May 1, 2018 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn

Violette Khammad and Alexandra Reurink attended the 62nd session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). This conference was held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from March 12 to 16, 2018.

The CSW hosts the largest women's rights conference in the world. It is the principal global intergovernmental body dedicated to promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women.  The focus for 2018 is challenges and opportunities in achieving gender equality and the empowerment of rural women and girls.

Both King's students attended as delegates of the Canadian Voice of Women for Peace (VOW). VOW provides this experiential learning opportunity to allow youth to become acquainted with structures like the UN. These opportunities also allow young people to bring forth their advocacy ideas and to learn from delegations, state members, and events dedicated to shedding light on gender inequality.

Dr. Valerie Zawilski, Associate Professor in Sociology, was the undergraduate theses advisor to both students for SOC4490E. Reurink wrote her thesis on the VOW during the fall semester.

"It was an honour to attend the UN Commission on the Status of Women 62nd conference with the Voice of Women for Peace organization (the organization that I wrote my undergraduate thesis on) and the oldest feminist organization in Canada. To see how they, alongside their international counterparts, have worked so hard to create a better world for us all. It was an honour to be able to say I contributed in a small way by joining them as a representative," says Reurink.  

As part of the conference, Khammad and Reurink attended roundtable discussions including the Canadian Mission on Youth Issues and Gender Equality roundtable. This roundtable was joined by Senator Marilou McPhedran, Minister of Status of Women, MP Maryam Monsef, and MP Randy Boissonnault.

“From the very moment I arrived, I was overwhelmed with the energizing advocacy and inspiration that I saw radiating from women all around the world,” writes Khammad in a blog post about the experience.

The 2018 Woman of Distinction awardee, Sizani Ngubane was one of the speakers at the conference.

“What struck me most from her stories was the strength and advocacy of rural women in South Africa resisting the construction of mines in their community, given that 85% of the population was suffering from lung-related illnesses. Ngubane called for the mobilization of women and their proper education to ensure that they are aware of their full rights and privileges,” says Khammad.

They also attended a session hosted by the Canadian Mission and International Women’s Rights – Manitoba on the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women in Canada.

Khammad was the 2017-2018 KUCSC President. She is in her final year at King’s completing an Honors Double Major in Political Science and Sociology. She has been accepted into the Master’s of Global Governance at the Balsillie School of International Affairs at Waterloo University for Fall 2018. She ended her term as KUCSC president on April 30.

Reurink is in her fourth and final year at King's completing an Honors Double Major in Sociology and Social Justice and Peace Studies. She will begin her work towards a Master's of Arts in Sociology this fall at the University of New Brunswick. Her particular interests include human rights, environment, marine life and consumerism.

Thank you both for representing King's internationally. Best of luck in your graduate studies.