who made me cry and still emotional because of the wonderful, great, and so organized job; without them this event wouldn't be such a successful learning experience! And, thank you so much for the Certificate; I'll treasure it.

I'd also like to mention that the Rhodean Hospitality didn't end with the lovely tour in the afternoon of the third day; however, the two gentlemen, the IT person and his friend Mike were kind enough to give me a ride to the airport as I couldn't join the other participants who left earlier to catch their flight.

A Big Hug and Thank you to all of you who organized such a successful event and to all those of you behind the scene whom I didn't have the honor to meet you.

Viva the International organization of Women without Frontiers everywhere, and I hope we Farah and I can establish a branch in my beloved country Kuwait!


Love & Peace from Kuwait :)


Slides, audio recording, and all URLs mentioned in the presentation by me and my co-presenters, Vance, Nellie, and Doris at the International Intercultural Conference on Women, Peace, and Culture 2008 can be found at: http://buthaina-wwf-peaceconf08.wikispaces.com/WwF_Conference08

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