"Women in Black, Armenia" PeaceBuilding Initiative organized their second annual conference on the theme of "Questioning militarism, nationalism and peace discourses" which took place in Aviatrans hotel in April 28-30 . The conference was an opportunity for speakers and participants also to talk about their perceptions on peace and about the problems they’ve met during their activism and resistance.
The conference-forum began by informing the participants about the history and activities of "Women in Black, Armenia" PeaceBuilding Initiative. For this purpose Lida Minasyan spoke about the relations of "Women in Black, Armenia" PeaceBuilding Initiative with "Society Without Violence" NGO and their cooperative activities. During this session one of the founders of “Society Without Violence” NGO Anna Arutshyan shared her memories and impressions. She also mentioned that one of the goals associated with WIB Armenia Initiative was to see it as an independent and apart body.
During the session of "Non-Verbal communication" speaker Aida Simon gave an opportunity to the participants to know each other within a short time, which made the forum very interactive and informal.
After this activity human rights activist Zara Hovhannisyan spoke about militaristic duration in Armenia. The speaker presented how militarism is rooted in political, economic, cultural and educational spheres and how we can avoid all that.
In the end of the day Qnarik Mkrtchyan discussed how conflicts can effect on women and what mechanisms exist in the world. She talked about local and international examples of women’s difficulties and fluently passed to 1325 resolution.
On the second day Anna Jamakochyan presented her discussion on "National unity as a resistance trap" theme, during which she talked about the meaning of "National unity" , mentioned the roots of it and how this concept displayed or is still displaying in different realities.
On this section human rights defender Zara Hovhannisyan talked about the history of civil resistance and shared her own experience on peaceful resistance with compelling and unique local examples, which were also accompanied by her criticism.
One of the members of the Initiative "Beyond Borders” Tatev Tatulyan talked about the programs their initiative had held with Armenian and Turkish women through interesting story telling and experience sharing.
This was followed with the speech of feminist-activist Rebecca Johnson. Rebecca is a member of "Women in Black" initiative in London. During the skype-call she spoke about her present and past experience on non-violent resistance and with the help of participants she tried to reveal and discuss local activism in Armenia and the examples of encountered problems.
The third day Queer feminist Anna Nikoghosyan made a feminist critique of the 1325 resolution and showed in details how it salvages feminism and gives a space for militarism.
Milena Abrahamyan presented her report on "Stereotypes about women's roles and women as peacekeepers” and through discussion "What kind of women, what kind of peace" she tried to question perceptions about women and peace.
The conference ended with an active discussion and gave the participants an opportunity to learn about the existing problems in the sphere and purchase new attitudes on peace, militarization and stereotypes about women as peacemakers.