Even as violence rages in Gaza, a gathering of women brought hope that building bridges could lead to a better future, says one woman who took part in the safe third space built on love and trust. “It takes courage and vulnerability to come into a space like this,” say co-organizers Julie Siddiqi, a Muslim faith-relations consultant, and Jewish academic Dr. Lindsay Simmonds, who researches women of faith and peacebuilding. While there are many examples of women coming from a place of genuine empathy and demonstrating authentic leadership, women’s voices are often absent from decision-making. Between 1992 and 2019, women constituted only 13% of negotiators, 6% of mediators and 6% of signatories in peace processes worldwide. “Those who say interfaith relations are just a facade or a waste of time have never experienced it themselves,” said one participant. “Our grief shouldn’t be reserved for one or the other. When we share it, we move forward,” said another.

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