Noha Bakr PhD in interdisciplinary field of International Relations, and International Organizations. She has received a distinguished Alumni award from the American University in Cairo & National Defense University of Washington.
Dr. Bakr current position is a Professor Adjunct Faculty, Political Science Department the American University in Cairo teaching International Organizations & Human Rights.
She is the former, Assistant to the Minister of International Cooperation, in charge of international economic cooperation with Canada and the Americas. Her publications are focused in the field of security, and international organizations.
Dr Bakr has headed different Panels, as a speaker & participant in conferences, workshops, and programs, on the national, regional, and international level, lectured in various academic platforms such as NATO Defense College, International Institute of Humanitarian Law in Sann Remo, Moscow University, Perm University, Diplomatic Institute at Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and at Cairo University.
Dr Bakr has worked as a consultant to UNDP on a project on Democracy in the Last 50 years in Africa, producing a report with recommendations to enhance the democratic process in North Africa.
Dr Bakr has been a contributor of a weekly article in Ahram Iktisady publication for two years, Contributor to Beyond periodical which is issued by former United Nations employees. She is also a member of the Egyptian Council of Foreign Relations, Board Member of the Arab Net Work for Tolerance, member of the Egyptian International Economic Forum, and a guest in different media programs: providing analysis to current events, and hard and soft security challenges.
Participant during 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017
Anissa Hassouna is the Founder & Chairperson of Enlightened Egypt Foundation, which promotes the values of citizenship and gender equal rights. She is also a founding member of the Think Tank for Arab Women, the Forum for Arab Citizenship in Transition Democracies, the Front for Protecting the Freedom of Creativity & Expression, and the Arab International Women’s Forum in London.
Hassouna is a former diplomat of the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the League of Arab States. Arabian Business & CEO Middle East magazine named her one of the “World’s 100 Most Powerful Arab Women” for 2014. Hassouna, who writes regularly on public affairs, was the first woman to be elected on the Board of the Egyptian Council for Foreign Affairs where she held the position of Secretary General and currently is the Treasurer. She is a member of the Executive Council of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, which won the Nobel Prize in 1995. Hassouna recently contributed to the book In the Wake of the Arab Spring – Conflict and Cooperation in the Middle East.
Participant during 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017
Marianne Kamal Malak is the youngest Member of Parliament in Egyptian history. She currently serves as Deputy of the Minister of Immigration. She is also a member of the National Council of Human Rights and the International Parliament Union and serves on the Union’s Committee for Women. MP Malak was also a member of the Constituent Assembly to write a new constitution for Egypt.
Parwin is a task force initiative member for implementing the Iraqi national action plan UNSCR 1325 (2010-2016), which later receive formal approval by the Iraqi prime minister in April 2014. Since then she has worked to comprise a national task force group to follow up on the implementation process. She is currently the commissioner of the Iraqi Commission for Human Rights. Parwin is a former managerial assistant for the Iraqi ministries council NGO registration, the human rights program coordinator at the Iraqi foundation, and former financial administrator for a variety of organizations. She has extensive experience managing and leading governmental institutions and international organizations. She specializes in training and developing professional organizations in terms of management assessment, programming, and effectiveness. She holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Salahaden—Ebril-Iraq College of Science and speaks Kurdish (mother tongue), Arabic, and English.
Co-Founder and Participant during 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017
Rina Bar-Tal received her BA in English Literature and Psychology from California State University and her MA in Public Administration from Clark University in Massachusetts, USA. She has lectured and facilitated at many forums around the world, including the Shadow Report to the UN on ‘Jump Start’ in Ethiopia, the Third International Forum of Women Presidents on Higher Education and the Fourth Asia Communication and Media Forum, and the International Conference for Women Leaders in Hawaii, USA. Bar-Tal has also worked with government offices, defense forces, NGOs, and other conferences. Bar-Tal’s volunteer work includes many leadership roles on advisory committees and in organizations such as the Israel Women’s Network, which she chaired from 2000-2012. She was the Secretary-General of Naamat (Pioneer Women), Deputy Mayor of the Municipality of Raanana, Project Manager and Developer for Ashalim in Elka, and Director for the School of Lay Leadership at the Joint Distribution Committee in Israel.
Dr. Farraj-Falah received her MA in Comparative Languages and Hebrew Literature as well as her Ph.D. in Comparative Languages and Hebrew Literature from University of Haifa, her Ph.D. in Education at Eotvos University, and studied Management in Academic Institutions at Tel Aviv and Directors in Government Companies at Bar Ilan University.
She currently works at Haifa University as a Researcher in the Jewish Arab Center. Dr. Farraj-Falah was the creator, initiator, and manager of Hazon Acre, a women’s movement for Arab and Jewish women, which promotes coexistence, education, culture, and peace. She is also a member of the Director of the Cultural Ministry and the Head of Gender Department at the Arab College for Education. She was the initiator for the Gender Studies Program at Arab College of Israel, as well as for the Center for Peace and the Institute for Gender Studies at the Ministry of Education and Arab Academic College of Education. Her works have been widely published, and she participates and speaks at many conferences and lectures on women, peace, and literature. Among others, she lectured and hosted at the Gold Meir Center for seminars about women building new realities. Dr. Farraj-Falah prepared an English-Spoken Arabic Dictionary, and anticipates the forth-coming publication of her book about women’s empowerment and success in life. She organizes conferences in association with ministries and universities, including the Peace and Gender Information Day for Hazon Acre with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2009.
Dr. Farraj-Falah is a member of many organizations and non-profits, including the Israeli Association for Language and Literature Research at Tel Aviv University, the Israeli Association for Feminist Studies and Gender Research, and Kedma, a project to promote the status of women.
In her current position as a Director of the Girls Field and Youth in Extreme Risk program, Reut supervises 11 programs in the field that detect and assist minors in prostitution, homeless youth, and girls and young women who have been sexually abused. This position has allowed Reut the opportunity to lobby in front of members of the Knesset and collaborate on projects with government agencies. Prior to this position, Reut worked with the Shatil Initiative for Social Change as a Coordinator at the Center for Democracy and the Fight Against Racism. She has legal training and has worked with the Ministry of Social Affairs, in the Office of the Attorney General. In other positions Reut has worked closely with youth regarding the topics of gender and sexual identity.
Reut holds a Masters degree in Women and Gender Studies with a Specialization in Law from Tel Aviv University and a Bachelors Degree in law from Ono Academic College.
Dr. Hochberg-Marom is one of the world’s leading authorities on political-marketing of global terrorist organizations. Dr. Hochberg-Marom is a strategic consultant to government agencies and security institutions and has established together with Israeli veteran seniors from intelligence and defense organizations, a security- business venture designated to confront global terrorist organizations. With more than 20 years of researching, consulting and lecturing, Dr. Hochberg- Marom brings wide multidisciplinary academic and business experience in various domains. Using her wide range of knowledge and skills based on academic research and business activities, she has recently developed a cutting edge approach and methodology to analyze the activity of global terrorist organizations in cyberspace from a marketing perspective.
Dr. Hochberg-Marom’s academic background includes Ph.D. in political science (Tel-Aviv University), a Master in Business Administration (Edinburgh University, Scotland), another Master in Political Science with a specialization in Political Communication (Tel-Aviv University) and Bachelor in Political Science and International Relations (Hebrew University, Jerusalem). She has conducted a breakthrough research about Al-Qaida marketing strategies focusing on the internet and in the international media. Her current projects include a research about ISIS digital marketing strategies on cyberspace, particularly in social media, the counter-marketing-strategies to confront ISIS and Al-Qaeda, as well as the geopolitical consequences of global terrorism phenomenon. Dr. Hochberg-Marom participated in a distinctive program, the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) in the US, as well as in numerous leading forums and conferences around the world. Dr. Hochebrg-Marom frequently appears in the world media, providing up to date commentary about global terrorism. She publishes articles, is interviewed in magazines, appears on TV panels and interviews on various programs on radio broadcasts.
Ragda Masalha is Head of the National Center for Parent, Family and Community in the Arabic society,. An Arab-Muslim from Kfar Kara, she has been active for years in community empowerment and development of women’s leadership in the Arab society in Israel.
Ragda believes in the importance of education in general and education in the family as a change agent for social mobility. She works to influence parents and educators as agents of change to promote Arab women’s status and to reduce the gaps between Arab citizens and Jewish citizens of Israel. Ragda is a lecturer at Al-Qasemi College in the fields of parenting and family, parent-teacher relationships, community empowerment, and development of women’s leadership. She is a group facilitator and runs courses for teachers and Arab professionals from various disciplines in a variety of subjects.
Ragda was one of the founders of Anwar Group, a group of Jewish Arab women. Ragda was a member of the Board of Women Parliamentarians, which introduced political and social issues from women’s perspectives. Ragda was responsible for bringing the voice and representation of Arab women and Arab society issues in the various sessions of Parliament. Ragda earned her B.A. and M.A in Social Work at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. After working as a Social Worker for girls’ and women’s issues at Arabic welfare departments, she joined Al- Qasemi College of Education, Baqa-El-Gharbia in 2004. As a lecturer, Ragda has made use of her fluency in Arabic, Hebrew and basic English.
Participant during 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017
Attorney Talia Sasson heads her own law firm, representing organizations in administrative and civil cases in court. She is a board member of the New Israel Fund (N.I.F.) and a Co- Chair of the International Council of the N.I.F. and president elect of NIF. She is a board member of the Geneva Initiative’s steering committee, and a counselor for some a University. From August 2004 to March 2005, at the request of former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Mrs. Sasson served as a special legal advisor for the government and the author of the Sasson Report on illegal outposts in the West Bank and law enforcement on Israelis in the W.B. From 1979 to February 2004 she worked in the State Attorney’s office. From 1989 to 1993 she headed the Civil Department in the Jerusalem district attorney. From 1996 to 2004, she headed the Special Tasks Division of the State Attorney’s office. In that role she represented the government of Israel in the Supreme Court for 13 years in civil, criminal, constitutional and administrative cases and was involved also with different security and military issues.
Participant during 2014, 2015, 2016
Pina Steinberg is a social anthropologist who studies disabilities and gender relations. She focuses on the intertwining of structure and agency in the process of producing identities, social positions, and social change. In the recent years she has specialized in state feminism and gender mainstreaming.
Dr. Steinberg’s involvement in current Israeli efforts of implementation of UNSCR 1325 include: a recent report on women in top decision making positions: representation and diversity, for The Center for Advancement of Women in the Public Sphere (WIPS), October 2014; a comparative report on strategies of UNSCR 1325 implementation in various countries, for The Center for Advancement of Women in the Public Sphere (WIPS), October 2014; a presentation of the Processes of Adoption and Implementation of National Action Plans following UNSCR 1325, at a special session of the Committee on the Status of Women and Gender Equality, November, 2013; and a television and radio interviews on the essence of UNSCR 1325 and its local and global implementations (throughout 2013-2014).
Participant during 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017
Orit Zuaretz has served on her local council as Vice Mayor of Kadima- Tzoran in Israel, joined Israeli Women’s Network, and was elected to Parliament in 2009. She has been a member of the Committee on the Status of Women, where she chaired the Subcommittee on Trafficking in Women and the Lobby for Including Women in Negotiations teams and implementation of UN Resolution 1325. Zuaretz is pursuing a Ph.D. in Middle East Studies from Haifa University, and received her MA in Middle East and Africa Studies from Tel- Aviv University. She has been involved with Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee and with Friends of Earth and Middle East. She was also the Israeli Knesset delegate to the Committee on Energy, Environment, and Water of the Parliamentary Assembly- Union for the Mediterranean. Zuaretz served three years in the Army’s Intelligence Corps.
My name is Maya Abu-Ajamieh, I am a Jordanian woman that is very lucky to have grown up in a supportive and empowering environment. Growing up between the Gulf and the United States of America, receiving an education in both the University in Jordan and the American University in Cairo, and flying all over the world for work has given me the diversity I need to self awareness and self improvement. I am an M.A. holder in Human Rights Law. I have worked in several fields, from education, to business development, and banking.
Due to my diverse upbringing, and dynamic character I had the privilege of being a part of so many chances and opportunities that fulfilled me personally and professionally. I am keen on being active in all aspects that relate to women studies and refugee matters. I find these two fields vital in today’s world. Women empowerment has never been vital more that nowadays, it is necessary that women gain a decision making voice in the Arab world. If so is possible then I believe that women will be able to end these conflicts in the Arab world and restore peace and agreement.
Participant during 2013, 2014, 2015
Kholoud Barakat currently work as a Senior Trainer for an international organization that supports women empowerment and promotes protection for female Syrian refugees. Driven by a desire of mobilizing for social change, she has moved her career from academic teaching at the college and university level to educational coaching and grassroots mobilization through supporting local emerging NGOs in poverty pocket areas. Barakat is currently focused on women’s empowerment, especially for vulnerable women and female youth.
Participant during 2016, 2017
Dina Baslan is a Jordanian freelance researcher working on topics pertaining to media, displacement and migration. A former aid worker, she worked as an information and communications specialist for three years and a half with the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) in the MENA regional office. Earlier, she has worked on research projects with UNESCO, Open Society Foundations and BBC Media Action on media development in the region.
Most recently, she has worked with the Norwegian University of Science and Technology and Fafo, a Norwegian research institute, on refugee-related issues in Jordan which included not only Syrian refugees, but ex-Gazan, Iraqi, Sudanese and Somali refugees in the country. In her work, Dina is invested in forming her understanding of the political, social & economic realities in the region through engaging in personal narratives, where she believes the essence of these realities lie. In September 2015, she joined her Syrian friend on his journey to asylum in Europe, traveling from Turkey to Germany. She blogs about the 44-day journey on her Medium blog medium.com/@dinabaslan. Dina believes in the power of animation and is especially a fan of Hayao Miyazaki’s anime work.
Participant during 2014, 2015
Amal Haddadin received her law degree from the University of Jordan and currently works at Haddadin Law Firm. She has studied human rights in a number of advanced training courses, specializing in gender equality. In the last decade, she has represented Jordan in several regional and international women’s rights conferences. Haddadin has served as a member on delegations of the Jordanian Periodical Report in Geneva, the Commission on the Status of Women, and the UN Women Expert Group Meeting. She also served as the Chief Expert in preparing the fifth and sixth periodical Convention to Elimination All Forms of Discrimination Against Women Report.
Sakina Kayed is a freelance Arabic and English Interpreter, and ongoing reporting officer for Cross Borders’ Emergency Syrian Reponse. She is also a former freelance editor and writer for numerous publications. Sakina holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Masters of Sustainable Development from the University of Jordan.
Lamis Nasser is an independent consultant, researcher, and trainer in the fields of women’s rights, human rights, gender issues, CEDAW, CRC, women and child rights, and women development. In this capacity she has been a member of numerous research teams whose work ranges from reporting to CEDAW, the CRC, the EU, WFP, UNICEF, and other civil society organizations. She has extensive work experience in project coordination and advising, national and international reporting to UN treaty bodies, and conducting training workshops and seminars on women’s rights. Considered a gender expert in the MENA region by the UN Development Fund for Women, Lamis has years of experience in the field of gender and human rights. In 2004 she was awarded the annual “Human Rights Prize of the French Government for the year 2004”, an international award. She holds a B.A. in Psychology and Education from American University in Beirut, and an M.A. in Psychological Counseling and Guidance from Jordan University.
Co-Founder and Participant during 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016
Rula Quawas was a professor of American literature and feminist theory at the University of Jordan. She was the founding Director of the Women’s Studies Center at the university, and she was also the Dean of the Faculty of Foreign Languages. Rula’s research focused on feminist readings of American and Arabic texts written by women writers. She has written and published numerous essays in English on American and on Arab women writers. She has co-authored three language communication-skill textbooks, a book on Jordanian women short-story writers, a book on intercultural communication, a book on crossing borders through story-telling, and another on the voices of Jordanian women. She served on many editorial boards such as Studies in Literature in English and the International Journal of Arabic-English Studies. Rula was honored as a distinguished international scholar, and she was also awarded the Meritorious Honor Award for Leadership and Dedication to the empowerment of Jordanian women. She was recently nominated for the International Women of Courage Award. Her dream was to forge new pathways and to see women fulfill their aspirations and become what they are capable of becoming. Rula Quawas strongly believed that dreams do come true.
Samia Smadi holds a Masters degree in American Studies from the University of Jordan and a bachelors degree in English Language and Literature from Yarmouk University.
Before becoming a coordinator with the Coalition of Women MPs from Arab Countries, Samia was the head of the Cultural Corners’ Section as a faculty member of the University of Jordan, where she held a position in the Foreign Languages Department. At the Univeristy of Jordan Samia has also held positions as a part time lecturer at the Lanugage Center and as the Head of Correspondance and Publications in the Office of International relations.
Participant during 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017
Mary Sweis holds a Diploma in Elementary Education from Princess Alia Institute, Amman. She has worked as a human rights activist in many capacities, including as the Vice President of the Pioneers Society, Deputy Mayor of Al Fuhais Municipality, Vice President of the Jordanian Women Union, member of The General federation of Jordanian Women, Member of the coalition committee of UN Resolution 1325-Jordan, Member of the National Democratic Institute, and Director of Women Helping Women Network in Jordan.
Participant during 2015, 2017
Jihane Abbassi has been an English teacher since 2004. In 2007, she joined Union De L-Action Feministe as a volunteer translator. One year later, she became a member of UAF youth branch and led advocacy campaigns in schools on peace and non-violent behavior. She currently directs counseling sessions for students. In 2009, she was approached by the organization Sourire de Réda, which aids young people who have suffered psychological trouble. As a volunteer, Jihane is the liaison between this organization and some schools in Casablanca.
She participated with ICAN second regional forum on women’s rights peace and security in the MENA and Asia region (Istanbul, 2013). She also participated in the national Moroccan consultations on women’s peace and security 1325 resolutions.
Participant during 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017
Loubna Amhair has been a member of the Moroccan Parliament since 2011, sitting on the Finances and Economic Development Committee and is now speaker of the Committee of Foreign Affairs and National Defense. Previously, she served as the Advisor of the State Minister, Mr. Mohand Laenser, from 2009-2011. MP Amhair has worked extensively in rural development and socio-economic empowerment of women, including evaluating educational programs with the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries and integrating rural development projects as Advisor to the Secretary for Rural Development. She has experiential and academic training in leadership, peace building, and empowerment of rural women. MP Amhair is a member of Parliamentarians Network for Conflict Prevention, an initiative of the EastWest Institute, and board member of the Arab Youth Union for Freedom and Democracy.
Souad Belhorma is a doctorate holder in language and English Literature, Faculty of Letters and Human Sciences, Dhar Mehraz-Fez. She is currently an assistant professor of English studies at the Polydisciplinary Faculty of Errachidia, University of Moulay Ismail. She is the author of the book The Participation of Women in the Labor Force: Women Workers in Primary Schools as a Case Study. In addition to her participation in different national and international conferences, Souad Belhorma also shows interest in different disciplines of research, such as poverty, gender issues, politics, and work. She holds certificates from courses on women’s rights, human rights, gender based violence, youth awareness to name but a few, both at the national and the international levels. She has interned in different associations, as well as human rights and women’s rights organizations.
Amina Maelainine is a Member of the Moroccan Parliament . She serves as the Vice President of the Commission of Legislation, Justice, and Human rights and as the President of the Association of Equality for Women, Children, and Family. MP Maelainine is also a member of the City Council, Tiznit, and the President of the Commission of Syndicalist Women, the National Union of Work in Morocco. Additionally, she is the reporter of the Parliamentary group of Equality and Parity and is a member of the High council of Education.
Fatima Outaleb has over 25 years of experience in national and regional women’s issues with Union de L’Action Femininst, a regional and international organization, with a special focus on gender mainstreaming and women’s empowerment . Her special skills include evaluation, training facilitation and team management. Outaleb is a point person for many international human rights organizations and institutions. She has experience in the implementation of programs and projects through holistic approaches and interventions. Fatima’s track record shows project planning monitoring and evaluation in addition to understanding of gender issues in the MENA region. Ms Outaleb has been a gender advisor for many international NGOs, namely the International Foundation for Electoral Systems USA , Swedish International Developement Agency, and Aswatt Nissa Associaion Tunisia .She has coordinated programs on women’s political participation and ensured training on advocacy skills and techniques for women of political parties in Tunisia. Ms Outaleb has edited and written many articles on GBV and recently wrote Morocco Brief for ICAN.
Participant during 2015, 2016, 2017
Fatima Sadiqi is Professor of Linguistics and Gender Studies (University of Fez, Morocco); her work focuses on women’s issues in modern North Africa, the Middle East, and the Mediterranean world. She is author and editor of numerous volumes and journal issues, Sadiqi is also a public speaker in many languages and a member of many national and international scholarly and policy-making boards.
She founded the first Moroccan Center for Studies and Research on Women in 1998, and the first graduate program on Gender Studies in 2000 at the University of Fez. In 2006 she founded ISIS Center for Women and Development and in 2009 she was elected President of the National Union of Women’s Associations, also co-founding the International Institute for Languages and Cultures. Currently Professor Sadiqi is a Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center.
Participant during 2016, 2017
Huda Abuarquob is ALLMEP’s first on-the-ground regional director. She has years of experience in conflict resolution, NGO leadership, and social change education and activism, as well as a life-long commitment to building strong people-to-people Israeli-Palestinian relations. She is a well-known speaker on issues related to Middle East politics and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
After studying conflict transformation and peace studies as a Fulbright scholar, she worked as an executive director, a program director, and an NGO consultant to a number of organizations in the U.S., Israel, and Palestine. She is a co-founder of the Center for Transformative Education (CTE) and has taught and trained hundreds of students in Israel and the U.S. She has long been an active leader in grassroots Palestinian initiatives focused on women’s empowerment and people-to-people diplomacy.
Previously, Huda worked as a teacher, trainer, and consultant for the Palestinian Ministry of Education for fifteen years. She earned her M.A. in conflict transformation and peace studies from Eastern Mennonite University and her B.A. in education for social change from Al-Quds Open University in Jerusalem.
Cairo Ali Arafat
Cairo Arafat holds a BA in Psychology from Thiel College in Pennsylvania, a Masters in Developmental Neuroscience, and a Ph.D. in Child Clinical Psychology, both from Ohio State University. She has worked in the field of peace building and negotiations for over twenty years, supporting child, youth, and women coalitions and programs that foster peaceful resolutions. Cairo served as the Director of General Aid Coordination and Management at the Ministry of Planning, where she focused on empowering women economically, socially, and creatively. She has also worked with the Independent Commission for Human Rights, the Ministries of Education and Planning, the Secretariat for the National Plan of Action for Palestinian Children, UNICEF, and served as the Women’s Security and Policing Advisor for UN Women. She currently works as the Senior Child Rights Governance Technical Advisor with Save the Children in Jerusalem’s occupied Palestine Territory.
Yara Asad is an Edward Mason Fellow and a graduate of Masters in Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. She was the Chief Executive Officer of the Jerusalem Arbitration Centre from February 2011-March 2015. The Centre is a joint initiative between the International Chambers of Commerce in Palestine and Israel, in association with the ICC in Paris and its International Court of Arbitration. Yara was also the Director General for the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) in Palestine from January 2011-December 2014.
For the past five years, Yara has been a role model for young Palestinian women, playing an extensive role in presenting Palestine and its private sector interests worldwide. She appointed the first Palestinian woman at the International Court of Arbitration. She also provided trainings and mentorship services for young female lawyers from the West Bank by capitalizing on ICC, Palestine’s network of law firms around the globe. Asad is on the board of the Jerusalem Arbitration Centre as a joint CEO at least through August 2015.
A native of East Jerusalem, Riman Barakat serves as the Jerusalem Season of Culture’s expert and coordinator for East Jerusalem and the Palestinian community. She is also the founding CEO of Experience Palestine, a company that arranges tours and itineraries for top-level international delegations and missions.
Since her early career she has been involved in peace-building activities that involve the Israeli Palestinian conflict. She is the acting Executive Director for Breaking the Impasse – Palestine, a business peace initiative sponsored by the World Economic Forum. She has also been the co-Director of the Israel Palestine Center for Research and Information (IPCRI). Riman holds two graduate degrees in the fields of Middle Eastern studies and International affairs. In 2011 Ms. Barakat completed a Fulbright scholarship at Marquette University, Wisconsin.
Maysa Baransi is a self-described business woman, journalist and tireless campaigner for peace. She has dedicated her life’s work to enhancing leadership amongst Palestinians and create a greater understanding between Palestinians and Israelis both on the ground and by influencing government and social policies. She is passionate about empowering women in Commerce.
Participant during 2013, 2015
Lily Feidy holds a Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics from the University of Delaware, USA and is an Adjunct Professor at the Department of English at Birzeit University, where she was on faculty in various capacities. She has served as the Chairperson of the Department of English, Assistant Dean for the Faculty of Arts, and Director of the University’s International Relations Department. She was also the Director General for International and Cultural Relations at the Ministry of Higher Education in Palestine from 1996-2002.
Feidy has been a strong advocate of human rights, democracy, and gender issues with a special focus on women and youth. She is active in peace building efforts between Palestinians and Israelis. Feidy is a board member at the Ramallah-based human rights organization Al Haq and many other peace-building organizations, and is a permanent fellow at the Salzburg Seminar.
Najwa Faisal Sandouka-Yaghi
Najwa Faisal Sandouka-Yaghi received her BA in Arabic Literature from Birzeit University and a Diploma in Education from Al-Azhar University. She has extensive study and experience in management, facilitation and moderation for trainers, and monitoring and evaluation.
She is currently the Project Manager for Gender Equity and Protection. Previously, she worked as Project Coordinator of Gender, Peace, and Security with MIFTA; Project Coordinator for the Deaf Civic Law Empowerment; and a variety of other team supervisory and training specialist roles.
Ikram Ben Said
Ikram Ben Said is a women’s rights advocate and founder of Aswat Nissa (Voices of Women), a Tunisian nonprofit promoting women’s active participation in the political and policy-making spheres while fighting against all forms of discrimination and violence against women. Her latest initiative “Women’s Political Academy” was awarded the 2014 Madeleine Albright Award. Ikram is a former Senior Program Manager at Search for Common Ground (SFCG), a leading international nonprofit for peace building and conflict resolution, where she managed the youth, women, and dialogue departments at the Tunisian offices. Ikram was featured as the Next Generation Leader, first edition in Time Magazine, and chosen as a Female Role Model in 2014 by the Pixel Project “16 for 16” campaign.
In 2012 she joined the Women in Public Service Project at the Seven Sisters and Wellesley Universities in the U.S., a women leadership initiative by former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Not only a published author of numerous op-ed articles and recipient of several awards pertaining to female leadership for women’s rights, she is an experienced public figure speaking across Europe, the US, and MENA regions. Ikram holds a B.A. in Marketing from the Higher School of Economic Science and Commerce in Tunis. In 2016 she was a Fulbright Fellow at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota where she affirmed her skills in areas pertaining to policy analysis on good governance and democracy, as well as gender equality.
Participant during 2015, 2016
Miss Amira Marzouk is a member of the Tunisian National Constituent Assembly. She previously served as a member of the Pan African Parliament and as an ambassador for a global forum of women parliamentarians. Marzouk participated in the last parliamentary elections as a candidate and in the presidential elections as a team member for one of the candidates. She has been part of various peacemaking efforts as a member of the Pan African Parliament, by observing presidential and legislative elections in countries such as Kenya, Burkina Faso, and Algeria.
Additionally, she participated in the founding of the African Parliamentary Union of Youth and is now an active member. As an ambassador for a global forum of women parliamentarians in Tunisia, Marzouk learned the importance of the participation of women in public and political life, in order to share regional and international experiences that can identify problems and know which solutions to adopt in favor of women in many countries.
Participant during 2014, 2015
Rabiaa Nejlaoui is Advisor to the President of the Republic in charge of Diplomacy and Protocol. She has served as an elected member of the Political Bureau of the Nidaa Tounes party, the highest institution in the party. She was the youngest MP in the Tunisian National Constituent Assembly, which has the role of drafting the second constitution of Tunisia. She was also a member in the Constitutional Commission, the Constitutional Instances, and in the Legislative Commission ; service sectors. She is a member in the executive bureau of the party and was in charge of the presidential campaign of Mr Beji Caied Essebsi, the current president. She is a representative of the Youth Commission of Tunisians Abroad and a founding member of Bourguiba’s Association for Tolerance. She is a big defender of youth, women, and minority group rights.
Participant during 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017
Patricia (Pat) Davis is a communications/campaign expert and writer with over 25 years of experience in the US and Middle East. A strong advocate for women’s empowerment, Pat has trained women in the US, Russia, Ukraine, Egypt and the Persian Gulf to run for public office and to advocate for social and political issues of concern to them. In 2011-12, she ran the Dubai office of a Washington-based NGO and was responsible for planning and implementing its Gulf programs, including leadership training for women in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. Prior to this, Pat worked in Doha from 2004-09 on projects led by Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Qatar’s former First Lady and a global advocate for women and youth. In 1992, as Research Director at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in Washington, she worked with the eight Democratic women candidates for the US Senate in what was considered an historic “Year of the Woman.”
A skilled manager, Pat has built and managed high-functioning teams and has facilitated discussions and strategic planning sessions with an emphasis on participation and outcomes. She has also organized and directed a wide variety of events in the US and internationally, from exclusive CEO briefings to major conferences and exhibitions. Prior to her work abroad, Pat served as a legislative counsel to the US Congress and as a senior advisor at the US Department of Education during the Clinton Administration. She also spent many years as a communications and public affairs consultant, helping clients build relationships with government and opinion leaders and advocate for policy change.
Pat is a lawyer and holds an MPA from Harvard University with a focus on conflict resolution and politics.
Participant during 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017
Karen Feste, Professor at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver served as Associate Dean (1988- 2000); Budget director (1997-1999); founder and director of the Conflict Resolution Program at the University (1998 to the present), and director of the International Security master’s program (2008-2011). She teaches graduate seminars on Conflict Resolution, Military Intervention, International Terrorism, and Quantitative Research Methods. She currently serves on the editorial board of Global Governance, and is an advisory board member of the Oslo Center for Peace and Human Rights, and the Canadian Peace Research Association.
As an invited academic scholar, Dr. Feste has lectured on American Foreign Policy, the Middle East Peace Process, Arab Spring, US Responses to Terrorism, and Conflict Resolution in Austria, Chile, China, Germany, Israel, Hungary, Poland, Saudi Arabia, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and in various venues throughout the United States.
She received her Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Minnesota, has been listed in Who’s Who in American Women and in 1980, was selected as an Outstanding Young Woman in America. She was a Fulbright Scholar to Vienna, Austria during 1986-87 and in 1993-94. In 2016, Feste received the Alumni Achievement award from Concordia College, her undergraduate alma mater. She has published several books.
Team Guest 2017
Phyllis Kahn was a member of the Minnesota Legislature for 22 terms. She has a B.A. in physics from Cornell, a Ph.D. in biophysics from Yale and an M.P.A. from the J.F.K. School of Government at Harvard. She has been the chief author of the Minnesota Clean Indoor Air Act (controlling smoking in public places), the computer crime and computer virus laws, and legislation on nuclear safety, radioactive waste disposal, field tests of genetically modified crops and infectious waste disposal. She also authored laws to require gender equity in athletics and laws prohibiting discrimination based on age or disability. She has been instrumental in obtaining funding for parks, trails, historic preservation, art-enhancement of State buildings, and the expansion of community and urban forests.
She has served on many national committees, particularly in the field of Science and Public Policy. She has been elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and has served as the Chair of the AAAS Section on General Interest in Science and Engineering.
Participant during 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017
Ellen J. Kennedy, Ph.D., is the founder and Executive Director of World Without Genocide at William Mitchell College of Law, St. Paul. The organization provides education about past and current conflicts and advocacy at the local, state, and national levels to protect innocent people, prevent genocide, prosecute perpetrators, and remember those affected by genocide. Kennedy has received many awards for her work: Outstanding Citizen from the Anne Frank Center, Higher Education Leader of the Year from the National Society for Experiential Education, Outstanding Service Award from the Midwest Sociological Society, two awards from the University of Minnesota, and the Minnesota Women’s Press Change-maker award. World Without Genocide received a Certificate of Merit from the State of Minnesota, Office of the Governor, for efforts to seek justice and to eliminate genocide around the globe; and the 2014 Minnesota Ethical Leadership Award.
Kennedy is an adjunct professor of law at William Mitchell College of Law and is the Minnesota representative to AMICC, a national organization that advocates for the International Criminal Court. She also serves on the Human Rights and Relations Commission for the City of Edina, Minnesota. Kennedy received her BA degree from the University of Michigan and doctorate degrees from the University of Minnesota.
Participant during 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017
Commissioner Mary Jo McGuire was elected to the Ramsey County Board in 2012. Prior to her election, she served in the Minnesota Senate (2010-2012) and the Minnesota House of Representatives (1989-2002). Commissioner McGuire has been involved with issue advocacy in such areas as civic education, human trafficking, violence prevention, and leadership. She has participated in diplomatic, educational exchange programs to South Korea and the Philippines with the American Council of Young Political Leaders to experience firsthand the political and cultural dynamics of other countries. In 2002, she participated in the Foreign Policy Institute at the Center for Women Policy Studies in Washington D.C. and led a conference on human trafficking at St. Catherine University.
Commissioner McGuire is trained as a “qualified neutral” in dispute resolution cases. Over the years, Commissioner McGuire has served as a guest lecturer and adjunct professor at West Point Military Academy, the Center for the American Woman and Politics at Rutgers University, St. Catherine University, and Hamline University School of Law. She played a significant role in the establishment of the Global Women’s Leadership Convening at St. Catherine University in 2011.
Manal Omar is the associate vice president for the Middle East and Africa Center. Previously, she was regional program manager for the Middle East for Oxfam – Great Britain, where she responded to humanitarian crises in Palestine and Lebanon. Omar has extensive experience in the Middle East. She worked with Women for Women International as regional coordinator for Afghanistan, Iraq and Sudan. She also served as an international advisor for the Libya Stabilization Team in Benghazi in 2011. Omar lived in Baghdad from 2003 to 2005 and set up operations in Iraq. She launched her career as a journalist in the Middle East in 1996. UNESCO recruited her to work on one of her first lead assignments in Iraq in 1997-1998. Omar also spent more than three years with the World Bank’s development economics group. She has carried out training programs in Yemen, Bahrain, Afghanistan, Sudan, Lebanon, Palestinian Territories, Kenya and many other countries.
Omar’s activities have been profiled by the Washington Times, the Los Angeles Times, the BBC, NPR, Glamour, the London Times and Newsweek. Her articles and opinion pieces have appeared in the Guardian, the Washington Post, Foreign Policy, Azizah Magazine and Islamica Magazine. Omar is on the advisory board of Peaceful Families Project, an organization with international reach that recognizes domestic violence is a form of oppression that affects people of all faiths. She also serves on the advisory board of Prosperty Catalyst and Women’s Voices Now. She was named among Top 500 World’s Most Influential Arabs by Arabia Business Power in 2011 and 2012, and among the 500 Most Influential Muslims in the World by Georgetown University and The Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre in 2009 .In 2007, Islamic Magazine named her one of the ten young visionaries shaping Islam in America. She holds a master’s degree in Arab studies from Georgetown University and a bachelor’s degree in international relations from George Mason University.
Co-Founder and Participant during 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017
Senator Sandy Pappas was first elected to the Minnesota Legislature in 1984 and is today serving as a state Senator. Throughout her legislative career, Senator Pappas has been a fervent and long-standing advocate for human rights, women’s empowerment, children, workers, refugees, immigrants, and other vulnerable groups. Over the years, she has passed legislation to prohibit sex trafficking and provide services to victims; to curtail the investment of state funds in the Darfur region of Sudan; to provide emergency contraception for sexual assault victims; to allow children of undocumented parents to attend Minnesota state colleges and receive financial aid (MN Dream Act); to restrict state agencies from purchasing products made with “conflict minerals;” and passed into law the Women’s Economic Security Act. Senator Pappas is Vice President of the Women Legislators Lobby (WILL), is Vice Chair of the non-profit, World Without Genocide, served on the board of the Senate Presidents’ Forum, was Treasurer of the World Hellenic Inter-Parliamentary Association, and is on the board of the National Association of Jewish Legislators (NAJL). She has an MPA degree from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Sandy is married to Neal Gosman, has three daughters and 21 grandchildren- all living in Northern Israel.
Patricia Torres Ray is the first Hispanic woman to serve in the Minnesota Senate. She is a member of the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party and represents District 63. She has 18 years of experience in public service and community organizing. Senator Torres Ray also served as a state program administrator for the Minnesota Department of Human Services. Currently, she serves as the chair of the Education Policy Committee and is also a member of the Education Finance, State and Local Government and Higher Education Committees.
She is originally from Colombia and holds a B.A. in Urban Studies and a Master’s Degree in Public Affairs from the Humphrey Institute at the University of Minnesota.
Speakers, Facilitators and Trainers
Ireland, Trainer 2013
McWilliams is Professor of Women’s Studies, based in the Transitional Justice Institute at the University of Ulster. Monica was the Chief Commissioner of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission from 2005-2011 and responsible for delivering the advice on a Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland. She was the co-founder of the Northern Ireland Women’s Coalition political party and was elected to a seat at the Multi-Party Peace Negotiations, which led to the Belfast (Good Friday) Peace Agreement in 1998. She served as a member of the Northern Ireland Legislative Assembly from 1998-2003 and the Northern Ireland Forum for Dialogue and Understanding from 1996-1998. Her published work focuses on domestic violence, human security and the role of women in peace processes. She was the Distinguished Lecturer at the 2010 Women PeaceMakers Conference at the University of San Diego’s Institute for Peace and Justice. She is the recipient of two honorary doctorates and a special Profile in Courage Award from the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation. She is a graduate of Queen’s University, Belfast and the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
McWilliams provided the keynote address at the opening panel discussion for the 2013 Convening. Her speech, “Women’s Participation in Peace-Making and Security in Northern Ireland and Elsewhere,” reflected on her own experiences in negotiation and her hopes for global peace-making.
Mary McWilliams is the Director of McWilliams Associates and has 25 years of experience in designing, delivering, and evaluating high impact leadership and training programs. She is a skilled consultant, coach and facilitator, and an accredited trainer for the Institute of Leadership and Management, delivering a wide range of programs to government agencies in Ireland and Europe.
McWilliams is a qualified practitioner in mediation and recently facilitated a mediation and negotiation skills program with women activists from Georgia. She has trained Syrian women, sponsored by the US Women’s Democracy Movement, and worked with women from the High Peace Council in Afghanistan. She has also worked in various countries on local dispute resolution.
Her team has worked extensively with women’s organizations to facilitate political and professional development, facilitating events for women’s organizations and local government partnerships through the Community Engagement Programme sponsored by the European Union PEACE III Programme. McWilliams received her Postgraduate Diploma in Journalism from the Robert Schuman Institute in Brussels.
Finland/ USA, Trainer 2014
Helena Grönberg is a co-founder of the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders (GNWP), a program of the International Civil Society Action Network (ICAN). From 2010 to 2014 she managed a comprehensive activity program designed to meet the needs and interests of the members of GNWP, and contributed to the design, development, and implementation of GNWP’s various advocacy, capacity building, media and research programs on women and peace and security. Grönberg has regularly facilitated trainings on UNSCR 1325 and 1820 in Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, Nepal, and Sierra Leone. She is currently pursuing an MS in International Affairs with a focus on conflict and security at the New School’s Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy in New York. While taking time off from her role as Program Manager at GNWP, she continues to follow the activities of the network, and assists on GNWP’s various programs.
USA, Trainer 2014
Julie L. Arostegui, J.D., is a lawyer and international human rights and gender expert with extensive experience in the rule of law, access to justice, peace building, combating gender-based violence, women’s political participation, and women’s empowerment. She currently leads WAND’s Women, Peace and Security (WPS) Program, which empowers women politically both in the U.S. and abroad, with a focus on the Middle East/North Africa (MENA) region. Arostegui works to implement UNSCR 1325 both at home and abroad and is the author of the toolkit entitled Women, Peace and Security: Practical Guidance on Using Law to Empower Women in Post-Conflict Systems. She has managed programs related to women’s rights in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, and Latin America, and has advised, trained, and published extensively on women’s rights, human rights, women, peace and security, and human trafficking.
Iran/USA, Trainer 2014 & 2015
Sussan Tahmasebi is the co-founder of the International Civil Society Action Network (ICAN), an international NGO dedicated to supporting women’s civil society activism on rights, peace and security in conflict affected or transitioning countries. Currently based in the US, Ms. Tahmasebi serves as the Director of ICAN’s MENA region program. ICAN also seeks to create a community of practice network in the region where women’s rights advocates can share experiences and expertise, stand in solidarity with one another and provide support, and work toward making their demands for equality an indigenous demand to the region.
Prior to taking on this role, Ms. Tahmasebi worked in Iran as an activist to promote women’s rights and strengthen civil society for over ten years. Tahmasebi is a founding member of the One Million Signatures Campaign, promoting broad awareness on women’s rights and supporting an end to gender-biased laws. Sussan Tahmasebi has published articles on the status of Iranian Civil Society, the Iranian Women’s Movement and the situation of Women in the MENA region. In 2010 and 2011 Tahmasebi was honored by Human Rights Watch with the Alison Des Forges Award for extraordinary activism, HRW’s highest honor. In 2011 she was named by Newsweek as one of 150 women who “Shake the World.”
Israel, Speaker 2016
Michal Barak is the co-founder of Women Wage Peace, a founding member of “Itach-Maa’ki”: Women Lawyers for Social Justice, and founder of the NGO “A Different Lesson” which works with volunteers from various professions who teach enrichment classes in disadvantaged schools. Michal’s career is dedicated to education for democracy and human rights. She has worked for the Gilo Center for Civic Education in the Hebrew University, The Center for Education and Technolog at the Open University, and The Dov Lautman Forum for Education Policy. She has written curricula and books on civic education, trained teachers, and conducted research and wrote policy on municipal projects. In 2011 she was a founding team member of MindCET, eventually leading the teachers’ program. After that she joined MOLAD: The Center for the Renewal of Israeli Democracy as a researcher on education and the Arab Society. In 2015 she joined Professor Karayanni in founding the Center for the Study of Multiculturalism and Diversity at the Hebrew University where she currently resides as executive director.
Michal currently serves as a board member of “Merhavin for Shared Citizenship,” and “Sikkuy: The Association for the Advancement of Civic Engagement.” She holds a B.A. in Law from Hebrew University, an M.A. in linguistics from Rutgers University, and an M.A. in public policy from Tel Aviv University.
Cyprus, Panelist 2016
Maria Hadjipavlou is currently a Professor at the Social and Political Sciences Department of the University of Cyprus. She holds a PhD in Comparative Social and Political Change from Boston University. She has been a post-doctoral research associate of the Harvard Program in International Conflict Analysis and Resolution (PICAR). She represents Cyprus in COST Action IS0805: New Challenges of Peacekeeping and the European Union’s Role in Multilateral Crisis Management. She is a well-known expert in conflict resolution and feminism. She has promoted peace across the divide in Cyprus for the last 25 years. She is a trainer in conflict resolution and gender-raising consciousness. She has published widely in the fields of conflict resolution, Cyprus and gender issues.
Netherlands, Speaker 2016
Amal Hamidallah is a lawyer and civil society analyst. She is an expert of the Middle East and North Africa with long-standing experience providing substantive contributions in the field of democratization, the Rule of Law, civil society development, transitional justice, peace and security, agency and participation, economic justice gender and human rights mainstreaming. Amal is the founder of the Gulf Foundation (former Bridging the Gulf Foundation) which specializes in civil society empowerment and development in the Arab world with particular focus on the Arab Gulf countries and women rights. Currently she is the regional director for the Middle East at Cordaid, an international humanitarian actor aiding the international community in bringing relief and support to the MENA region, especially in the Syrian Joint response and North Iraq joint response.
Israel, Speaker 2016
Anat Thon-Ashkenazy is the Executive Director of Itach-Maaki – Women Lawyers for Social Justice, an Arab-Jewish NGO in Israel working to promote the voices of diverse women in public discourse and decision making. Anat is a senior attorney, specializes in law, gender discrimination and mainstreaming gender perspectives in peace and security issues. During her years of work at Itach-Maaki, Anat piloted an initiative of more than 30 NGOs that aimed to advance a National Action Plan in Israel based on UN Security Council Resolution 1325. This work lead to far greater awareness of the resolution and its values and, ultimately to a government decision to create a National Action Plan.
At Itach-Maaki, Anat has acted to promote the representation of diverse women in a variety of public decision-making bodies via groundbreaking petitions to The Israeli Supreme Court on behalf of dozens of NGOs. These petitions have become legal precedents and have significantly improved the representation of women in governmental bodies. Anat has published articles and op-eds regarding the implementation of UNSCR 1325 in Israel and has appeared on television and radio news programs. Anat holds LLM and LLB with honors from Tel-Aviv University. Anat recently received the ‘Nachshonit Award’ for her pioneering activities as an advocate promoting gender equality in Israel. In 2011, the leading economic magazine, The Marker, selected Anat as one of the seven promising young lawyers in Israel.
Norway, Facilitator 2017
Christiane works as the Senior Advisor at the Nansen Center for Peace and Dialogue. Christiane has 20+ years of experience working with diverse communities in Norway. She began work with refugees in Norway in 1999. She has developed and implemented training programs in Dialogue and Conflict Transformation, Multi- Cultural Communication and Peacebuilding in Norway, Denmark, Poland, Russia, Kenya, and Iraqi Kurdistan.
Norway, Facilitator 2017
Chro works as a Dialogue Advisor at the Nansen Center for Peace and Dialogue. Chro has held a variety of positions working with asylum seekers, combating honour- based violence, and with dialogue trainings and facilitation in local communities in Norway and the Middle East. She is also team leader in Alternatives to Violence (AVP) and certificated conflict mediator at the Norwegian Mediation Service. Chro was born in Iraqi Kurdistan, but grew up in Norway.
United Arab Emirates/USA, Speaker 2017
Sara joined the Hedayah team in August 2012 initially as a consultant for the Strategy and Delivery Unit tasked by the U.A.E Ministry of Foreign Affairs to stand up and launch Hedayah. Currently, Sara supports the department by coordinating the counter-narrative library, Hedayah’s non-resident Fellowship Program and Hedayah’s annual International CVE Research Conference. She was also Hedayah’s liaison with the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF) to support the development and drafting their framework document, the Abu Dhabi Memorandum on Good Practices for Education and CVE and follow-up Draft Action Plan. Her recent publications include A Man’s World: Exploring the Role of Women in Countering Terrorism and Countering Violent Extremism, and Undermining Violent Extremist Narratives in South East Asia: A How-To Guide. Sara is also currently a Non-Resident Fellow in International Relations and Counter-Terrorism for TRENDS Research & Advisory.
Prior to joining Hedayah, Sara worked as a Research Assistant at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard University. She also served as a Head Teaching Fellow for the Harvard Extension School where she taught courses on anthropology in the Gulf, politics in the Middle East, and Islam in the West. Sara was also a Graduate Assistant at Boston University, conducting research on politics and society in Latin America, Europe and the Middle East.
Sara holds an M.A. in International Relations and Religion (concentrations: Security Studies and Islam) from Boston University, and graduated as valedictorian with a B.A. in Psychology and Religion from Ohio Northern University.
USA, Speaker 2017
Dr. Houda Abadi joined The Carter Center in June 2014 as Associate Director of the Conflict Resolution Program. For the first two years, Dr. Abadi worked on Syria and the Israel-Palestine conflict. During that time, she developed what is now The Center’s inclusive approaches to preventing violent extremism project. Dr. Abadi holds a graduate certificate from Duke-UNC in Middle East Studies, an MA in International Relations and Diplomacy, with a concentration in Middle East Studies and Conflict Resolution, and a Ph.D. in Political Communication and Media Studies. She was the 2013-2014 Transcultural Conflict and Violence Presidential Fellow. Dr. Abadi has been active in writing, presenting, and organizing events around peace-making processes in the Middle East, social movements, political Islam, propaganda, terrorism, Muslim women’s issues, and aesthetic forms of resistance. She taught courses in conflict resolution and mediation, social movements, cultural diversity, and social media. She was born and raised in Morocco and speaks English, French, Arabic, and Spanish. Prior to joining the Center, Dr. Abadi served as the Director of Education in two non-profit organizations that facilitated dialogue between Jewish and Muslim youth. She worked on curriculum development and youth interfaith dialogue. She also served as a researcher, translator, and writer for Muslim Women’s issues at Women’s Islamic Initiative in Spirituality and Equality. Dr. Abadi has published scholarly articles and taught at Georgia State University and University of North Carolina.
Program Manager, 2016
Justine Akbari is a recent graduate from the University of Minnesota with degrees in Journalism and Global Studies with a concentration in human rights, the Middle East, and Political Science. She studied Arabic language and culture for three years and completed a study abroad semester in Fez, Morocco. Justine is currently in the midst of her 6th internship hoping to perfect her communication and writing skills, and explore future career options. She is a strong advocate for women’s rights and particularly interested in foreign affairs in the Middle East. In college, she served on the board of the United Nations Student Association, and worked for a nonprofit assisting refugees from Burma. She is fascinated by globalization and the unifying capabilities of the internet.
Program Manager, Fall 2016 – present
Rachel is a graduate of the University of St. Thomas, located in St. Paul, Minnesota, where she majored in Political Science and Justice and Peace Studies. Rachel is also a graduate of Mitchell Hamline School of Law. She was admitted to the Minnesota State Bar as a licensed attorney in October of 2016. In addition to working as the Program Manager for Forward Global Women, Rachel has done work during the 2017 legislative session as a Legislative Assistant at Capitol Access. She has held a Benjamin B. Ferencz Fellowship in Human Rights and Law for three years working on issues of economic justice in various African countries. She is a member of the Board of Directors for World Without Genocide, a 501(c)(3) headquartered in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Rachel has held legal externships with the Minnesota Department of Human Rights and the Edina Human Rights and Relations Committee.
Videographer during 2016 & 2017
Sherry Munyon is a small business owner and a government affairs specialist. She has nearly 30 years of experience lobbying in the state of Minnesota and spent 7 years as Senate staff. She has a broad range of experience on complex issues with a concentration on the areas of public safety, transportation and education. She has served on numerous boards and organizations, including efforts to empower women in domestic abuse situations and victims of sexual violence, and has achieved several awards in recognition of her work.
Whether in the political arena or on a board or other activity, her efforts are focused on achieving consensus whenever possible. She continues to work assisting more women reach positions of influence and power, particularly in the political arena.
Program Manager, 2013 – 2015
Christie Nicoson recently completed a Rotary Peace Fellowship, obtaining a Master’s of Peace and Conflict Research at Uppsala University in Sweden. Her academic work focused on topics of natural resources and climate change. Christie contributed to a book on environmental peacebuilding and wrote her thesis on the impact of climate adaptation on positive peace, examining how efforts to adapt to climate change could impact the wellbeing of local communities that have experienced conflict related to natural resource issues. During the Fellowship, Christie conducted independent case study research on food security and positive peace in Guam, an island in the North Pacific and one of the US territories. She also worked with the United Nations human rights office (OHCHR) in Geneva, focusing on the right to development and supporting efforts to integrate human rights in climate action.