BACKGROUND

GPIW emerged from the first World Summit of Women Religious and Spiritual Leaders at the Palais des Nations (United Nations) in Geneva in 2002, a summit convened in response to the lack of women in the ranks of world spiritual and religious leadership. GPIW was founded to provide faith leaders with a forum to engage in causes for social transformation and to provide women in this sector with a strategic network to support and advance their efforts.As this work has developed, we found that many men supported and sought to further this mission, and they began to join GPIW gatherings as welcomed colleagues.

Our work has centered on uncovering the common ground between faith traditions to create a joint platform for global healing and unity. We have also used feminine values -cooperation, inclusivity, connection as a basis for mediation of social and religious tension in various areas of the world.

In its early years, 2002 to 2008, GPIW convened gatherings with communities in Palestine and Israel, Sudan, Iraq, Afghanistan and Cambodia with the goal of uncovering the deeper origins and impacts of conflict, and to learn how best to address these. Findings from this work revealed that the root causes to conflict, and its solutions, often begin with shifts at the personal level the inner and unseen changes in heart and mind. With this awareness, we began to facilitate this process through intimate dialogue exchanges, and activities such as meditation, indigenous healing practices, centering prayer and yoga, seeing these forms as a beneficial way to further the cause of collective peace through personal transformation.

From 2009 to the present, we have focused our attention on bringing GPIW’s inclusive and spiritually-based model to bear on the pressing global ecological and economic crises, as we see these as inextricably linked to the possibilities for a balanced world. Through such programs we seek to further refine and act on the ways self awareness and social awareness, as well as integration can serve as a pivotal fulcrum for social transformation.

As a convening entity, the Global Peace Initiative of Women goes where we are needed and where we have been called. We work in receptive, responsive and ever-evolving ways.