Thursday, September 27, 2012

Women! Lead the way!

It is sometimes hard to define this space. What is the structure? What are the limits? What are the guidelines? What is the goal? What is the dream? I want this space to be real. I want this space to be authentic. I want this space to simmer. I want this space to crackle. I want this space to pull at heartstrings– to fill the soul. I want this space to grow new thoughts– to generate ideas–old and new. I want this space to inspire. I want this space to create. I want this space to laugh. I want this space to share. I want this space for a late night. I want this space for an early morning. I want this space for a sunny corner–or a rainy day. I want this space for me. I want this space for you. I want this space to fill cups, and cups of cosmos.

My latest Cup of Cosmos is overflowing with reality. The reality of what is happening around the world from an international perspective. For some, this seems too daunting, too far away, and/or too hard to understand. For people who feel this way–I understand. But for me, it is right at the centerfold of my everyday. It is the hook that I cast out into the ocean of New York City–an ocean of knowledge, expertise, and experience. In return, I hope to catch the answers to questions, connecting one side of the world with another, and learn something new every single day about the problems and solutions (that are at the forefront of discussion) in the international arena. That is one full cup.

Rarely do I ever spill heavy thoughts and ideas out onto this page–but recently it has seemed necessary. I was inspired this week by a trip I took uptown, to a very tall high rise building, where I found myself in a room in the clouds, sitting around a large table surrounded by members of the UN, women from parliament and ambassadors to countries from all over the world. I heard from women first hand describe their daily struggles to obtain an education, fight for social and political freedoms and a find their voice in countries such as Pakistan and Afghanistan. These women face resistance everyday from their government, from their community and from their country based solely on their gender. As the world looks to strengthen both peace and security, women are at the forefront of the discussion as a means to the solution.

This movement is slowly taking shape– just look at the incredible women like Vandana Shiva, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Leymah Gbowee, Tawakkol Karman and Wangari Maathai. These women are my role models. They are paving the way for women all over the world to have opportunity, equality, education, voice, respect, and a greater role and responsibility in their communities and worldwide. Our very own United Nations Secretary General, Ben Ki–moon recently said, “We must put women at the front and center of the peace process–in negotiation and mediation, post conflict governance and reconstruction. The President of Pakistan also said, “The world would be a better place if more women were in positions of power and women of the region were brought closer together. Bringing together women of the region will make this region more tolerant, more peaceful, and more secure.” As world leaders begin to shine a light on the role and asset women are to our world, we can’t help but start to see some changes taking place.

And so I left the office in the clouds feeling not only hopeful, but also inspired. There are amazing changes taking place all over the world, and incredible people (particularly women) behind those changes. We have a long way to go, but we also can’t forget how far we have come. As Ms. Shinkai Karokhail pointed out to me yesterday, “ You can’t compare a woman of today with a woman from 10 years ago—they are two totally different people.” And so this might not be the Cup of Cosmos that you expected for today. This might not be the Cup of Cosmos that you want to gulp down. All I ask is that you try it, take a sip, let it seep into your veins and just think about some of the global issues that are taking place (all) around you. You don’t have to be an expert. Just be aware. And always have a cup at the ready. Cheers.

This cup is for Ms. Shinkai Karokhail and Dr. Donya Aziz–truly inspiring women who are changing the world 

And I will leave you with a few inspiring clips:

I watch this all the time and feel inspired:

Great people doing great things:

Who better to sing it than Beyonce?

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