Interview with Mm. Akie Abe "Women, Peace, and Sustainable Development" an International Symposium in Iran.
On May 9th, together with an Iranian Government think-tank, we organized an international symposium in Teheran the capital of Iran, with women's social progress as the theme. We asked H.E. Mm. Molaverdi, Vice President for Women and Family Affairs, to give a lecture. Opinions were also exchanged after having presentations from Japanese experts in various fields. For this edition of SPF NOW we interviewed Mm. Akie Abe, the Chairperson of the Foundation for Encouragement of Social Contribution (FESCO) who delivered a keynote speech at the symposium, about her first visit and the achievements of women in Iran.
Q: - From your first visit to Iran, what was your impression of the country?
A: I have heard that Iran is a progressive nation that takes various approaches for improving the women's status within the Islamic context. I just met with few people on this visit, but I was able to interact with women who are highly intellectual and have many outstanding achievements; not only the two female Vice Presidents but people who work within the Ministry of Women's Affairs and the Saffron Association . From Japan, it is sometimes hard to envisage the role of women in Iran, however, by actually visiting and hearing lots of stories from many people, I found out that there are many women achieving success in Iranian society.
Q: - Having the theme of women's social progress, the purpose of this international symposium was to allow both Iran and Japan to learn from each other's experiences and confirming the fields we can cooperate on together. What was your impression from actually interacting with the various people?
A: I think one of the most important goals for all countries is to achieve peace and protect the environment though sustainable development and continued growth. I think what is needed for true peace and development, is not the masculine pyramid-type society formed by men that puts national benefits first, but for women who have given birth from generation to generation to go beyond the frame of the hierarchical society and assume a role in establishing horizontal connections. I felt throughout this symposium that the people of Iran have the same understanding of the importance of establishing a society in which women can play an active role. I recognized that even though Iran and Japan have differences in culture and religion, we can work together by having the same understanding of the importance of women' social progress.
Q: - On behalf of the Foundation for Encouragement of Social Contribution, what kind of activities are you planning to promote?
A: As the Foundation for Encouragement of Social Contribution we will continue to actively promote people who are contributing to society but whose contributions are often not recognized. By introducing the actual activities of such people, we aim to influence others, such as young people, and to show as many people as possible that they can also do something more to contribute to society. From now on, we want to focus attention on people who are steadily active, not only domestically but all over the world, even though their efforts are not widely publicized in the mass-media.
Profile of Mm. Akie Abe
Current Chairperson of the Foundation for Encouragement of Social Contribution. Born in Tokyo in 1962. Married Mr. Shinzo Abe, the 97th Prime Minister of Japan in 1987. Opened a Japanese-style bar "UZU", that uses fastidiously selected ingredients, in Kanda in 2012. She devotes herself to school construction (Terakoya) in Myanmar, rice farming, education, such as "UZU no Gakko" a school for women, and food promotion.