KATHMANDU, Aug 25: The Regional Conference on Women and Foreign Policy in South Asia, jointly organized by the Consortium of South Asian Think Tanks (COSATT) and the Political Dialogue Asia Programme of Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS), concluded successfully after two days of engaging discussions, presentations, and networking.
The conference conference organized in Kathmandu aimed to provide a platform for policymakers, academics, diplomats, and civil society representatives to exchange ideas, share experiences, and deliberate on the crucial role of women in shaping foreign policy within the context of South Asia. With a diverse lineup of speakers and participants, the event shed light on pressing issues, challenges, and opportunities related to gender and foreign policy in the region.
The first day of the conference with a warm welcome by Dr. Nishchal N. Pandey, the Convener of COSATT. Dr. Pandey emphasized the significance of collaboration and inclusivity in crafting effective foreign policies.
The conference's inaugural session witnessed esteemed speakers such as Dr. Joëlle Hivonnet, Charge′ d′ affaires a.i. of the Delegation of the European Union to Nepal, Amb. Gaitri Issar Kumar, India’s Former Ambassador to UK and EU, and Mr. Andreas Klein, Director of the Political Dialogue Asia Programme at KAS Singapore. Their insights provided a comprehensive overview of the evolving dynamics of women's involvement in foreign policy across the South Asian region.
Throughout the day, various sessions explored different facets of the theme. Notable speakers included Ms. Priyanka Bhide Mandrekar from the Kubernein Initiative, Amb. Dr. Anjan Shakya, and Binda Magar from UNDP, who shared their expertise and experiences during the first session. The second session featured thought-provoking addresses by Prof. Meena Vaidya Malla, S. Ramesh, Karma Dorji, and subsequent discussions.
The second day commenced with insightful presentations by academics and researchers from prestigious institutions across the South Asian region. The diverse range of topics covered included academic perspectives on gender and foreign policy, grassroots initiatives, and policy advocacy led by women.
As the conference drew to a close, Megha Sarmah, the Programme Manager of 2030 Agenda at Regional Programme Political Dialogue Asia, KAS Singapore, delivered the concluding remarks. She reiterated the importance of the discussions held during the conference and highlighted the need for sustained efforts to promote gender-inclusive foreign policies across South Asia.
The conference was not only a platform for knowledge-sharing but also a catalyst for building networks and fostering collaborative efforts among participants. The conference participants expressed their optimism about the outcomes and potential future collaborations to promote women's active involvement in shaping foreign policy decisions.
The Regional Conference on Women and Foreign Policy in South Asia, organized by COSATT and KAS, highlighted the importance to continue the ongoing dialogue on gender-responsive foreign policies. By bringing together diverse perspectives and facilitating meaningful discussions, the conference is expected to make a significant step towards strengthening regional cooperation and advocating for a more inclusive and equitable approach to foreign policy across South Asia.