Eighteeen months after the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation established the Mediterranean Women Mediators Network, (MWMN), the project's first local group was created today in Cyprus. The public launching event of the Antenna was held at the Ledra Palace Hotel in Nicosia's demilitarised area, set up by the United Nations.
"It is a particularly meaningful event," said the Italian Ambassador in Nicosia, Andrea Cavallari, in his openig address, "also because it is taking place in Cyprus and focuses on the active participation of the women of both communities in supporting a global agreement. It is meant to enhance bilateral cooperation opportunities and contribute to building trust between the two communities." The Italian Ambassador added: "Today's event may well be considered as a milestone of this ambitious journey, as it represents the first tangible sign of the consolidation of the Network at the local level. We hope it will promote the creation of such Antennas in the other Mediterranean countries."
The launching event was attended also by the representative of UNWomen, Sabine Freizer, and by one of the Cypriot mediators, Kalliope Agapiou Josephides. The Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General and Head of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP), Elizabeth Spehar, delivered the keynote speech. Two days of debates and interactive seminars will follow, focusing on the participation of women in mediation and peacebuilding processes, hosting speakers who are major representatives of other regional mediation networks as the Nordic Women Mediators Network, FemWise-Africa and Women Mediators Across the Commonwealth.
The MWMN Project was initiated in cooperation with the Italian International Affairs Institute (IAI) and the Women in International Security Italia (WIIS Italy), at the time of Italy's mandate as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council. The initiative combines Italy's foreign policy's traditional focus on the Mediterranean, with the support of preventive diplomacy and the committment to empower women in conflict prevention and resolution processes and peacebuilding. The Network has gathered together 50 women of different age groups, skills and backgrounds, coming from 25 Mediterranean countries. The project seeks to enhance women's mediation capabilities, delivering educational and networking programmes, in order to promote their contributions to the region's stability.