The 3rd World Conference on Women’s Studies 2017
“Building Resilience: Dialogue, Collaboration and Partnerships across Our Differences”
The International Conference on Women’s Studies 2017 (WCWS 2017) was held from the 4th – 6th May, 2017 in Colombo, Sri Lanka. WCWS 2017 was hosted by the Bridgewater State University, United States and the conference was organized by The International Institute of Knowledge Management (TIIKM) Sri Lanka. Nepal Center for Contemporary Research – Nepal, Center for Women’s Studies, University of Karachchi – Pakistan, Graduate School of Christian Studies, Rikkyo University- Japan, International Centre for Research on Women – United States enriched the conference as academic partners. The Conference witnessed the participation of 101 participants representing 25 countries across the world. The countries include: Australia, Bangladesh, Belgium, Canada, China, Egypt, Germany, India, Iceland, Indonesia, Iran, Ivory Coast, Japan, Nepal, Oman, Pakistan, Philippines, Portugal, Qatar, Spain, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Trinidad & Tobago, United Kingdom and United States.
Round table discussion
“The two arms of feminism—scholarship and activism—have produced the “scholar-activist”, someone whose academic home in a university doesn’t alienate her from the daily struggles of women across class, caste, ethnicity, race, gender and sexual diversity. Instead, scholar-activists engage both theory and praxis in collaborative and mutually interactive enterprises. Yet far too often, feminist activists and academics struggle to find common ground, even though our work is interdependent and foundational to feminism. In spite of many decades of scholar-activism, tensions remain between our theoretical and applied goals, and mistrust too often characterizes the relationships between scholar-activists and the women and men we partner with in communities. Therefore, the Third Women’s Studies Conference offered a rewarding workshop building on decades of feminist scholar-activism, highlighting approaches to building bridges across these divides. Workshop participants outlined numerous challenges, including ideas about building trust as a foundation for sustainable partnerships, identifying vulnerabilities, moving beyond gender stereotypes, acknowledging our privilege, managing expectations, and seeking funding. We highlighted the importance of listening to the goals of our potential partners, sharing our stories as well as those of our partners, building shared values, reflecting on our assumptions, delegating responsibilities, and stressing our accountability. Accountability emerges from outlining achievable goals, contextualizing problems within local and regional cultural, economic, and political realities and committing ourselves to long-term engagement. These are significant and challenging objectives; they require ongoing commitment and we sought to share and learn from one-another’s strategies. The Fourth Women’s Studies Conference will continue the momentum of previous conferences through our keynote speakers, conference panels, and ongoing workshops.”
“The graduate student workshop offered graduate students the opportunity to network with each other and to build community by exploring common experiences. Students shared the many challenges of juggling everyday life of work and family with the demands of course work, research, and scholarship. They exchanged strategies for managing these multiple roles, as well as their successes in seeking funding, so necessary for graduate research. They also discussed their approaches to grant-writing and offered one another ideas about publishing and promoting their scholarly and activist objectives. Graduate student life can be isolating and overwhelming: this workshop offered an opening opportunity for students to create the support necessary for successful completion of their degrees and transitioning into professional life.”
Prof. Patricia Mohammed
Professor of Gender and Cultural Studies,
School for Graduate Studies and Research at the University of the West Indies,
Trinidad, West Indies.
Topic: “Other peoples’ lives: exploiting differences”
Dr. Ravi Verma
International Centre for Research on Women’s (ICRW)
Topic: “Moving towards Gender Equality: Start early, be comprehensive and Challenge Norms”