Distinguished women from across Latin America—Brazil, Ecuador, Chile, Colombia, Argentina, Peru, Uruguay, Cuba, and Paraguay—convened online on May 20, 2023, for a conference to uplift women in the region as catalysts for peace and development. Global Peace Women (GPW) Uruguay, in collaboration with Legacy of the Americas and Global Peace Foundation, convened the virtual conference themed "WOMEN: Inspiration and guide for the future." Speakers and presenters addressed issues concerning the role of women in politics as a force to tackle corruption, provide education and protection of children, and enhance economic freedom and self-sufficiency among women through entrepreneurship.
The president of Global Peace Women-Uruguay, Nibia Pizzo, accompanied by Andrea Ojeda from Chile and a group of women leaders from different countries, formed a Coordinating Committee to carry out this first Continental Conference of GPW. Pizzo was in charge of the opening of the conference, and she transmitted the spirit and purpose of the gathering. She said: "For Global Peace Women, we all have the same original value regardless of sex, race, ethnicity, culture or religion. Each of us, as human beings, have inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. For these reasons and the spiritual sense that motivates us, we believe that all humanity is destined to realize one Family under our one Creator, God.”
Senator Lorena Ríos of Colombia, whose political career spans over 22 years serving in the National Government, said, “I speak as a woman of faith, publicly denouncing what is not right.” She implored the participants to lead and govern responsibly and “fearlessly pursue what is right.”
She shared the importance of educating women on their fundamental role in the transformation of their communities, not only in terms of policies but also in social contexts, through speaking out, correcting narratives to promote understanding and progress and creating spaces where women can share and participate in local governance. “I realized the importance of the visibility, empowerment, and participation of women in decision-making,” she said.
Speakers also examined the importance of good education. Solange Blume, the General Director of Enfoque a la Familia Ecuador, spoke on the importance of raising emotionally healthy and spiritually strong children. “As mothers, we need to learn, train, empathize, validate, and recognize the challenges that our children are currently facing, whether they are our children or those we relate to,” she said. “[The family] is the most important center for development,” she stated, adding that it is where children first learn to communicate, be tolerant, and forgiving with each other. She termed the family as a great external pillar that must be present in the education of children as it provides them with support, a positive identity, constructive use of time, positive values, decision-making, and setting boundaries. Women were encouraged to be intentional in knowing whom their children relate with and learn from, in addition to teaching them to appreciate their schools and teachers.
Panelists also shared inspirational entrepreneurship journeys as they explored ways to promote economic freedom and self-sufficiency. Melisa Rodriguez, a Peruvian national and a senior executive specializing in digital marketing and leadership, highlighted some of the challenges she has faced in her entrepreneurial journey, including lack of proper time management knowledge, fear of failure, and imposter syndrome. “I learned to acknowledge the achievements that I made, whether huge or small, and this has always helped me to move forward,” she said. She encouraged the participants to be creative and to try out different business ideas in line with their passions.
The conference opened important conversations and exchanges of experience and thoughts to foster regional cooperation that can support women and families in the pursuit of peace.