Dear Women without Borders,
Dear Friends of Women without Borders,
As 2008 gradually draws to a close, and before we delve into a new year, we are encouraged to reflect upon the happenings and challenges our global community has had to face. Dramatic conflicts, economic downturn and prevailing inequality have cast a deeming shadow over the beginning of the new millennium. Inevitably, this will, at least for some time, continue to be the case as the problems of the past follow us into the future. Our research in Saudi Arabia, India and Zanzibar was a product of our on-the-ground work in these regions and coincided with these new dire global socio-economic and political trends. Nevertheless, even while these may be the new and most salient issues of the day, we will not succumb to these challenges. Instead, we shall take them on and let a positive attitude and our tools for conflict resolution lead the way.
In Saudi Arabia our research touched the lives of 4,400 young educated female and male adults. Their mutual concern called for a common ground on which they could express themselves and conduct debate. Finding a balance between traditional values and modern ways, and further, between patriotism and globalization’s powerful vacuum, is what consumes the new generation. These issues are central to Women without Borders’ everyday efforts.
“Living together, but how? – Muslims in Europe” constituted Women without Borders’ theme of the year. Interviews with young male Muslims revealed topical issues. The conversations with both Muslim and non-Muslim schoolchildren, their respective teachers and parents, suggest how far along we still are from ironing out our differences. While this may remain a most imperative concern for the years to come, we continue to successfully foster, and take big strides towards, a united Europe.
Needless to say, the recent terrorist attacks in Mumbai were yet another reminder of the urgent need challenge the restlessness of the youth, the resentments of ethnic and political groups and their willingness to radicalize and mobilize and act by other methods than war and anti-terror opposition. As a reaction to these trends the global community felt it had to respond and Women without Borders, together with a diverse group of most courageous women from around the world, launched ‘Sisters Against Violent Extremism’ (SAVE).
Keeping this in mind, we wish you a peaceful and happy holiday season and courage for change.
Edit Schlaffer and the Women without Borders team