Our History

Forward Global Women is a nonprofit organization that Sandy Pappas, Rula Quawas, and Rina Bar Tal founded in 2011 to convene and train women leaders from the Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) countries and the US. Sandy, Rula, and Rina believe that Forward Global Women can contribute to world peace and it can be achieved by bringing together political and civic women leaders from nations that are often at war with each other.


Senator Sandy Pappas, Minnesota State Senate

Rina Bar Tal, Former chair, Israel Women’s Network 

Rula Quawas, University of Jordan

(Feb. 25, 1960 – July 25, 2017)

Senator Sandy Pappas was first elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives in 1984. From 2013-2016 she was elected by her fellow members to serve as the body’s President. Senator Pappas is a graduate of Metropolitan State University and holds a Master’s in Public Administration from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. 


Throughout her legislative career, Senator Pappas has been an out-spoken and long-standing advocate for human rights. Over the years, she has passed legislation to prohibit the international trafficking of persons, to curtail investment of state funds in the Darfur region of Sudan, to allow children of undocumented residents to attend Minnesota state colleges at the lower resident rate (MN Dream Act) and to close the loopholes allowing child marriage. She also championed lifting the statute of limitations on sexual assault.


In addition to her legislative duties, Senator Pappas is the founder and Executive Director of Forward Global Women (FGW). She also serves on the board as secretary for the National Association of Jewish Legislators.

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 in 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.

Rula Quawas recieved her Ph.D. in American Literature from the University of North Texas. As a professor at the University of Jordan in the American Literature department, she introduced feminist courses to the department, while teaching American and Arab feminism. 


Quawas was the founding Director of the Women’s Studies Center at the University of Jordan, and founded the Production Unit at the Jordanian National Commission for Women. Quawas was also the Dean of the Faculty of Foreign Languages at the University of Jordan. Quawas’ research has focused on feminist readings of American and Arabic texts written by women. She has co-authored three English Language textbooks and served on many editorial boards. She was honored as a distinguished international scholar in the USA, awarded the Meritorious Honor Award for Leadership and Dedication, and was nominated for the International Women of Courage Award.


In July of 2017 Forward Global Women suffered the loss of our co-founder, inspiration and sister Rula Quawas.

(Institutions listed are for identification only. No endorsement is intended.)

"I have a large family in Israel. Peace in the Middle East is personal to me. And women are vital to achieve a lasting peace"

Sandy Pappas

"Supporting women to take active roles in leadership positions will enable them to change the dialogue and bring new winds of hope to our communities"

Rina Bar Tal

"A key component for supporting peace and democracy is increasing women's participation in peace and reconciliation negotiations as well as developing and supporting women's leadership abilities"

Rula Quawas

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