April 03, 2009
Day 5: Global Symposium on Engaging Men and Boys
Friday, April 03, 2009
by Steven Botkin
The last few days have moved very quickly, and a stomach bug has given me an extra challenge.
I have had many exciting conversations about how MRIâ€™s work could be useful in a variety of different settings. And I know that this will lead to a number of very interesting projects over the next few years.
This Symposium marks two tremendous accomplishments in the movement for engaging men and boys in gender equality. First, this issue is now being explicitly included in institutions all around the world, of all sizes (from the U.N. to community-based NGOs) and with many different program areas (violence prevention, womenâ€™s rights, HIV/AIDS, family health, fatherhood, humanitarian aid, disarmament and demobilization, youth development, etc.). â€śScaling upâ€ť has been a major theme of the Symposium, and this institutionalization means significantly more access to vehicles of influence and power. It also brings the political, cultural and spiritual challenges of professionalization and globalization. The strong emphasis on personal relationship-building and yesterdayâ€™s regional networking sessions have been important humanizing factors.
Another significant accomplishment reflected in this Symposium is that we are now a multi-generational movement. The â€śold timersâ€ť (among whom I include myself) have passed the baton to a new wave of leadership, representing more global perspectives, who are taking this work to places we had hardly dared to envision. And now, yet another generation of younger men and women from even more diverse communities around the world are cutting their teeth on the joys and challenges of this work and adapting it to their own time and places. In this multi-generational context a culture is being created and we come to know ourselves as a community with a legacy that will be carried and evolved into the future.