UN Commission on Status of Women 63 - United Nations - Side Event
1:15 PM13:15

UN Commission on Status of Women 63 - United Nations - Side Event

The Permanent Mission of Iraq to the UN, Permanent Mission of Germany to the UN, UN Women and Grace Initiative Global side event for UN CSW 63


63rd Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW)

The Permanent Missions of Germany and Iraq, Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, UN-Women Iraq Country Office and

Grace Initiative Global (NGO)


Have the pleasure to cordially invite you to a high-level side event on

 “Iraqi Women Taking the Wheel towards Rebuilding Peace and Stability”

Conference Room12

Friday 15 March 2019

16:45 -18:00

Special guests include First Lady of the Republic of Iraq

View Event →
Sustainable Peace and the UN World Faith Harmony Week
3:00 PM15:00

Sustainable Peace and the UN World Faith Harmony Week

Sustainable Peace through Interfaith Harmony

February 23, 2019

3:00 PM-5:30 PM at Zion Episcopal Church, Manchester VT



St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, Bennington, VT

Yale Alum Non-Profit Alliance (YANA), VT

(Event listed on UN Calendar for World Faith Harmony)


In October 2010, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution calling for World Interfaith Harmony Week as a way to promote harmony between all people regardless of their faith.  In the resolution, the General Assembly, points out that mutual understanding and interreligious dialogue constitute important dimensions of a culture of peace and establishes World Interfaith Harmony Week.  Following this resolution, Interfaith Harmony events are held throughout the world during the month of February.


At the core of all the faith systems and traditions is the recognition that we are all in this together and that we need to love and support one another to live in harmony and peace in a sustainable world. It is important to increase our efforts to spread the message of good neighborliness based on our common humanity, a message shared by all faith traditions.  The theme for the observance of the Interfaith Harmony for 2019 is therefore “Sustainable Peace through Interfaith Harmony.”

To this end, Zion Episcopal Church (Manchester, VT), St. Peter’s Episcopal Church (Bennington, VT) with support from the Yale Alum Non-Profit Alliance (YANA) for Vermont will organize an interactive discussion on interfaith harmony and sustainable peace, on February 23, 2019.  


This inter-active discussion will take place at Zion, from 3:00-5:00 PM, followed by a 30 minutes of prayer – February 23, 2019.  Zionis located at 5167 Main Street, Manchester Center VT. 



View Event →
Burlington Forum on Coexistence - 70th Anniversary of Human Rights Declaration
9:00 AM09:00

Burlington Forum on Coexistence - 70th Anniversary of Human Rights Declaration



Burlington Forum on Coexistence

the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Episcopal Church Cathedral Church of Saint Paul

2 Cherry Street

Burlington, VT 

December 7, 2018 9:00 AM-1:00 PM

In honor of the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration for Human Rights, a milestone document that proclaimed the equality, justice and human dignity for all people - we are organizing the Burlington Forum on Coexistence at the Episcopal Church Cathedral Church of Saint Paul in Burlington on December 7, 2018, from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm.  This Forum follows the spirit and rationale of the Boston Forum on Coexistence in a Democratic Society held on December 8, 2017.  

During the Boston Forum, the participants agreed that we should build upon the goals and outcomes of that Forum and hold fora in other parts of the United States. Therefore, drawing upon this inaugural Forum, we propose a series called the Forum on Co-Existence in a Democratic Society.  This Forum will emphasize the recognition and respect of the dignity of every person, a principle underscored in the Universal Declaration.  Regrettably, this fundamental right diminishes when it comes to accepting difference due inter alia of gender, race, religion or nationality. 

Respecting the dignity of all people is integral for coexistence in a democratic society. When we honor the dignity of another person, we treat him or her with respect. This dignity and respect transcends race, gender, religion, economic status, or even the part of the country one resides.  In this regard, the basis for respecting the dignity of others exists universally, independently of a person’s social utility, abilities, race, gender, ethnicity, nationality, or religion.  Respecting the dignity of others is critical for a peaceful and inclusive[1]democratic society. 

We will invite faith leaders and representatives of civil society, including those who work to combat economic inequality and violence, and those who defend migrants, refugees, and people marginalized by gender, race or religion.  

To this end, the purpose of the Forum is to promote a platform for dignity, respect and coexistence, and a road map for addressing the continuation of a heightened hatred, anger, exclusionary outcry. We look for paths of healing and for nurturing positive discourse, with a commitment to fundamental human rights, dignity, respect, and coexistence.  

On December 10, 1948, in the wake of the horrors of WWII, the International community convened to commit to respect the dignity of all humankind.  We hope to revive this spirit of commitment to human rights on the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights during the Burlington Forum on Coexistence.

The 2018 Forum follows the spirit and rationale of “The Boston Forum on Coexistence in a Democratic Society,” which was held last year. The upcoming Forum builds on the goals of last year’s event by promoting the recognition and respect of the dignity of every person, a principle embodied in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. 

The Rt. Rev. Thomas C. Ely, bishop of The Episcopal Church in Vermont, said, “Dignity is a topic that The Episcopal Church in Vermont has engaged with fervor in recent years. It was the theme of our 2017 diocesan convention, and we continue to explore this aspect of our calling at a time when human differences are so often portrayed as something to be feared rather than celebrated. Co-presenting the Burlington Forum with Grace Initiative is a natural fit and, I hope, will convey to the wider community our commitment to honoring the dignity of all humankind.”

“Respecting the dignity of all people is integral to peaceful, inclusive coexistence in a democratic society,” said Yvonne Lodico, founder of Grace Initiative. “That’s essentially the message of the Burlington Forum as well as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that inspired the event. Dignity and respect transcend perceived differences like race, gender, religion, economic status, and place of residence. In this regard, the basis for respecting the dignity of others exists universally, independently of a person’s social utility, abilities, race, gender, ethnicity, nationality, or religion.” 

About the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a milestone document in the history of human rights. Drafted by representatives with different legal and cultural backgrounds from all regions of the world, the Declaration was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in Paris on December 10, 1948 as a common standard of achievements for all peoples and all nations. It sets out, for the first time, fundamental human rights to be universally protected and it has been translated into over 500 languages. Learn more at http://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/.


About Grace Initiative Global

The Initiative for Governance, Reconciliation, Agriculture and Coexistence - Grace Initiative Global – strives toward innovative peacebuilding and conflict prevention through strategies of healing, empowering and transforming. Grace Initiative carries out its goals through innovative and expert constructive engagement, focused empowerment, multi-stakeholder collaborations, and holistic understanding; through international and multi-disciplinary expertise. Grace Initiative adheres to and promotes global goals such as the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable DevelopmentUN Security Council Resolution 1325, international human rights instruments, and humanitarian principles. Learn more at http://www.grace-initiative.org/


About The Episcopal Church in Vermont

The Episcopal Church in Vermont comprises 45 congregations across the Green Mountain State that share in the mission to pray the prayer of Christ, to learn the mind of Christ, and to do the deeds of Christ. The congregations live into this mission through ministries of Formation, Liberation, Communication, Connection, and Celebration. The Episcopal Church in Vermont is a member of the worldwide Anglican Communion. Learn more at https://diovermont.org/.  


Featured Speakers Who Have Committed So Far…

Featured Speakers who have committed to date are listed below. We are awaiting final word from several others. Please note that this list is subject to change:


·       The Rev. Nicholas Porter, co-founder, Jerusalem PeaceBuilders

·       Jeff Mandell, program director, Kids4Peace - VT/NH Chapter

·       Rabbi Amy Small, Ohavi Zedek Synagogue

·       Yvonne Lodico, founder, Grace Initiative Global

·       Syed Meesam Razvi, Executive Director, Alliance for Research and Scholastic Heritage

·       The Rev. Dr. Arnold Thomas, pastor, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Underhill, VT

·       Maurice L. Harris, diocesan communications minister and co-convener of the Racial Reconciliation/Healing Network, The Episcopal Church in Vermont

·       The Rev. Earl Kooperkamp, treasurer, and past President, Vermont Interfaith Action; rector, Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd, Barre, VT

·       Mark Hughes, co-founder and director, Justice For All

·       Bor Yang, executive director & legal counsel, Vermont Human Rights



View Event →
Workshop on Peacebuilding and Conflict Prevention
10:30 AM10:30

Workshop on Peacebuilding and Conflict Prevention

Healing, Empowering and Transforming 


For Inclusive Peacebuilding, Conflict Prevention and Sustainable Development

With the full integration of rural women in peace processes

Presented on October 26, 2018

            10:30 am -12:30 pm

The Justification

The framework for the workshop and the participants’ engagement includes: UN Security Council and General Assembly resolutions, respectively S/RES/2282 and A/RES/70/262, which called for sustaining peace by “preventing the outbreak, escalation, continuation and recurrence of conflict.”  Further, it integrates global agendas such as the UN GA High Level Meeting on Peacebuilding,  held 24-25 April 2018, which underscored the axiom that we must work “to save peace while it lasts, not to deal with the situation once peace is lost.” Also, it adheres to the 2030 Agenda goals, especially SDGs 1, 5, 12, 15, and 16.  This concept also takes into consideration US House H.R. 5273 and US Senate S 3368, to reduce global fragility and violence. 


To this end,  this workshop on “Circles of Trust” will focus on peacebuilding and conflict prevention, through transforming and sustaining grass roots rural communities, with a particular emphasis on integrating women into this process. Therefore, the overall discussion will emphasize and explore how sustaining peace should in practical terms include conflict prevention, and why and how this includes the full integration of rural communities and especially rural women.


Our Focus

This workshop focuses on integrating holistic goals for peacebuilding, conflict prevention and sustainable development.  It concentrates on transformation of lives in rural areas and the impact on women and girls. To this end, we will examine the possibilities for integrating the goals of community healing, of governance through peaceful discourse, and rural sustainable development through community supported agriculture and value-added crops, for nutrition, sustenance and income generation.  This includes transformation of causes of conflict, promotion of peace and the prevention of conflict through healing, empowering and transforming lives[1]of rural women, including internally displaced. Rural women endure victimization from: conflict; forced displacement[2]; domestic violence; lack of nutrition and employment.[3]




Ms. Yvonne Lodico:

Founder,  Grace Initiative Global

Introduction to Program  Peacebuilding and Conflict Prevention:  Healing, Empowering and Transforming – for  Sustainable Development and Sustaining Peace

 H. E. Virachai Plasai: 

Ambassador of Kingdom of Thailand to the United States

    Insight to Community Agriculture: Thailand’s Experience in implementing the Sufficiency Economy Philosophy (SEP) to support rural community development as well as empowering women in rural areas


Dr. Massimo Tommasoli

Permanent Observer to the United Nations, International IDEA 

Fostering civic engagement and governance in rural areas for holistic and sustainable peace.

Mr. Robert Terry

Director, Merck Forest and Farmland

Training for Engagement, Efficient La Tra    Training of Trainers for Rural Development,            Efficient Land Resource Management


                                    Application for Rural Peacebuilding - Colombia

Mr. Gabriel  Laizer, Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO)

Peace and Food Security: Investing in Resilience to Sustain Rural Livelihoods Amid Conflict in Colombia.


Diego García-Devis,

Senior Program Officer – Global Drug Policy, Open Society, Soros Foundation

Land management and active rural women participation in drug cultivation areas. The role of women in decision-making processes path to sustain programs aimed at reducing illicit crop production.


Ms. Juliana Valderrama

National Secretariat of Pastoral Social - Cáritas Colombiana

Mr. Mario Pineda

Kroc Institute, Cáritas Colombiana


Explanation of Current Peacebuilding in Rural Areas of Colombian 

Insight to application of Circles of Trust with Rural 

Women in Colombia, and reflection on Peacebuilding and Reconciliation in Choco

Commentary on Monitoring Localized Peacebuilding in Colombia




View Event →
Celebration of the 100th Anniversary Birthday of Nelson Mandela
6:00 PM18:00

Celebration of the 100th Anniversary Birthday of Nelson Mandela

UN GA High Level Summit honoring President Nelson Mandela during the anniversary of his 100th birthday and the UN Declaration for Decade of Peace

Speaker: Ambassador Isaiah Chabala,
Former Permanent Representative of Zambia

to the United Nations
in New York and in Geneva

 Organized by

the Dorset Village Library, 
Yale Alumni Nonprofit Alliance (YANA), New England, VT chapter, Grace Initiative Global

(October 12, 2018, 6:00 PM)

On the first day of the opening of 73rd UN General Assembly, world leaders convened to reflect on the 100th anniversary on the remarkable life of Nelson Mandela – a leader imbued with a moral force.[1]  His life was indeed remarkable. Not only did his leadership triumph over apartheid and revenge; his leadership exemplified all that was possible through, forgiveness, democratization, reconciliation – so that all people, “the exalted and the wretched of the earth, can live as equals.”[2] During this Summit, the UN Member States unanimously adopted the Nelson Mandela Decade of Peace, 2018-2028.

Even during his imprisonment, which few could bear, his steadfastness was a catalyst for the international community to move toward coexistence. It is no wonder he received the noble peace prize in 1993.[3]  The peaceful election leading to his presidency in 1994, truly symbolized a joyous aspiration for the human spirit. In this regard, his legacy clarified and confirmed that inter alia: discrimination is not acceptableapartheid of any kind is unlawful; and, violence to gain objectives is unjustifiable.

Therefore, for this humble event we will reflect on Nelson Mandela’s goals and achievements and “his capacity for seeing the best in people and his belief in the dignity of humankind.”[4]


[2]Sampson, Anthony,Mandela, The Authorized Biography(Alfred A. Knopf, 1999) p. 239.

[3]https://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/1993/index.html. He shared the prize withFrederik Willem de Klerk "for their work for the peaceful termination of the apartheid regime, and for laying the foundations for a new democratic South Africa."

[4]Ibid., 516.

View Event →
12:30 PM12:30

United Nations Commission on Status of Women

The Permanent Mission of Iraq, the Al-Khoei Foundation, the Grace Initiative, the Yale Alum for Non-profit Alliance (YANA) New England                                   

United Nations Commission on Status of Women

                                                               March 22, 2018

                                                              12:30pm -2:00 pm

                                                    United Nations Church Center

                                                            777 UN Plaza, New York, NY

Restorative Rural Agricultural Development

for Empowering Women and Girls and Advancing Peacebuilding

UNCSW focuses on an Alternative Approach for Empowering Women and Girls in Peacebuilding and Conflict Prevention through innovative community agricultural practices. Our approach is called a Restorative Rural Agricultural Development (RRAD). The programme focuses on women and girls’ leadership for rebuilding communities through healing and engagement combined with agricultural practices that comprise a purpose of fostering sustainable and resilient communities for an enduring peace.

Restorative rural agricultural development builds from the necessity for healing and for rebuilding of relationships, communities and societies after conflict, violence and extreme poverty. Its goals are transformational with objectives of community reconciliation, sustainability, and resilience.   



Ms. Sahar Alsahlani, Al-Khoei Foundation                 Welcome


Ms. Yvonne Lodico, Founder, Grace Initiative            Welcome



Ms.  Jessica Scott, UN SDG Academy                                   Moderator


Ambassador Isaiah Chabala,                                      Visionary Empowerment for Zambia         

Ministry of Foreign Affairs,

Ms. Zaytoon Faraj,

Iraqi Delegation UN CSW                               Iraq’s Strategy for rural women and girls     

Ms. Rita Reddy, UN DPKO Adviser                             Discussion on Women  in Timor-Leste

Former, Gender Adviser, UNMIT                              

Former, Director of Civil Affairs,


                                                                                                                                             Yvonne Lodico                                                             Introduction to Vermont goals for women (YANA VT)                                                                      and rural development

Representative Amy Sheldon                                     Legislative initiatives for inclusive,

Middlebury/Addison                                                   sustainable development.

Ms. Heidi Lynch                                                           Community Supported Agriculture (CSA),

Vermont Farmers                                                       as a provider of health care                                                                                                                                 

Ms. Amy Frost                                                            CSA and Social Justice

Circle Mountain Farm


Ms. Sahar Alshlani                                                      Conclusion


View Event →
Boston Forum on Coexistence in a Democratic Society
9:30 AM09:30

Boston Forum on Coexistence in a Democratic Society

  • Unitarian Universalist Urban Ministry (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

The Initiative for Governance, Reconciliation and Coexistence (Grace Initiative) is convening a Forum to address intensifying differences in the US regarding the rule of law, fundamental freedoms, and inclusion.  The Forum draws from a recent Pew Research Study that recently found that Americans are more divided than ever over about social issues such as safety net, race, and immigration. To develop policy and to protect fundamental freedoms and rights, we need to find common ground for addressing collective challenges in our democratic society.

Our goal is to develop a strategy for a road map for coexistence in one of the world’s oldest democracies – the US. We hope to take up concerns, hopes and fears.  The Forum will provide a platform for strategies for promoting dialogue, countering extremism, and fostering healing to halt the rise of divisiveness. Also, we will examine how the globally endorsed 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals, especially for peaceful and inclusive societies, applies in the US.

This Forum will comprise of international and national experts in democracy, coexistence, immigration, psychology, and social justice. Speakers include:

Dr. Massimo Tommasoli, Permanent Observer at the United Nations for International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA); Dr. Theodore Johnson, Brandeis University, The Heller School for Social Policy and Management, Associate Professor in Conflict Resolution and Coexistence; Rabbi Or Rose, Director, The Miller Center for Interreligious Learning & Leadership, Ms. Marion Davis, Massachusetts Immigration and Refugee Coalition (MIRA Coalition); Mr. Syed Meesam Razvi, al-Kohei Foundation;  Representative from the Mayor’s Office.  Also, Greta Hagen of UU Urban Ministry will welcome everyone.

Please RSVP at: contact@grace-initiative.org. No cost, but donations welcomed.

View Event →