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Episode 3: Peace, Conflict and Motherhood

May 30, 2018

Leah Kimathi is a professional peacemaker. She brings a depth of experience to the field and clarity of vision in how she utilizes the tools of conflict mitigation. Her on-the-ground know how, as well as her philosophical approach to the work, gives her a unique blend between practitioner and academic when it comes to healing divisions in society.

The conversation with Leah covers a great deal of ground – from the conditions of parts of Africa after the cold war and its influence on civic empowerment, to the spiritual side of peacemaking and what women need to do to gain more political power in society. Leah also opens up about the role of family in keeping her centered, the pressures she feels as a single mother, and the self-care needed to keep seeing the light in people.

We dive deep into the role of gender in peacemaking and talk about the methodology of interrupting violence. We discuss whether women are naturally better peacemakers and question the stereotypes surrounding this premise. A continually growing research base has now recognized the importance of women’s involvement in peace and security issues to achieving long lasting stability. This acknowledgment stems from the efforts by international organizations, national governments and civil society around the world to establish a women and peace security agenda, embodied in the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 which affirms that peace and security efforts are more sustainable when women are equal partners in the prevention of violent conflict, the delivery of relief and recovery efforts and in the forging of lasting peace.

Much like democracy, peace is a process, not a destination. Leah gives insights on the practitioner side of the field, unwinding the elements involved in this process, intertwined with the dynamics of gender and power. This is all communicated authentically with levity and wisdom, which is uniquely Leah — a woman who works everyday to make the world a less conflicted place.

Podcast Notes

  • 02:25 How to interrupt violence
  • 06:19 You cannot eat democracy
  • 12:39 Reports from Rwanda stole my heart
  • 17:40 No one has a single narrative
  • 20:25 Maintaining optimism about humanity
  • 22:20 The spiritual side of peacemaking
  • 24:25 Are women better peacemakers
  • 26:58 The need for women to engage with power
  • 34:40 Dreads as protest
  • 35:16 Grandpa had 72 wives
  • 37:07 Balancing motherhood with being a busy professional
  • 39:30 How the world will be different for women 20 years from now
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