Ambassador Anwarul Karim Chowdhury led Thursday’s provost lecture at the Wang Center as he discussed United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women and Peace & Security, a plan that aims to implement the active participation of women in political decision-making internationally.
Born in Bangladesh, the University of Dhaka graduate began his diplomatic ventures in 1967. He served as Bangladesh’s Permanent Representative for the United Nations from 1996-2001, and is most noted for his work in 2000 that led to the eventual creation of Resolution 1325. Chowdhury has also formerly served as President of the Security Council, President of the United Nations Children’s Fund Executive Board (UNICEF) and Vice President of the Economic and Social Council of the UN.
“Did you know that we take more than 21 thousand breaths a day? But most of us use only 50 percent of our lungs’ capacity,” he began, carefully annunciating each word, “The same is true about the world’s seven billion people,” he continued, making an analogy to our global use of human resources. Although women have come a long way socially in the United States, the same certainly cannot be said for women worldwide. Unfortunately, many cultures still embrace the concept that women are subordinate to men, and their laws often mirror the same idea.
Resolution 1325 came into effect in March 2000 and “urges Member States to increase their voluntary financial, technical and logistical support for gender-sensitive training efforts.” The agenda consists of three important principles: Protection, Prevention, and Participation. Protection is necessary because women are usual targets for mental, physical and sexual violence; “They are the worst victims of war,” Chowdhury stated. It is a nation’s internal duty to prevent violence towards women, and lastly it is a nation’s active duty to incorporate women into community affairs.
While Chowdhury’s Resolution continues to grow in popularity among western cultures, it has yet to be accepted elsewhere. Of the 193 United Nations members, only 34 have prepared plans to pursue the further social progression of women. Bangladesh, Chowdhury’s nation of origin, has yet to create a course.
Perhaps the greatest issue at hand is education. “Education has emerged as one intervention women can do effectively,” he remarked. Globally, women make up over 60 percent of those who are illiterate. In order for any social justice to be served, women must take—and have the opportunity to take—the most crucial step of education to achieve any equality at all.