This year’s Nobel Peace Prize is being awarded to three women peacebuilders for their non-violent efforts to achieve the safety of women and realize women’s rights to full participation in peacebuilding work. It is also a recognition of women’s contribution to peacebuilding efforts across the world—to bring an end to the suppression of women that still exists in many countries, and to realize the greater potential for democracy and peace that women can represent.
For 17 years since its founding, Karuna Center for Peacebuilding has been fortunate to partner with many women peacebuilders who have taken brave and effective steps toward peace across divides. In celebration of the three women winning the Nobel Peace Prize, we would like to feature four women peacebuilders with whom we have worked, and celebrate all ongoing peacebuilding efforts across the world.
Director of Programs, the Centre for Peacebuilding and Reconciliation: Home for Diversity
After attending Karuna Center’s Peace Dialogue session in Sri Lanka and the CONTACT (Conflict Transformation Across Cultures) program at the School for International Training [Vermont, USA] in Sri Lanka, Dishani co-founded the Center for Peacebuilding and Reconciliation (CPBR). With a strong belief in power of individuals and grassroots communities, Dishani and her partner Jayantha began working with youth and religious leaders to contribute to building a united Sri Lanka guided by compassion, justice, and equal respect for diversity. 
Dishani then participated in Karuna Center’s Leadership Training for Dialogue and Reconciliation, a two-year training-of-trainers program held in Sri Lanka from 2003 to 2005.
“My work with Karuna Center gave me the confidence that I could do more than manage logistics for development projects, and inspired me to start my own organization in 2003. Karuna Center was the first organization to work with us as a partner. Today we provide facilitation, program development, and consultation for grassroots groups as well as international organizations.”
Suzanne RubonekaCo-founder, Pro-Femmes Twese Hamwe/ Rwanda
Suzanne is one of the founding members of Pro-Femmes Twese Hamwe
(“Women together for women”), a network of over 50 women’s non-governmental organizations throughout Rwanda founded in 1992. Pro-Femmes aims to empower women and increase their voice in society, eliminate all forms of gender-related discrimination, promote equality and equity between men and women, and develop sustainable peace in Rwanda.“In our culture, there are still barriers for women to express themselves in public…there are no place for women to think, to look for solutions, to play a real role. How can we motivate women, give them the chance to get together to express themselves, without fear?” 
Since 2003, Pro-Femmes Twese Hamwe and Karuna Center have worked to help Rwandan women assume effective roles in the process of building a peaceful culture. During our four-part training series from 2003 to 2005, women participants developed non-violent conflict resolution skills, which are integral to the establishment of a more secure environment between Hutus and Tutsis, who continue to live as neighbors.
Suzanne currently leads Pro-Femmes’ Peace Program. Suzanne has been a leader in helping victims and perpetrators of the Rwandan genocide in 1994 meet and reconcile, in order to rebuild communities and a culture of peace. Her program also supports agricultural cooperatives, micro-lending projects, and youth initiatives.
Emsuda MujagicPresident, Screm do Mira/Bosnia
Emsuda Mujagic is the founder and president of a non-governmental organization, Screm do Mira
(“Through Heart to Peace”), based in Sanski Most, Bosnia, and they have been working for reconciliation among the Serbs, Croats, and Muslims of northwestern Bosnia. The organization also runs programs to support Muslims in the Sanski Most area, who have been forcefully displaced from nearby towns of Prijedor and Kozarac, and help their return home.“We all have important values and ideas, things we care about and want to share. Sometimes we feel our ideas can even change the world, and we want to let other people know how they can join in and make all our lives better.”
In 1997, Emsuda invited Karuna Center to Bosnia to lead peacebuilding workshops for Bosniak and Serb women, who were seeking ways of post-civil war reconciliation. Karuna Center led a series of inter-ethnic dialogues for Bosnian and Serb women, which eventually developed into a larger inter-ethnic dialogue project for educators in 1997.
Mossarat QadeemExecutive Director, PAIMAN Alumni Trust/Pakistan
Coming from a conservative Pashtun family in northern Pakistan, Mossarat dedicates her life to helping women become leaders of their own lives. As the Executive Director of PAIMAN Alumnit Trust, she develops training materials for building leadership skills and encourages women’s political participation and initiatives in gender mainstreaming across Pakistan and South Asia. Based in Islamabad, Pakistan, PAIMAN
in Uldu—is Pakistan’s first center for conflict transformation and peacebuilding, and has worked with 75,000 youths and women in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and the Swat Valley in northern Pakistan. Mossarat taught for 14 years at the University of Peshawar’s Department of Political Science and served as the assistant director of the university’s Women’s Study Center, and she was also a founding member of the regional Women’s Peace Forum. 
In August 2009, Karuna Center’s Executive Director (then Associate Director) Olivia Dreier led peacebuilding training for PAIMAN and their partner organization in the Swat Valley and the tribal regions bordering Afghanistan. In the following winter in 2010, Mossarat and her colleagues attended Dr. Paula Green’s CONTACT South Asia to enhance their peacebuilding capacity.
 Hamilton, Heather. Rwanda’s women: the key to reconstruction. The journal of humanitarian assistance: Online article. 10 May, 2000. Retrieved from http://www.aaw.cc/PDF_files/Rwandas%20Women2.pdf, Accessed on December 7, 2011.
Posted by Satoko Hirano
Satoko is an intern at Karuna Center for Peacebuilding since August, 2011. Satoko is an international student from Hiroshima, Japan, and studying anthropology with a focus on applied anthropology.