GPPAC Welcomes a New Chair

Our board elected Sharon Bhagwan Rolls as new Chair of GPPAC. She replaces Emmanuel Bombande, who became the Chair of GPPAC in 2009. Emmanuel recently stepped down as Executive Director of the West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP) and has now also concluded his responsibilities as a member of the GPPAC Board.

Sharon is the Executive Director of FemlinkPacific: Media Initiatives for Women. FemLINKPacific is a Fiji based organisation that advocates for women, peace and human security concerns, including the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325, and community media. In 2010 she was appointed by the United Nations to the Civil Society Advisory Group on UNSCR1325/Women, Peace and Security. In 2014, UN Women asked Sharon to join the High Level Expert Advisory Group for the Global Study on the 15-year implementation of UNSCR 1325.

Having been engaged with GPPAC from its early days in 2004, Sharon has been involved as a Media Focal Point, while FemLinkPacific took over the role of Secretariat for the GPPAC Pacific Region in 2009. In the same year Sharon was appointed as Gender Liaison for the GPPAC International Steering Group and in 2012 she joined the Board of GPPAC.

Following Sharon's election, GPPAC hosted a farewell reception for Emmanuel  Bombande. Sharon thanked both Emmanuel and the staff of the Global Secretariat. ‘GPPAC remains connected to peacebuilding practice from the local to the global', she reflected, ‘and we have an opportunity to find ways to reflect our collective priorities while also ensuring regional and local priorities have the visibility and space and voice.'  

‘Gender equality is more than just a programme activity but has become a way in which we think, act and strengthen our network whether it is through collaboration with women's rights movements or building capacity of regional networks including our cadre of GPPAC regional gender focal points', she continued.

Sharon closed by adding, ‘As a Pacific Islander, our issues and conflicts, our experiences as small island developing states sometimes do not make it on the global agenda - and when to add the gender dynamics and the voice of prevention, it can sometimes feel like a lone voice in the wilderness – so thank you GPPAC for embracing the Pacific in a holistic way – and for providing our region with the opportunity to contribute to the leadership of the network.'