International: 'Women in Black' will hold their 14th International Encounter in Valencia, Spain (16-20 August 2007)

Women in Black is an international network of feminist, antimilitarist women who work for peace, are against war, denounce violence - specifically against women - and promote feminine participation in the resolution of conflicts and in peace negotiations.
The international network Women in Black celebrates its fourteenth encounter in Valencia, from the 16th to the 20th of August. This international women's movement, that grows incessantly and already exists in tens of countries across the globe, was born in Israel in 1988, when a group of women began to express itself publicly dressed in black - in mourning for all victims, from both sectors of the population - in silence, and carrying placards with one message: An end to the occupation.
Soon, the movement extended to other zones in conflict, beginning in Belgrade. The Belgrade group not only was able to extend throughout the ex Yugoslavia but also managed to organize ten yearly international encounters which extended the network throughout the world. Since then the international encounters have been celebrated every two years, the penultimate in Italy and the last in Jerusalem where it was decided that due to the strength and interest shown by the women of the Spanish State that the XIV encounter would be held in Valencia.

The watchwords of this year's encounter, "The relations between women as an alternative policy for Peace", try to stimulate the Women in Black to reflect on themselves, their diverse activities, evolution and future, also leaving room for women from other countries at war or suffering forgotten conflicts, which at the moment they are working on with the objective of placing women as essential elements for avoiding conflicts, attaining peace and/ or manage post conflicts.

About 400 women from 40 countries will attend the XIV international encounter coming from all continents, not only the 'hottest spots' such as Israel, Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan or Colombia; but also from countries whose hard realities and conflicts are not understood, are not known or have been forgotten.

The list includes women from Chechnya, Guatemala, Cyprus, Sahara, Morocco, Algeria, the ex-Yugoslavia, the Congo, Zimbabwe, India, the Philippines, Australia, to American women (where an ample network of groups of Women in Black exist), and a very representative block of European women as much from the European Union as from the ex-East Europe.

The acts will take place in the Hall of Residence, Galileo Galilei, located in the Valencian capital, where those assisting will also be accommodated. Throughout the four days a series of plenary acts and meetings in workshops will take place, and cultural and recreational sessions will be celebrated.

On Sunday 19th of August a demonstration will be held on the Malvarrosa beach at 20:00 hours, where the 400 internationalists will give a performance dressed in black and in silence.

We hope that, with the aid of the Valencian media and of the Spanish State, -the same with international media- we can achieve the repercussion that this encounter deserves. Peace needs friends. The voices of the women who struggle to avoid being victims of wars and violence and to be the protagonists of peace processes, are much needed in a world so heavily militarized.