The 2016 global convening took place in Nicosia, Cyprus.


Women’s Challenges for Security, Peace, Rights and Equality  in the Middle East: Reducing Vulnerability and Building Resilience

Check out photos from the convening here.

This year’s convening participants hail from Egypt, Israel, Palestine, Morocco, Jordan, Tunisia, and the United States. Nearly 30 women  activists, academics, politicians, and leaders will convene in Nicosia, Cyprus to discuss peacemaking, women’s rights, and women and children refugees.

Group Pic

The convening featured three keynote speakers and a formal reception at the residence of the U.S. Ambassador to Cyprus.

Kathleen Doherty, U.S. Ambassador to Cyprus


Before her appointment as U.S. Ambassador to Cyprus, Kathleen Doherty, a member of the Senior Foreign Service, served as Deputy Chief of Mission   in Rome between September 2013 and September 2015. She previously  served for two years as Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of   European and Eurasian Affairs, where she had responsibility for  managing relations with the European Union and Western Europe. Prior  to that, she was the Director for the Office of European Union and  Regional Affairs.Prior to returning to Washington D.C. in 2010, she was  Counselor for Economic Affairs in the U.S. Embassy in London. Her other  overseas assignments include Economic Counselor in the U.S. Embassy in  Moscow, Economic Officer in the U.S. Embassy in Rome and in the U.S.  Consulate in Sao Paulo, and Consular Officer in the Dominican Republic.  In the Department of State, she has worked as a senior watch officer in the  24-hours Operations Center, as a Special Assistant to then Deputy  Secretary of State Strobe Talbott, and in the Offices of Investment Affairs and Development Finance in the Economic, Energy and Business Affairs Bureau.

Amal Hamidallah, Lawyer, Regional Director Middle East, Cordaid

Amal Hamidallah

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 which specializes in civil society empowerment and development in the Arab world with particular focus on the Arab Gulf countries and women’s rights. Currently, she is the regional director for the Middle East at Cordaid, and 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.

Read Amal’s Keynote Speech

Fatima Sadiqi, Professor of Linguistics and Gender Studies, University of Fez, Morocco

Fatima Sadiqi

Fatima Sadiqi’s 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, 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.

Watch Fatima’s speech here:

Anat Thon, Israel

Anat Thon

Anat Thon-Ashkenazy is the former Project Director of the Civil Society 1325 Action Plan at Itach-Maaki–Women Lawyers for Social Justice. In recent years, she has acted to promote the representation of diverse women in a variety of public decision-making bodies, especially in the field of security. In this capacity, she has submitted numerous petitions to the Supreme Court, based on UN Security Council Resolution 1325 and its legislation in Israel.

Watch Anat’s speech here:

 Refugee Stories

The plight of women and children refugees in the MENA region will be a topic of discussion and learning at our Cyprus convening this summer. Dina Baslan is joining the Jordanian team and will be a presenter at the convening. She has worked with the Syrian refugees in Jordan for a long time. Here are stories about her experiences that are posted on her blog.

Read “On the Refugee Route Part 1: Choosing the Hard Way Out of the Region”
Read “On the Refugee Route Part 11: “My Younger Sister Barely Remembers Me””
Read “On the Refugee Route Part V: “Thickening Nostalgia, Shrinking Patience”

Resources from the convening:

  • Watch Maria Hadjipavlon and Magda Zenon’s panel presentation “Voices of Cypriot Women: What they do and how they do it; challenges and successes.” 

  • An interview with Ikram Ben Said in The Atlantic
  • Ellen Kennedy penned an article in MinnPost about the Convening in Cyprus

Participant Interviews with Magda Zenon, founder and host of Kaleid’HER’scope: