UNSCR 1325

Discussion Event on the 21st Anniversary of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security

Karama and the Arab Regional Network for Women, Peace and Security WPS Week High-Level Discussion

27 – 28 October 2021

Hosted by Karama Facilitated by Indai Sajor

Zoom Meeting details: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86440578519?pwd=TC9TQXo3TzJNbkhnSWJ4V0h6bFMzdz09

Meeting ID: 864 4057 8519

Passcode: 886033

Day One, Wednesday 27 October

Event

Description

Time (Cairo)

Welcome

Amneh Helweh, Regional Director, Karama

1

Keynote – Radhika Coomaraswamy

The author of the Global Study and High-Level Review of 1325 reflects on progress on the recommendations made, and areas for action. Introduced by Hibaaq Osman

2pm

2

Opening testimonies – survivors of conflict and occupation

Women who have experienced the effects of conflict describe the impact on them, and reflect on the reality of the WPS agenda on the ground

Lamis Shua’ibi- Hantouli, Chair Ms. Suzan Safar, Iraq

Mona Al Shawa, Palestine

Souad Khbia, Syria

2.20pm

3

Panel: Women’s participation in peace

Women who have participated in regional peace processes discuss their experience – 1325 is missing from the countries at war and fragile/failed states. Is there another way of doing 1325

Indai Sajor, Chair

Mouna Ghanem, Syria Amal Basha, Yemen Zahra’ Langhi, Libya

3.20pm

4

Panel: Civil society and WPS implementation

Activists provide a global perspective of the role of civil society in WPS, including campaigning for implementation of WPS, developing NAPs, and implementing them on the ground, considering lessons learned.

Hannah Bond, Chair Suzan Aref, Iraq

Amal Kreishe, Palestine

Sivananthi Thanenthiran, Malaysia Jolly Kamunty, DRC

4.20pm

5.20pm End

Day Two, Thursday 28 October

Event

Description

Time (Cairo)

1

Introduction

3pm

2

Opening testimonies – resilience

Speakers explore the resilience and success of activism and organization in the region, including activists from Sheikh Jarrah and Yemeni civil society

Amneh Helweh, Chair

Samira Budeiri, Palestine Emad Al-Garash, Yemen Marwa Salem, Libya Mohammed Mohammed, Syria

3.15pm

3

Panel: Youth, peace and security

Youth leaders discuss the YPS agenda Amani Aruri, Chair

Arez Hussein – Iraq Shirine Jurdi – Lebanon Ola Aghbari – Yemen Hajar Sherif Libya

4.15pm

4

Recommendations

Session led by Indai Sajor

5.15pm

5

Closing remarks & thanks

5.45pm

6pm End

Outline

A discussion event to mark the 21st anniversary of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security to look at the practical impact of the agenda for those affected by conflict and those living under occupation. Hosted by Karama and the Arab Regional Network for Women, Peace and Security as part of our ongoing commitment to the work of the WPSHA Compact, with contributions from activist and expert voices from Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and Europe.

Panels

Welcome

Amneh Helweh, Regional Director of Karama, where she has worked since 2007. Amneh has extensive experience of human rights and women’s rights as an activist, a trainer and practitioner, who has led work in Jordan and across the region.

Keynote

Radhika Coomaraswamy, former United Nations Under Secretary General and Special Representative on Children and Armed Conflict, Radhika was the lead author of the Global Study on the Implementation of Resolution 1325, and Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women from 1994-2003.

Panel: Women’s participation in peace

The Arab region plays host to a disproportionate amount of violent conflict, with ongoing war, occupation and countries emerging from years of conflict. This session will invite women who deal with the direct and indirect impacts of conflict in their work to discuss their experience, reflecting on the reality of 1325 two decades on.

Chair

Lamis Shua’ibi- Hantouli is a Program Director at the Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy, MIFTAH. Lamis represents Palestinian Civil Society on various issues on the regional and international levels mainly within the framework of WPS, gender equality and social justice in public policies.

Speakers

Sozan Safar, founder of Dak Organization for Ezidi Women Development. Sozan was a teacher before founding DAK in 2014. The organisation was started by volunteers and now has over 60 employees aimed at developing a peaceful, stable community dedicated to the protection of women’s rights and human dignity.

Mona al-Shawa is Director of the Women’s rights Unit at the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights in Gaza, which she has led since 2004.

Suad Khubieh is an investigative journalism, human rights activist from Syria. Suad is a member of the Human Rights Committee of the Syrian Women’s Network (Shams), Former Emeritus Member of the Board of Directors of the Human Rights Association in Syria (2004-2007)

Panel: Women’s participation in peace

Women’s participation is one of the four pillars of the WPS agenda, but it remains one of the most clearest ways in which the promise of UNSCR 1325 has not been fulfilled.

Women do not participate meaningfully in peace processes across the world with regularity or equality. In the Arab region especially, women have been marginalised in and excluded from key peace processes. In this session, women who have fought for their inclusion in peace processes discuss their experience.

Chair

Indai Sajor

Speakers

Mouna Ghanem is the founder and Coordinator of the Syrian Women’s Forum for Peace and Democracy. Mouna is a doctor who has held national and regional roles for international organizations such as UNFPA, UNIFEM, and INSTRAW. As a peace activist, Mouna served on the Women’s Advisory Board to the UN Special Envoy for Syria.

Amal Basha is the co-founder and chairwoman of Sisters Arab Forum for Human Rights (SAF) in Yemen. Amal was elected to the Yemeni National Dialogue, and served as spokesperson. She recently coordinated the work of the Yemeni NGOs CEDAW Coalition.

Zahra’ Langhi is a peace activist, gender expert, and scholar, and co-founder of the Libyan Women’s Platform for Peace. Zahra’ has recently been participating in the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum, where she blew the whistle on corruption in the process to name the interim government.

Panel: Civil society and WPS implementation

Resolution 1325 and all but one of the subsequent WPS resolutions were passed unanimously by the governments sitting the UN Security, but all to often governments have not lived up to the commitments they have made. Civil society organisations have often taken responsibility for adovating for the WPS agenda, ensuring that NAPs address local needs, and they are the first to recognize where the weaknesses are. This session will invite civil society activists who have been involved in campaigning for NAPs, developing and implementing NAPs, and monitoring their implementation explore their experience.

Chair

Hannah Bond is a deputy director of ActionAid UK, and previously served as director of Gender Action for Peace and Security (GAPS), a network of UK NGOs focused on the women, peace and security agenda, where she played a critical role in monitoring the UK’s implementation of 1325.

Speakers

Suzan Aref is a human rights activist, and the founder and director of Women Empowerment Organization based in Erbil, Kurdistan Region of Iraq. She has served as the coordinator of the Iraq Cross- Sector Task Force (CSTF) for 1325.

Amal Kreishe is a Palestinian feminist, activist and a political leader who has served as a general director of the Palestinian Working Woman Society for Development since 2006. Amal is a member of the steering committee of the Palestinian National Women Coalition to Implement the UNSCR 1325, and was a member of the drafting team of the National Action Plan for the Implementation of UNSCR1325 on Women Peace and Security in the State of Palestine 2017-1019.

Sivananthi (Siva) Thanenthiran is the Executive Director of the Asian-Pacific Resource & Research Centre for Women (ARROW), a regional partnership organization working across 15 priority countries in Asia-Pacific, and with regional organisations and networks across the global south.

Jolly Kamuntu is a journalist and women’s rights activist in South Kivu in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). She is the director of Radio Maendeleo and coordinator of the Association of Women in Media.

Panel: Opening testimonies – resilience

Through the hardships facing our region, there are many stories of people rising to meet the challenges. This panel will explore the resilience and success of activism and organization in the region, including activists from Sheikh Jarrah and Yemeni civil society. It will also explore the importance of the WPS agenda for the whole of society.

Chair

Amneh Helweh

Speakers

Samira Dajani Budeiri is a Palestinian Jerusalemite from Sheikh Jarrah. Samira worked as an Arabic teacher in several prominent Jerusalem schools from 1972 to 2003 before working as an Arabic Academic Counsellor till 2008. Samira has lived through the consecutive events of displacement of Palestinians in Sheikh Jarrah, from witnessing the eviction of 3 of the neighbourhood’s families in 2009 to facing imminent eviction in 2021 following a decades-long legal battle waged by ideological Zionist settlers against her and her neighbours.

Emad Al-Garash is the Executive Director of the Yemen Organization for Defending Democratic Rights and Freedoms. Emad is also a member of the Coordinating Committee in the MANN (‘Together’) network, a youth initiative launched in Cairo in cooperation with Karama.

Marwa Salem is a human rights defender and activist from Libya. Marwa is a leader of the feminist movement in Libya, and is a a TV anchor who works on women and youth economic empowerment and entrepreneurship.

Mohammed Mohammed is a civil society activist from Afrin in northern Syria. He has more than 6 years of experience in the field of youth organizations, projects, initiatives and activities, and has an interest in youth issues and community development, and is currently studying at the University of Barcelona.

Panel: Youth, peace and security

The demographics of the Arab region make the youth, peace and security agenda particularly important, with the majority of the region’s population under the age of 30. At the same time, young people face deep political and economic marginalistion. With so many young people in the region living under occupation, in conflict, and in fragile states, how can we ensure young people play an important and positive role in the maintenance and promotion of international peace and security?

Chair

Amani Aruri is a Palestinian activist, a member of the Global Youth Taskforce on Beijing +25 and a member of the Generation Equality Compact on Women, Peace and Security and Humanitarian Action.

Speakers

Ola Alaghbary is a Yemeni social entrepreneur whose work is focused on empowering young people and women to make a positive change in their societies. Ola is the founder and CEO of the Sheba Youth Foundation for Development and Peace, and the focal point of Youth Platform of Peace (A National Youth-led Coalition for Peacebuilding in Yemen).

Shirine Jurdi spearheaded the establishment of the MENA Coalition on Youth, Peace and Security; and establishment of a Network of women and conventional weapons in MENA. Shirine works to localize global agendas such as Women, Peace and Security, Youth, Peace and Security, the 2030 Agenda on sustaining peace, Responsibility to protect, and Small Arms and Light Weapons (UNPOA and ATT).

Arez Hussen is an Iraqi activist and researcher whose work on YPS/WPS centers around changing policies and procedures, enhancing the capacity of local entities (CSOs and Government), and working directly with the target group (Prisoners, Minorities, and Workers).

Full participant bios

Facilitator

Indai Sajor is currently a Senior IASC Gender Humanitarian Advisor. She has over twenty-five years of experience working in countries in situations of war, armed conflicts and natural disasters in Asia Pacific, Africa and the Middle East. She worked with the UN Peacekeeping Operations in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) as human rights officer and in 2004 was awarded the Rockefeller Fellow on Human Security at the City University of New York and the Dame Nita Barrow award by the University of Toronto. She served as co-convener of the internationally recognized Women’s International War Crimes Tribunal on Japan’s Military Sexual Slavery, an international law landmark initiative that recognized sexual slavery as a crime against humanity. She was a Visiting Professor at the UN University for Peace in Costa Rica teaching Gender and Peacebuilding. She worked as senior advisor on gender, humanitarian, social development, human rights, and conflict prevention management at the global, regional, and country levels.

Chairs and Speakers

Amneh Helweh is Karama’s Regional Director and has been a Human Rights Activist since 1990. She Joined Karama in 2007 as Country Coordinator for Jordan. Prior to joining Karama, Amneh worked for thirteen years in many positions: at Sisterhood Global Institute (SIGI) as Programs and Events Coordinator; at the Arab Women organization as Coordinator of the “Supporting Women in Municipal Councils” project; freelance trainer on citizenship rights and women’s human rights; and writing parallel reports (shadow report) for CEDAW and UPR. Amneh was the president of Jordanian Women’s Union (Amman Branch) 1994-1995. She is also member of several NGOs working on women’s issues in Jordan.

Radhika Coomaraswamy formerly served as United Nations Under Secretary General and Special Representative on Children and Armed Conflict. She was the lead author of the Global Study on the Implementation of Resolution 1325 published in 2015 and was the Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women from 1994-2003. In Sri Lanka she was the Chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission from 2003-2006. She began her life as an academic at the International Centre for Ethnic Studies in Colombo and has also taught at the New York University School Of Law in New York.

Lamis Shua’ibi- Hantouli is a Program Director at the Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy- MIFTAH. She is a Palestinian women activist and human rights defender, and an active member in several coalitions, national committees and forums and regional networks. Ms. Hantouli holds a master’s degree in Democracy and Human Rights. She represents Palestinian Civil Society in different occasions on the regional and international levels mainly within the framework of WPS, gender equality and social justice in public policies. She developed her career in principle to Human rights, social justice and gender equality through being engaged actively in different active Civil Society organizations, national and international organizations to enhance principles of democracy and good governance and to promote the political inclusiveness and participation within the Palestinian society as a contribution in the state building. She continues to advocate for amplifying Palestinian women’s call internationally to end the Israeli occupation and to hold the perpetrators accountable for the committed HR violations and crimes against humanity.

Sozan Safar is the founder of Dak Organization for Ezidi Women Development, based in Shariya, Duhok, Iraq. After graduating from the department of Computer and Mathematics Science at the University of Mosul, Sozan worked as a school teacher, and would go on to write on women’s rights and violence against women for several magazines and newspapers, as well as presenting on a TV program. Founded in August 2014, Dak NGO emerged as an idea from a group of volunteers, becoming an official local NGO which has more than 60 employees. Its vision is developing a peaceful, stable community dedicated to the protection of women’s rights and human dignity.

Mona al-Shawa is Director of the Women’s rights Unit at the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights in Gaza, which she has led since 2004. Mona graduated from Birzeit University in Sociology and started her career in PCHR as a researcher in 1997. In 1998, she became the coordinator of the Women’s Unit. She leads all activities and conducts training sessions on human rights, women’s rights and gender. Mona is also a member of PCHR’s General Assembly of shareholders.

Suad Khubieh is an investigative journalism, human rights activist. Suad is a member of the Human Rights Committee of the Syrian Women’s Network (Shams), Former Emeritus Member of the Board of Directors of the Human Rights Association in Syria (2004-2007), founder and member of the Syria Gathering and the Committee to Support Women’s Issues in Syria 2005-2008). She held the position of board member and member of the Transparency Commission, and was elected for three consecutive terms in the Journalists Association Syrians. Suad is currently politically active with the Syrians Bloc Member of the Board of Directors (a secular democratic political grouping based on the principle of gathering Syrians on the principle of citizenship, human rights and non-violence), and a member of the executive body of the Syrian National Democratic Front (Jude), participating in many conferences Concerning women, human rights, and the Syrian situation (a space for cooperation specializing in supporting Syrian women to reach decision-making positions), the Conference of Refugees and Displaced Persons in the Arab Region, Reality and the Future (Cairo) The We Are All Syrians Conference, the Constitutive Conference of the Union Syrian Democrats and others, researcher and publisher of human rights issues in the Arab region and Syria, participating in a large number of workshops and training courses, and holding a human rights trainer certificate from the Arab Institute for Human Rights in Tunisia and a TOT certificate from the Arab Women’s Organization in Cairo. Suad has an MA in human rights and nonviolence from the Academic University of Nonviolence and Human Rights (AUNOHR), Bachelor of Arts in Arabic Language Department

Mouna Ghanem is the founder and Coordinator of the Syrian Women’s Forum for Peace and Democracy. She is a senior gender advisor with extensive experience in the Arab region, having worked for over a decade as the Deputy Representative for UNFPA in Syria and chairing the Syrian Commission for Family Affairs. Mouna also served as the Regional Director for the United Nation Fund for Women (UNIFEM) in Jordan, Amman and as Deputy Chair- person for the United Nations International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (INSTRAW) in New York. Mouna trained as a medical doctor, and holds a diploma in Public Health from the World Health Organization, and a Master’s of Public Health from Johns Hopkins University.

Zahra’ Langhi is a peace activist, gender expert, and scholar. Her research interests gender, mediation, peace- building, conflict resolution, reconciliation, and religion. Zahra’ has contributed significantly to the body of research and literature on the Libyan Transition and peace building in Libya. Zahra’ is the co-founder and CEO of the Libyan Women’s Platform for Peace (LWPP), a socio-political movement focused on peacebuilding, inclusivity and gender equality. Langhi is a member of the legal committee at the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum. She has participated in the formal peace ne- gotiations and the political dialogue in Libya since 2013. She is also a former UN diplomat with a wide experience on women, peace and security in the Arab region. In 2012, Zahra’ gave a TED Talk entitled “Why the Libyan Revolution Failed and What Might Work’. In recognition of her efforts, in 2014, The Guardian recognized Zahra as one of ‘Seven Women to Watch in Global Politics’. In 2016, In 2016, Zahra Langhi was named one of the 23 inspiring women fighting for women by the Charter of compassion led by academic scholar Karen Armstrong. In 2016 also, Salt Magazine ranked Zahra’ 26th on a list of 100 inspiring women working for the empowerment of women and peacebuilding. In 2018, The Rockefeller Foundation named Zahra’ one of five women leaders introducing transformative change around the world. In 2020 Zahra’ Langhi was nominated by ATHENA40 the first global selection of the top 40 most forward thinking women who create positive change in their societies and industries and also support other women and girls to thrive. She was nominated as a role model in peacemaking.

Amal Basha is a prominent Yemeni, development practitioner, gender & WPS expert from Yemen, co-founded chairwoman of “Sisters Arab Forum for Human Rights (SAF)”, a leading women rights advocacy organizations. Amal served as the official spokesperson of the National Dialogue Conference. She worked for numerous UN agencies including UNDP, EU, ICRC, UNIFEM, UN Women. Amal served as the MENA Coordinator for Coalition of the International Criminal Court (CICC). Ms. Basha holds both License of Law, Bachelor in Political Science from the American University in Cairo (AUC) and Master’s in Gender and Development from IDS, the University of Sussex in the UK. Amal has received several awards, at national, regional and international levels. In 2017, the University of Toronto conferred her an Honorary PhD Law Degree, as one of global human rights leader and she was the laurate of “The Arab Woman of the Year 2014 Award”, from Roberto Karam Foundation in Marrakesh, Morocco. As well, she received the Shield of Al-Sa’eed Foundation for Science and Culture as “The Person of the Year in 2008” in Yemen for her contribution to the community development work and activism.

Hannah Bond is a deputy director at ActionAid UK, and former director of Gender Action for Peace and Security (GAPS), a network of development, human rights, humanitarian and peacebuilding NGOs in the United Kingdom. GAPS promotes, facilitates and monitors the meaningful inclusion of gender in all aspects of policy and practice on peace and security. Hannah has worked with civil society organizations and government in the UK and Global South. In the early stages of her career, Hannah worked for the UK Women’s National Commission, focusing on Violence against Women and Girls. She has since worked for humanitarian and development NGOs in the UK and Global South and for the British Embassy in Addis Ababa where she worked in Ethiopia, Djibouti and Somaliland. Hannah lived and worked for six years in Ethiopia, where she specialized in conflict, gender, human rights, community-based development, humanitarian programming and economic empowerment. Hannah focused on conflict and women and girls’ rights in her Master’s degree at King’s College London.

Suzan Aref is a human rights activist. She is the founder and director of Women Empowerment Organization since 2004, she was the coordinator of the Iraq Cross- Sector Task Force (CSTF) 1325. Since 2012, She has been playing a leading role to ensure a robust partnership between CSOs and both governments of Iraq and Kurdistan in developing the Iraqi national action plan 1325 which was adopted by both governments in 2014.

Suzan is coordinating a large alliance of civil society (Alliance to support the implementation of UNSCR1325) Suzan was one of the peer reviewers of a guideline study (Guidance for practitioners in Iraq-International protocol on the documentation and investigation of sexual violence in conflict). In August 2018, Suzan represented the Iraqi CSTF 1325 at the UN Security Council and presented the great achievements and implementation of NAP 1325 for the WPS agenda. She highlighted the partnership of government and civil society, which is a distinctive model in the region. She has also worked with the European Union in 2018 as a gender expert on a report on gender analysis in Iraq on the situation of women in Iraq in terms of political and economic participation. She has Worked as a Consultant with UNODC in 2019 on a research study titled “Strengthening the Capacity of Women Professionals Working in the Counter-Terrorism Sector in Iraq” Suzan Aref consolidates efforts and promotes participatory action among government institutions, local organizations, international organizations, embassies, and UN agencies on supporting women’s peace security agenda.

Amal Kreishe is a Palestinian feminist, activist and a political leader who has served as a general director of the Palestinian Working Woman Society for Development since 2006. PWWSD is a feminist, national, and development organization that focuses on women’s empowerment in private and public life. Mrs. Khreishe has led many campaigns to advance women’s roles in society, including the first program in Palestine to support violated women. Amal Khreishe is a member of the steering committee of the Palestinian National Women Coalition to Implement the UNSCR 1325, and she was a member of the drafting team of the National Action Plan for the Implementation of UNSCR1325 on Women Peace and Security in the State of Palestine 2017-1019 that is headed by the Ministry of Women Affairs. She is also a gender expert in the EU for the EURO-MED Ministerial Process that have geared by the Euro-med Feminist Initiative. She has experience in training on gender equality, human resources development, advocacy and lobbying and interpersonal and leader- ship skills, locally and regionally.

Sivananthi Thanenthiran is currently the Executive Director of the Asian-Pacific Resource & Research Centre for Women (ARROW), a regional partnership organization which is working across 15 priority countries in Asia- Pacific, and with regional organisations and networks across the global south. Under Siva’s leadership, the organization’s working partnerships have expanded to 17 countries in the region as well as regional and global networks and organisations. She occasionally writes for local newspapers on issues that she thinks are of crucial importance in her country and views this as her contribution to the society in which she lives.

Jolly Kamuntu is a journalist and women’s rights activist in South Kivu in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). She is the director of Radio Maendeleo and coordinator of the Association of Women in Media. As a journalist she has shared the experiences of both women and men who have participated in armed conflicts or have been affected by violence. Ms. Kamuntu brings glaring cases of injustice to the forefront, and has attracted to daily threats against her life as a result. She continues to advocate for empowerment of communities through freedom of the press, supporting the creation of Radio Clubs and empowerment of women and men and their village communities. Rural people familiar with her work feel encouraged to express their opinion on issues like peace, local governance, or on local organizations. Ms. Kamuntu has defied stereotypes of women in South Kivu, and for her courage, she was awarded a Harabuntu Award in 2012, for giving hope to the development of the African continent.

Samira Dajani Budeiri is a Palestinian Jerusalemite from Sheikh Jarrah; a devoted wife, mother, and grandmother; and a passionate educator. After graduating from Dar El Tifel school in Jerusalem and finalising the mandatory 2-year advanced Arabic Language course in the Government Teachers House, Samira continued her advanced studies in Arabic Language and Literature in Beirut Arab University (BAU) from which she graduated in 1971. She worked as an Arabic teacher in several prominent Jerusalem schools from 1972 to 2003 before working as an Arabic Academic Counsellor till 2008. Samira has also taught Arabic as a second language at different levels for the past 14 years giving private lessons to hundreds of foreign nationals from different diplomatic missions, NGOs and public and private sector companies and institutions in Jerusalem supporting some all the way till their master’s and PhD degrees. Samira has lived through the consecutive events of displacement of Palestinians in Sheikh Jarrah, from witnessing the eviction of 3 of the neighbourhood’s families in 2009 to facing imminent eviction in 2021 following a decades-long legal battle waged by ideological Zionist settlers against her and her neighbours.

Emad Al-Garash is the Executive Director of the Yemen Organization for Defending Democratic Rights and Freedoms. He is a member of the coordinating committee of the Yemeni Network for Human Rights, a network established between seven Yemeni organizations in cooperation with the Danish Institute. He is also a member of the Coordinating Committee in the MANN (‘Together’) network, a youth initiative launched in Cairo in cooperation with Karama. Emad holds a BA in Journalism.

Mohammed Mohammed is a civil society activist from Afrin in northern Syria, currently studying Conflict Mediation at the University of Barcelona on a scholarship provided by Erasmus Plus and Solidarity Foundation. Mohammed has more than 6 years of experience in the field of youth organizations, projects, initiatives and activities, and has an interest in youth issues and community development. He is active in peaceful coexistence and social cohesion in the field of peace studies and conflict resolution. Mohammed holds a bachelor’s degree in Social Sciences from the University of Duhok, a scholarship provided by the Dutch SPARK organization that supports Syrian education in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.

Amani Aruri has built her skills in the field of the analysis of economic policies, strategic planning, project management, and advocacy through her university study and years of experience to advance economic well- being, social justice, human rights, and peace and security agendas in Palestine and the region. Being results driven, Amani has utilized her skills in managing innovative programs that serve marginalized groups es- pecially youth and women. She is currently a member of Global Youth Taskforce on Beijing +25 and A member of the Generation Equality Compact on Women, Peace and Security and Humanitarian Action. Through her work and activism, Amani has been working on improving the lives of youth and women in Palestine and the Arab region by advancing gender equality, and empowering women and girls to participate in the social, economic, and political life. Amani has hands – on experience on raising awareness and gaining community support on a certain initiative while building supporting networks and coalitions, with a special focus on gender issues. Her experiences in conflict affected countries like Palestine led her to see the need to better engage more young people especially females as peacebuilders in order to prevent and break cycles of violence, and to contribute to the peace process on the national and international levels.

Ola Alaghbary is a Yemeni social entrepreneur. She is the Founder and CEO of the Sheba Youth Foundation for Development and Peace. Ola is the focal point of Youth Platform of Peace (A National Youth-led Coalition for Peacebuilding in Yemen). Her main concern is to empower young people and women to make a positive change in their societies. She started her social and civic work since 2011, when she established many volunteering and social initiatives, and that qualified her at the age of 19, to be the youngest speaker at the first TEDx event in her city “TEDx Taiz”, where she talked about the importance of civil work and youth initiatives in building peace and enhance development efforts. In 2013 she was chosen as one of the influential women in Yemen by National Democratic Institute (NDI). A graduate of the Faculty of Law, University of Taiz, in 2016 she graduated from the program of develop the capabilities of young consultants in civil society

Shirine Jurdi has almost 20 years of experience working in the field of peacebuilding and conflict prevention. As per her work at the Permanent Peace Movement and as the GPPAC MENA Regional Liaison Officer, she spearheaded the establishment of the MENA Coalition on Youth, Peace and Security; and establishment of a Network of women and conventional weapons in MENA. Currently, she builds community work through establishing an Early Warning Early Response system in the MENA region. She is a strong believer in cross- regional exchange and the concept of human security. She works to advance more locally informed decision making on the national, regional and global level. Shirine works to localize global agendas such as Women, Peace and Security, Youth, Peace and Security, the 2030 Agenda on sustaining peace, Responsibility to protect, and Small Arms and Light Weapons (UNPOA and ATT). Since 2003, Shirine is a member of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) Lebanon; currently is the team leader for the Stop Killer Robots Campaign in her section, and acts as the MENA Regional Representative in the International Board (2018-2022). She is also a member of the Control Arms coalition representing MENA. In 2019, Shirine was awarded the International Young Women’s Peace and Human Rights Award from Democracy. Shirine  holds an ABD in Peace and Conflict Studies from Tokyo University of Foreign Studies.

Arez Hussen is an Iraqi activist and researcher with more than 10 years of experience in humanitarian, women’s rights, and media sector and has two MA degrees in Gender, Violence, and Conflict and Middle Eastern Studies. He oversees the Democracy and Human Rights Program at Norwegian People’s Aid in Iraq, and he is also the Director of Middle East Operations at Global Medical (Formerly Peace Possible) in Phoenix, USA. He is a member of the UN Women’s Gender Innovation Agora team. He was previously the Acting Director at Asuda Organization for combating violence against women in Iraq. His work on YPS/WPS centers around changing policies and procedures, enhancing the capacity of local entities (CSOs and Government), and working directly with the target group (Prisoners, Minorities, and Workers).