THE SPEECH ADDRESSED GENER INEQUALITY AROUND THE WORLD
By Ashley Stewart, Staff Writer
The President of Malta visited Mason’s Arlington campus to give the 28th annual Lynch Lecture at the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution (SCAR) on Sept. 22.
President Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca’s lecture, titled “Peace Beyond the Patriarchy,” focused on combatting global gender inequality and the perpetuation of oppressive patriarchal values.
President Coleiro Preca discussed a variety of issues in her lecture, including femicide across Europe.
“It is shocking,” she said, “that there is, as yet, no European-wide monitoring system, which looks at the particular forms of violence confronting women.”
President Coleiro Preca also discussed the presence of a connection between gender parity and gross national income, saying gender parity can become a key driver of prosperity and national income growth.
But the overall message in her lecture revolved around volatile behaviors perpetuated by the patriarchal system and different ways the individual can take action to end that perpetuation.
“Let us remember that many of the world’s conflicts are the result of a patriarchal system which legitimizes the use of violence,” she said.
President Coleiro Preca also emphasized that the only way to solve this worldwide conflict is with a unified global reaction to promote equality and equity. The speech ended with a call to action for the youth of the current generation.
“You must be the activists of today, in order to be the leaders of tomorrow,” she said.
Following President Coleiro Preca’s lecture, SCAR professor Dr. Richard Rubenstein made reflective comments to the audience.
“I think it lays out a research and practice agenda to move beyond patriarchy and even matriarchy,” he said. “It helps us all to think new thoughts about an old problem that affects us all.”
When asked about her thoughts on the president’s lecture, Mason junior Janine Gaspari said, “I was thrilled to see a world leader discuss the importance of feminine labor when it comes to peacebuilding.”
She was not completely satisfied by the speech, however. “I think the president’s lecture also had some shortcomings,” Gaspari said. “For example, she mentioned that gender minorities should be including and accepted in the public sphere, but could not provide details about how that’s actually happening in Malta.”
President Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca has a 40-year political career that began at age 16. She officially became Malta’s ninth President when she assumed office in April 2014. She is the youngest President in Malta’s history at the age of 55, and only the second woman to occupy the office.
She is the first Maltese president to visit the D.C. area.
Photo by Dana Nickel