[This year’s winners, from left to right: Zarqa Yaftali, Dewi Rana Amir, May Sabe Phyu, Sarita Saru B.K., Meena Baber, Froilyn Tenorio Mendoza, Dayani Panagoda, Ram Bahadur Sunar, Amina Rasul-Bernardo, Sohaila Rezaee, Maisam Iltaf Kazemi]


It is almost 20 years since the signing of the founding resolution on Women, Peace and Security (United Nations Security Resolution 1325). As the world takes stock of the gains of the last twenty years and maps out future implementation of the Agenda, advocates - such as this year’s winners of the N-Peace Awards - continue to provide innovative strategies for ensuring women’s meaningful and substantive participation.

With backgrounds in fields such as policy, journalism, and psychology, each award winner uses their skills to move the needle forward on women, peace, and security. Whether through art therapy as a means to empower young women survivors of conflict, the promotion of indigenous women’s rights and influencing traditional systems, or the production of evidence-based research on the day-to-day challenges women and girls face in diverse conflict and peacebuilding contexts, each awardee reflects the many ways to innovate for the inclusion of women at the peace table.

The winners of this year’s N-Peace Awards are:

Untold Stories

The Untold Stories category recognizes the work of women with demonstrated skills in conflict resolution, prevention, and peacebuilding in their local communities.

Afghanistan: Zarqa Yaftali is awarded for her work in advancing Women, Peace and Security through advocacy and research. Her advocacy at national levels has largely been centered on inclusion of women in decision-making roles. Her evidence-based research highlights the day-to-day challenges faced by women and girls in Afghanistan.

Indonesia: Dewi Rana Amir is celebrated for promoting indigenous women’s rights and their access to community ownership of resources in Central Sulawesi, Indonesia

Myanmar: May Sabe Phyu is recognized for her multi-sectoral approach to build on the gains of women in Myanmar. Through her long-standing career in Women, Peace and Security she had continuously identified and advocated to address laws, policies, as well as cultural and social norms which impede the achievement of full gender equality.

Nepal: Sarita Saru B.K. is commended for her work on media platforms to call to action the contemporary cases of caste discrimination and its disproportionate impact on the lives of women and girls in Nepal.

Pakistan: Meena Baber is congratulated for galvanizing social justice approaches and community engagement for promoting women’s empowerment in conflict-affected areas in Pakistan.

the Philippines: Froilyn Tenorio Mendoza is celebrated for engaging the leadership potential of Teduray and Lambangian women to address concerns of early marriage, polygamy and access to ancestral domain claims. Her work continues to influence the amelioration of traditional justice systems towards equity in the treatment of indigenous women.

Sri Lanka: Dayani Panagoda is awarded for her unwavering efforts in formulating, contribution to and implementation of Women, Peace and Security policies. She continues to ensure that women’s leadership is engaged in tracking of multi-dimensional development in Sri Lanka.

Campaigning for Action

The Campaigning for Action category awards women and men contributing to the Women, Peace and Security Agenda at leadership, policy and decision-making levels. 

Dr. Amina Rasul-Bernardo is awarded for engaging inter-faith methodologies and women’s leadership as integral to the promotion of sustainable peace. Renowned for her efforts in advancing Women, Peace and Security in the Philippines and regionally, she continues to use innovative partnerships to move the needle on women’s participation at all levels.

Ram Bahadur Sunar is applauded for continuously fighting to ensure the equitable treatment of Dalit women, discriminated against based on caste, as well as former women bonded labourers, Kamlahari.

Peace Generation

The Peace Generation category recognizes efforts of youth galvanizing the spirit of volunteerism as a means of promoting social cohesion and gender equality.

Sohaila Rezaee is celebrated for her creative use of art therapy to increase the confidence of young women and girls to engage their leadership potential and address the psychological traumas of conflict and sexual violence.

Maisam Iltaf-Kazemi is recognized for bringing to light stories of peace as well as the life-and-death issues faced by women and girls in their quest for education and equal treatment.

Established in 2010, N-Peace is a UNDP initiative which aims to shine a light on activists, advocates, and practitioners working at all levels towards a gender equal future, particularly in decision-making. Operating in seven countries (Afghanistan, Indonesia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines and Sri Lanka) to date, N-Peace has awarded nearly a hundred women and men championing the call for women’s voices to be heard.

The open call for nominations was made on the 3rd of June, and the public was given until the 31st of July to nominate their candidate for the N-Peace Awards. N-Peace saw an approximate 30 percent increase in the number of nominations this year. Of those nominated, 47 were cleared for online voting after thorough due diligence at regional and country levels. The online voting was held between the 18th of October and the 7th of November. Members of the public were encouraged to register on the N-Peace website and cast their vote for their favorite candidate. The voting process, aimed at providing insight into the levels of community support, received a total 19,404 verified votes cast from 182 countries.

Candidates with the highest number of votes and/or social media interaction were then forwarded to the judges for their final decision. The panel this year included: Lyse Doucet (International Correspondent, BBC), Rashida Manjoo (Academic and former United Nations Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women), Terje Rød- Larsen (diplomat and President of the International Peace Institute), Tawakkol Karman (Nobel Peace Prize Laureate), and Stephen Fridakis (Chief Information Security Officer of HBO).

Previous winners of the award have included the only woman in history to serve as chief negotiator and sign a formal peace agreement in this capacity, Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, human rights activist, Wai Wai Nu, and global expert on preventing violent extremism, Mossarat Qadeem.

From the beginning of this year, #NPeaceAwards has seen over 21 million timeline deliveries on Twitter, with over 5 million users reached. As we continue to map out the next generation of women, peace and security, N-Peace would like to congratulate the 11 winners on their phenomenal achievements working towards a gender-equal peace table.

For more on N-Peace visit our website, or follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Belinda Hlatshwayo (belinda.hlatshwayo@undp.org)


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