WOMEN AND PEACE MAKING IN VIETNAM
Bretherton, D., University of Melbourne, Australia and Yung, L., UNESCO office, Vietnam
Vietnamese authorities acknowledge the central role that has been played by women, the "ordinary heroines", in its long history of war. Indeed the story of the birth of Vietnam as a nation is traced back to the military acumen and courage of the two sisters Trung, who successfully repelled an invasion from the Chinese Empire. With the cessation of hostilities and opening up of trade the role of women as peacemakers has come to the fore. A major initiative for the UN International Year of Peace in 2000 was a conference on " Asian Women for a Culture of Peace". The content of the conference was important, as was the symbolism of Hanoi, so long cut off from the rest of the world by war and sanctions, being chosen to host such a major international project. This paper will report on the conference and a follow up UNESCO project to identify exemplary peace practices of women in Vietnam.