Interview by Jeana Farrell UK Section Society’s Choice Magazine with

Yana Korobko:

UN Millenium Goals on women`s empowerment.

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Yana Korobko is the Vice-President of the Observatory of the Black, Gulf and Mediterranean Seas (OBGMS) based in Paris, and also the Vice-President of the International Advisory Council of the Institute of Peace and Development (INSPAD). She is also a PhD Candidate in International Relations at the UN ECOSOC consultative center (CEDS). Ms Korobko’s mother-tongues are Ukrainian and Russian; she also speaks fluently all UN official languages: Arabic, English, French, Spanish and Chinese. Recently she has had an assignment with the UNICEF in Geneva.

Q: Role models … when you where young who inspired you?

Saladin, the Leader of the Arabs during the Crusades. He is widely revered as the ideal of a Warrior-King, a Great Strategist in the battle and a generous friend to his loyal allies. He used his tremendous military and political skill to remain the unquestioned leader so that to unite his people.

Q: And whom inspires you now these days?

Queen Rania, a woman who is changing the world with her own example.

Q: Also, if you could achieve one major change in your future missions with the UN, what would that be ideally ..what would you like it to be?

I would be glad to work on changing the stereotyping policy towards the non-Western states in our Euro-centralized world, especially towards the Muslim ones.

Q: What is your dream?

To make a change in the world, which would be remembered with gratefulness by the next generations.

Q: Which film star is your ideal man/woman?

Sharon Stone

Q: Tell us in a small paragraph: the UN Millenium Goals on women`s empowerment and their feasibility;

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) consist of eight goals officially approved by the United Nations on the way to the international progress. They are all embodied in the United Nations Millennium Declaration. All 193 United Nations member states have agreed to cooperate individually as well as collectively so that to achieve these goals by 2015. Among these goals, the third place (by its world importance) takes the goal that promotes gender equality and women empowerment. This goal aims at achieving such a situation, when a professional woman would gain as much as a man of the same level of qualification and experience; when the proportion of the seats held by women in the national parliaments would be equal to the legislative places occupied by men; when all women would have access to top high-level professional employment, including the administrative positions. This is a global initiative, which needs much more time for its successful accomplishment than the granted period. Firstly, because, not all countries have the same starting base required for their realization, and, therefore, the tendencies among all countries are initially uneven. The goal concerning the women`s empowerment is, indeed, a specific one, and practically speaking, it needs much more of the domestic political will so that to be successfully fulfilled. Certainly, the positive aspect is that, even after the deadline is reached, the situation of the women`s empowerment will only be progressing, as the mechanism of changes has already been launched. And thanks to the UN MG there arises more and more the understanding of the fact that women and men are not unequal, but rather they are different.

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Q: The situation of women in the MENA;

The situation of the women in the Middle East has always been sensible due to the historic and cultural features of the region. And now women want changes. Accordingly to the version Arabian business.com, among 100 most powerful women in the Gulf, the first place is taken by the representative from the UAE. In particular, the most influential Arab woman has been recognized to be Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid bin Sultan Al Qasimi, the Minister of Trade of the UAE. One of the most progressive country in these terms I would name Bahrain, as women tend to take more active role in different spheres of the country`s life: starting from politics and ending up with sport. Here for the first time in the history of the country, the post of the Minister of Health was given to a woman. In what it concerns the changes of the political life of the women in Qatar, in a major part, they have been undertaken owing to the wife of the Ruler of this country, Sheikha Musa bint Nasser Al Misnad. Less certain is the position of women in Saudi Arabia, which, hopefully, would also realize reforms in this sector with the advent of a new period in the political history of the Kingdom.

Q: A role of a woman in peacekeeping operations;

One of the key spheres of diplomacy, where women are the most active participants, is peacekeeping operations, which is non-violent policy compliance of the reconstruction of the affected by the violence territory. The purpose of women in peaceful diplomacy is not the conquest of power over someone else, but rather its correct usage aiming at improving the lives of people, focusing on the issues of equality, development and peace. Women can prevent wars, however, women can also participate in war waging and gain victory. Women’s logics and intuition give to the politics an unexpectedly fresh impulse, an unconventional look at the already familiar phenomenon, with which they try to prevent, resolve conflicts, and to reduce tension. What, if not these features, are the perfect answer for the modern diplomacy challenges…

Q: How it is to be a woman-diplomat?

In one of her speeches dedicated to the women`s empowerment Hillary Clinton gave a great example that illustrates a perfect example on this issue. A few years ago during the conflict in Darfur men were arguing and arguing for days on the control over the channel of the same river. Finally, one woman, who could not resist any more, came up and said, “But the river is dry now. In this river there is no more water.” Such women are great. So, this is how to be a woman diplomat: to see the things, which are left ignored by others.

Q: Please share what your organization OBGMS (www.obgms.org) is doing in these terms.

The OBGMS activity on women`s empowerment is widely supported by many international organizations, such as NATO, in terms of the organization of the international conferences, one of which ‘Women`s Empowerment In A Good Governance’ was planned to take place last year. OBGMS organizes the short-term workshops and long-term seminars on women`s leadership for those who wish to become more informed, or to let certain positive transformations happen in their professional life with the assistance of the high-level international professionals from Paris and other BGMS countries. Through our “Women’s Quest” series, women learn, how to manage and to play a leading role in the: conflicts resolution and critical situations; as well as to become a good governor in peace time; in engaging and promoting entrepreneurship; and in safeguarding the environment. We invite for active participation in the life of OBGMS all interested women from all around the world.

Q: What motivates you to get out of bed in the morning?

A new day, which is to be discovered.

Q: Have you read 50 shades of grey? if so what is your personal opinion on this book?

I have not read it because of the lack of my free time. However, basing on the professional critics that the book provoked, I can make a simple conclusion. The relation based on dominance/submission principle can never last as long as a relation, which is grounded on respect and love between two partners, where each one accept the other as an equal.

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Q: In your opinion who is the most attractive man on the planet?

He does not have to be compulsory physically attractive, but he is the one who will make a woman feel her interior completeness.

Q: Why are women still under represented in modern diplomacy?

Indeed, women are slowly rising to political power, mainly because of some inter-social quotas and other gender limitations. However, also not many women are willing to fully dedicate themselves to this demanding profession, being more eager to get engaged into a typically feminine jobs. There is growing awareness that the policy is a very serious and common cause to be trusted only with men, and that women’s “interference” can limit the influence on the situation. Finally, many women share a common view that the political participation and leadership finds that women themselves have a fairly strong belief that politics and diplomacy is not for women.

Q: What has to change to allow more women to break through the ‘glass ceiling’?

The woman`s behavior. A modern woman has to learn a new type of conduct towards a man, which is equal-to equal: the same rights and the same responsibilities. No excuse for weakness, which is completely different from everything that she has experiences through the recent historic time.

Q: Is it a case of equality or do women bring additional qualities e.g. emotional intelligence?

There are many new positive aspects that a woman can bring into any professional activity simply with her presence, which include: soft diplomacy, instinctive care for the peaceful resolution; not destroying, but creating. These and other results come out naturally just because the woman produces such atmosphere.

Q: Who do we look to raise awareness?

If you mean personal awareness, this can be meditation and the in-depth philosophical literature. Sometime some difficulties that happen in life can momentously arise our awareness about certain things, and ourselves in the first place. A person can raise his or her awareness when asking himself/herself the critical questions about the situation, and giving sincere and honest answers to them. Thus, he/she can quickly become aware about his/her role in the situation, the reality, and, whether the situation shall be continued, or it is better to stop it. If you talk about public awareness, there should also be used some strong and serious politico- historical sources. In the same way, any major event, like crisis or a catastrophe can bring people back to reality very quickly.

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Q: In this day and age women in the media seem to be judged very much on their appearance. Whats your feelings and opinion on women going past their sell by date ..in other words put on the scrap heap and no, or less work offers because their looks have faded, put on weight, or become simply older?

There is not such a notion for a woman who passed her day. In each period a woman is particular. If we discuss a woman in media, probably, with time she might not correspond to the expectations of the producers, or to what the audience is eager to see. However, all these requirements are as artificial and futile, as we can judge it by the rapidly changing symbols of the epoch. Woman always remains a woman, and the key to her beauty is her genuine inner tranquility, harmony and peace. Even the most beautiful woman, who lacks this essence, momentously looks less attractive in the eyes of others. And, on the contrary. As soon as she realizes this tight dependence between her inner state and her appearance, she will start taking care for her soul, her good sleep, balanced nutrition, sufficient physical activity, and the easiness of her heart. Then nothing, nothing at all would impede her looking one million dollars. Taking this opportunity I would like to congratulate all the women on the International Women`s Day wishing each of you strong health and true feminine happiness!

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  1. Zaid Aziz on the March 10, 2013 remarked #

    So Proud of you..Yana Korobko

  2. nadine pude on the March 21, 2013 remarked #

    Fantastic article! Enjoyed it x

  3. Terri McFarland on the June 12, 2013 remarked #

    So beautiful; So inspiring! Thank you, Yana Korobko, your words are life changing!

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