Sunday, March 3, 2013

Consultation Day

Day 2 was simply full of inspirations and passionate speeches. Here is a very brief (I tried my best) summary of my experience and thoughts of today.

8am – Armenian Convention Center
We decided to walk to the center and it only took us about 15 minutes. It very much reminded me of my young days in Seoul. I used to walk everywhere, day and night, in a cold weather just like in NYC. Good times.
When we got to the center, first thing we realize is a long line of women outside of the building. It was surprising (or shocking) to see that Jeff and I were the only men in line until I talked to few Japanese men later on that morning. Then, we started distributing our fliers. It was competitive as everyone tried to pitch in their own events. But it was actually a great way to network I have to say. I am definitely going to these Japanese women’s event about women in Okinawa, Japan on Tuesday!

Waiting outside

Just watch this. It was a phenomenal opening act.

9:30am - Welcome by Soon-Young Yoon and Michelle Bachelet
           One thing that really disappointed me today is lack of presence of Koreans. I only met 3 Korean women while there were a lot of Japanese men and women. Then, Soon-Young Yoon (who is Korean) gave a welcome speech as the chair of NGO CSW. At first, I found it funny. Both the Secretary-General of the UN and the chair of NGO CSW are titled by Koreans; yet, Koreans were almost invisible at the CSW consultation day. I feel very strongly about this and hopefully, somehow, I will get to fix this in the future.

 About 700 people at the consultation. About 6,000 people registered for CSW conferences.

Soon-Young Yoon, Chair, NGO CSW/ NY

11:00am – Panel on Trafficking of Women and Girls
           I am sure Yolanda will cover this more in detail but Dr. Helga Konrad, Former Austrian Minister for Women, was definitely my favorite speaker of the session. She said that we learned to manage human trafficking but not a very combatic way. She questioned political wills to end human trafficking and encouraged NGOs to push the governments. But some governments are less acceptable to NGOs push than others. How do we approach this in such circumstances?

Dr. Helga Konrad, Fomer Austrian Minister for Women

1:30pm –Panel on the Role of Men
            I KNEW I had to have a quick lunch and come back to the center because of this session. Ah, this was such a great session. Bafana Khumalo, Senior Program Specialist of Sonke Gender Justice in South Africa, raised many great points. He expressed his concerns over alcohol consumption, possession of guns, parenting (need for men to be involved in children’s lives; women get maternity leaves but what do men get for bonding with the children?), and investment for the research in the role of men.
           Malika Dutt, CEO and founder of Breakthrough (Ring the Bell), was just a phenomenal speaker. Instead of writing about her speech on Ring the Bell campaign, I leave you with two short clips of Ring the Bell global movement. But later on, at the last panel of the day, she emphasized the importance of 1) asking for help 2) making commitments to one another.

Thanks to Beth (who shouted “we have a man here with a question!) I got to ask a question to the panels at the end. My question was, “I find framing violence against women as a women’s issue because it is essentially everyone’s issue. How can we shift away from this societal attitude, not in a way putting men in a shame, but rather, encourage men to be part of the movement?” Although they didn’t have time to directly answer my question, it is something that we all should be mindful of, I thought.

Mallika Dutt, CEO and Founder of Breakthrough

3:45pm – Training in Communications and Social Media
           PCI Media Impact put on very intriguing presentations. Communications and Social Media is something that we all should not overlook, nowadays, because literally anything can happen in one night with the power of social media. They mentioned the effective communication and social media strategies are composed of 70% entertainment and 30% education. They also said that the Five Key communication principles are 1) Knowing your audience 2) Use your trusted sources 3) Heads, Hearts, & Hands (make your audience feel what you mean) 4) Use love, not loss and 5) Share across the platforms. Later on, they defined social as dialogues, learning, sharing, and collaborating. These presentations involved many impressive examples such as Takun J, the hip co artist in Liberia, and his song “Song for Hawa,” Circle of 6, and once again, Breakthrough ads.

NANCY SCHWARTZMAN, The Founder of The Line Movement and Circle of 6

5:15pm – “The” Conversation
           At the end of their presentations, PCI people wanted us to do interactive activities with our neighbors, I turned around and tried to talk with this lady behind me. She immediately said, “They didn't target the audience like they told us to, although they are doing their best.” During the conversation, she mainly critiqued how this social media presentation was created for selected audience, rather than the global audience. She even mentioned how the session was too intellectual for developing communities, and not practical enough. She even questioned circle of 6, which I disagreed with her. But then, she challenged me “Who’s going to use it? Not all women can afford iPhones.”
           This, to me, was a wake-up call. What happened to my critical thinking that I learned in Women’s Studies courses? She said she was sorry for being negative. But, in fact, she did not have to apologize because her concerns were rather constructive criticisms. In this field, especially, self-critique is important because our ultimate goal is to reach out to women (and men) as many as possible to end violence against women. I still think circle of 6 IS a useful app that many people can benefit from. Some of my friends use this app frequently. However, it is something that we need to deeply think about that the global audience might not have an access to technologies like we do in America. I LOVED the fact that these women and men are so passionate about their works; they challenge themselves to be even better through self-critique. The lady disappeared shortly after telling us she is going to talk with the presenters about her concerns. It was such a great way to end my 2nd day at CSW and I can’t wait for tomorrow’s presentations (mine and others!!!)

- Brian :)

1 comment:

  1. Brian,

    You're truly an inspiration! Thanks for sharing your great experience with those of us back home.