Our Mission

Our mission is to gather young leaders and wise elders to listen, reflect and explore ways to foster systemic changes that create unity among humanity and a loving, respectful relationship with Earth and all of life.

Our Story

Rooted in Healing the Divide

The seed for the Global Peace Initiative of Women (GPIW) was planted in the fertile soil of elegantly proactive and peaceful resistance of women leaders of faith at the UN Millennium World Peace Summit of Religious and Spiritual Leaders. At this Summit held in the year 2000, Dena Merriam and women religious leaders recognized the absence of the feminine perspective at such international forums, and the need to lift up the voices of women in leadership to effectively address the growing conflict emerging around the world. Their response was a convening of 500 women leaders at the very first World Summit of Women Religious and Spiritual Leaders at the Palais des Nations (United Nations) in Geneva in 2002. The success of this Summit and subsequent calls for ongoing peace dialogues prompted Dena to form GPIW in 2002.


As a young organization, GPIW began its work through the exploration of the root causes driving conflict in places such as Israel and Palestine, Iraq, Sudan, Afghanistan, Cambodia, and between India and Pakistan and Kashmir. The first five years of organizing women-led dialogues focused on developing approaches to diffuse conflict and engender peace, brought with it lessons and insights that helped nurture GPIW into the next phase of its evolution. The primary lesson revealed by this work is that the understanding, solutions, and momentum to heal external conflict and violence begins with personal transformation and resolution of internal conflict. 



Bridging the Inner and Outer

Just as rivers change with their landscapes, GPIW’s outer work shifted under the powerful force of this lesson. Global convenings became intimate dialogue exchanges supported by a cocoon of spiritual cultivation practices such as meditation, prayer, and indigenous ceremony,.  These practices allowed for the inner shifts needed to hold an outer discourse imbued with wisdom and an expansive vision - a vision that was compassionate and creative. As part of the work of restoring the balance needed for peace, GPIW has always invited the participation of men into these gatherings.

Since 2009 GPIW’s gatherings focused on this integrated model to creatively explore the new paradigms that can succeed the current systems that underly the challenges before us, and in particular the ecological crisis. This means looking closely at our economic structures, the way we grow our food, care for our forests and waters, educate our young, and interact with nature and one another. GPIW brings together individuals from diverse communities and people of deep spiritual wisdom and practice to explore and reimagine new systems that support the whole of life.

Nourishing an Interconnected Future

As GPIW continues to walk along the spiral of space and time, we evolve and adapt as called upon by forces large and small, seen and unseen. Our programs have woven together compassionate leaders working to amplify the intelligence of the heart and the deeper spirit nestled within.   Our work now lies in restoring right relationship with the living Earth. We continue to hear the evolutionary call for an activation of feminine principles in the approach to this healing. And we understand that much responsibility now lies with the younger generation. 

Over the past three years, GPIW has been focused on nourishing and empowering young leaders who are committed to reestablishing an interconnected, intelligent, expressive, and sacred ecology of living systems, and this may include helping them find the spiritual practices that will strengthen them internally.

 We draw upon our twenty year history to call upon the wisdom of elders to guide and mentor these new leaders as needed. And we flow forward together into new emergence by lifting up the most sacred of our feminine ways of working - intuitive, non-hierarchical, multi-dimensional, collaborative, nurturing, and humble. We invite you into our experiment, process, and living web as we move into a reverent and intimate relationship with a planetary system to which we already belong.