V-Day's Karama Program Presents Three Panels at the Tenth International AWID Forum for Women's Rights and Development
V-Day's Karama Program, an initiative to supply training, funding, and ongoing support to diverse women's networks working to end violence against women and girls in the Middle East and North Africa, presented three panels at the 10th AWID International Forum for Women's Rights and Development in Bangkok, October 27-30. The International Forum on Women's Rights and Development is the largest recurring event of its kind, bringing together women's rights leaders and activists from around the world every three years to strategize, network, celebrate, and learn in a highly charged atmosphere that fosters deep discussions and sustained personal and professional growth. During the four days of the conference, V-Day Special Representative and Karama Chair Hibaaq Osman was joined by world-renown women's rights activists from Iraq, Palestine, Sudan, Jordan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Syria, Algeria, Lebanon, and Egypt to discuss diverse topics pertaining to women's rights in the Middle East and North Africa.
The panel topics included:
Challenging Occupation in the Middle East and North Africa. Women activists from Iraq, Palestine, Jordan, Sudan, Lebanon, and a Palestinian citizen in Israel presented how they take up the fight to protect their public and personal sovereignty. Maya Alrahabi of Syria, an activist and founder of several unregistered organizations and who is currently leading a campaign against 'honor' crimes, facilitated the panel. The other speakers gave insight in to the emerging strategies used by women to face both occupation and gender-based opposition:
Wartime Women Activists Transforming Peace Processes. Women activists from Iraq, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Algeria, and Sudan described how they have amplified women's roles in creating human security, battled for social and political rights, and confronted conservative backlash during the reformation of their war-torn society. Facilitated by V-Day's own Hibaaq Osman, the session heard a special comment from Mazari Safa, Afghanistan's Deputy Minister for Women's Affairs. Featured panelists gave vivid examples of women's roles in peacebuilding that are both personal and political:
The Trans-Regional Violence Against Women Meeting: Middle East and North Africa (V-Day), Central Asia and Eastern Europe (OSI). V-Day was joined by the Open Society Institute (OSI) in a meeting that aimed at beginning a mutual discussion to share strategies, strengthen networks, and create linkages between women from the Arab Region/Middle East and the OSI network partners in Central Asia and the Caucuses.
Selected speakers shared their different experiences in fighting violence against women from different levels, including the policy level, their challenges and any invisible or ignored issue. Q & A discussion followed after each presentation.
The Association for Women's Rights in Development is an international membership organization that connects, informs, and mobilizes people and institutions committed to achieving gender equality, sustainable development, and women's human rights.
AWID's goal is to bring about individual, institutional and policy changes that will improve the lives of women and girls everywhere. AWID achieves this goal by facilitating ongoing debates on fundamental and provocative issues as well as by building the individual and organizational capacities of those working for women's empowerment and social justice.
V-Day is a global movement to end violence against women and girls that raises funds and awareness through benefit productions of Playwright/Founder Eve Ensler's award-winning play “The Vagina Monologues.” In 2005, more than 2500 V-Day events took place in the U.S. and around the world. To date, V-Day has raised over $30 million and educated millions about the issue of violence against women and the efforts to end it, crafted international educational, media and PSA campaigns, reopened shelters, and funded over 5000 community-based anti-violence programs and safe houses in Kenya, South Dakota, Egypt and Iraq. The 'V' in V-Day stands for Victory, Valentine and Vagina.