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Global Network of Religious Women's Organizations

The World Conference on Religion and Peace today announced plans to debut the first Global Network of Religious Women's Organizations, linking more than 350 groups worldwide and representing all the major faith traditions.

Via online e-groups and directories on the Web and in print, the Network will provide a forum for the sharing of experiences and perspectives among religious women who are leading their communities in confronting challenges such as war and reconciliation, human rights, poverty and disease. It also will offer training tools and information about future events, and will encourage networking and collaboration on issues that transcend national and religious boundaries.

The launch event will feature a panel discussion on "Religious Women as International Agents of Peace," with speakers including Dr. Noeleen Heyzer, Executive Director of UNIFEM, and Dr. Carolyn Hannan from the United Nations Office of the Special Adviser for Gender Issues & Advancement for Women. The Religions for Peace Women's Program also will introduce a new book, A Woman's Place: Religious Women as Public Actors, in which women from seven major faiths discuss the imperatives for women's leadership in their respective traditions.

"Religious women have earned increasing recognition in recent years for their creative achievements and leadership in carving paths to peace," said Religions for Peace Secretary General Dr. William F. Vendley. "Today, possibilities for new forms of leadership are steadily emerging. This network will enable religious women's organizations to share ideas and strategies, validate their own experiences, and form multi-religious partnerships that pool their capacities and resources. It will magnify the impact of women's organizations in their communities, and bring their achievements and perspectives into focus around the globe."

Religions for Peace, the largest international coalition of religious communities dedicated to achieving peace worldwide, mobilizes and supports collaborative, multi-religious activities in more than 100 countries. The Religions for Peace Women's Program was founded in 1998 in response to the enormous desires of religious women around the world to collaborate on shared concerns for peace.

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