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1.     How many women and from which countries


We do not have an accurate final account, but we estimate over 700 participants attended the conference.  We arranged hotel accommodation for 400 internationals, and we estimate that 300 more joined us at the conference site – Israelis, Palestinians, and other internationals who arranged for their own accommodation.  We know that 750 translation earphones were used during the first (largest) day of the conference.  Therefore, our official estimate is “over 700”.


Participants attended from the following 39 countries: Abkhazia; Australia; Austria; Belgium; Bolivia; Bosnia-Herzegovina; Cambodia; Canada; Chechnya; Chile; Colombia; Costa Rica; Croatia; D.C. Congo; Denmark; El Salvador; Finland; France; Germany; Greece; Guatemala; Iceland; India; Ireland; Israel; Italy; Japan; Netherlands; Nigeria; Palestine; Philippines; Russia; Serbia-Montenegro; South Africa; Spain; Sweden; Switzerland; U.K.; and U.S.


2.     Women from regions in conflict


Thanks to the generosity of foundations and individuals, the conference was immensely enriched by the presence of women who are peace and human rights activists in regions that are in conflict or post-conflict situations (and one woman from the oppressed Dalit caste in India).  These women spoke at plenary sessions and in workshops, and also shared extensively during the informal periods.


For these participants, the conference paid for air-travel, hotel accommodation, conference expenses, and per diem for their stay in the region before and after the conference.  (The conference also gave partial stipends for local fees to some 30 women who were able to pay airfare.)  The women who were on full stipend:


         From Abkhazia:  Natella Akaba

         From Bolivia:  Julieta Rosario Ojeda Marguay

         From Chechnya:  Natalia Estemirova

         From Chile:  Liliana Mason Padilla

         From Colombia:  Maria Theresa Arizabaleta and Sandra Guttierez Torres

         From El Salvador:  Dinorah Aguinada Deras

         From Guatemala:  Yolanda de la Luz Aguilar Urizar

         From India:  Joanna Bhalerao

         From Nigeria:  Charity Angya

         From the Philippines:  Eleanor Jose

         From Russia:  Elena Vilenskaya

         From the former Yugoslav republics:  Jelena Djordjević, Jadranka Milićević, Lepa Mladjenović, Tijana Popivoda, Svetlana Šarić, Zorica Trifunović, Staša Zajović.


The participation of women from these countries was funded by foundations and members of Women in Black vigils from all over the world.


3. Other special participants


In addition to the women from regions of conflict, attending the conference were other officials and leaders in their communities.  To name a few:


  • Five women who had been nominees for the Nobel Peace Prize
  • A member of the European Parliament
  • A Minister in the Palestinian Authority
  • Three former members of the Israeli Knesset
  • A Buddhist monk working in Cambodia
  • Three nuns from India
  • A liberation theology Catholic pastor from Canada

Many of the hundreds of other participants are leaders in their organizations and communities on behalf of peace and human rights.


Carity Angya from Nigeria. Photo: Radio Feminista

Jelena Djordjevic, Yugoslavia, & Jadranka Milicevic, Bosnia-Herzegovina. Photo: Lieve Snellings

Hanan Salman & Iman Saffarinia, Palestine. Photo: Charling Tao

International Women in Black Conference, Jerusalem, August 2005.
As elsewhere on this website, opinions expressed about this conference are solely my own.  Gila Svirsky