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Art: Women of Peace

Xavier exhibition provokes thought, promotes peace

By Elizabeth Wu · January 16th, 2008 · Visual Art
  1000 Peacewomen Across the Globe features the work by hundreds of journalists, writers, photographers and editors.
xavier University Women's Center

1000 Peacewomen Across the Globe features the work by hundreds of journalists, writers, photographers and editors.

Imagine meeting 1,000 nominees for the Nobel Peace Prize all at one time. Beginning Jan. 16, you can do just that. Xavier University's Women's Center will host 1000 PeaceWomen Across the Globe, a traveling exhibition honoring the women who were collectively nominated for the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize.

The exhibition, organized by the non-governmental group PeaceWomen Across the Globe (PWAG), consists of 1,000 cards, each printed with a name and picture of a nominee, a quotation from each, her country and region of origin and a short description of her work and personal mission. The cards are color-coded to distinguish 10 thematic areas of service: reconciliation and reconstruction; women's rights -- human rights on the way to gender democracy; the struggle for survival; stopping the hidden war against women; women, health and peace; 1,000 ways to educate for a global culture of peace; women's efforts for environmental justice; and ecological security and a cultural conception of peace, politics and governance.

PWAG's mission is to make women's roles as peace-builders more visible and better supported globally.

Jennifer Wies, director of Xavier's Women's Center, supports that mission locally. She says that the exhibition "is emblematic of what the Women's Center is striving to do in terms of educating women and men about women's issues worldwide ... (and also) exemplifies for us as an educational institution one of our core values of being people for others."

A compilation of work by hundreds of journalists, writers, photographers and editors from around the world, titled 1000 PeaceWomen Across the Globe, accompanies the cards. A film documenting the work of some of the nominees will play as part of the exhibition. Wies says that Xavier intends to display the exhibition again in the future and share it with its sister centers and other regional offices.

Overall, the combined works demonstrate that peace is a lot more than simply the absence of war.

"1000 PeaceWomen serves as a powerful educational tool showcasing the complexity of peace and women involved in peace movements," Wies says. "The stories of hope and activism will resonate with individuals of all ages and across diverse groups."

She says that, for her, some of the stories on the cards were extremely moving and some of them were funny, but that she decided not to pick favorites.

Xavier's Women's Center, which opened in August of last year, is still new. Its mission is to "provide advocacy and resources, advance learning and academic excellence and promote research focusing on women, girls and gender in an effort to unite people in centering women."

This exhibit is a fitting way for the organization to celebrate the new year as well as to remind visitors of what might make a worthwhile new year's resolution for all of us: practicing peace.

Wies says, "I think that for me (the exhibit) reminds me that we can work toward peace every day, and it begins with one woman."

Xavier has a strong ethic of service. Wies timed the showing to correspond with the recognition of Martin Luther King Jr. Day -- the show will also run through Black History Month and Women's History month.

1000 PEACEWOMEN AROUND THE GLOBE is on view at Xavier University's Women's Center through March 14. Get details and find nearby bars and restaurants here.



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