Tuesday, February 28, 2012 - 20:53 to Wednesday, March 7, 2012 - 20:53


What do Islamist victories across the Middle East mean for the future of
democracy and women’s rights?

Will the Arab world follow in Iran’s footsteps?

*Interviews Available With Speakers*

WHO:         Mahnaz Afkhami(Iran/USA) – Former Minister for Women's Affairs, Iran; Founder & President, Women’s Learning Partnership

Asma Khader(Jordan) – UN Special Investigator for Human Rights Abuses in Libya; Secretary General of the Jordanian National Commission for Women; Former Minister of Culture; Leading Women’s Rights & International Lawyer

Lina Abou-Habib (Lebanon) – Leading activist for Women’s Right to Nationality; Executive Director, Collective for Research & Training on Development-Action

Sawsan Gad (Egypt) – Co-founder of Harassmap, a Cairo-based anti-harassment NGO

Rabéa Naciri (Morocco)Member, National Human Rights Council of Morocco;
Co-founder, Democratic Association of Moroccan Women

Sanam Naraghi-Anderlini (Iran/ UK) Co-founder, International Civil Society Action Network

WHAT: Leading activists from the Middle Eastavailable to discuss the future of women’s rightsduring this time of political uncertainty in the wake of the Arab Spring.

Though this year saw the start of major political reforms in the region, it also included sweeping electoral victories for Islamists in countries including Egypt, Tunisia, and Morocco. In Egypt, previous reforms for women’s rights are now seen as symbolic of the old regime, and women are being excluded from the political process. As was seen in Iran, when women are not represented by whoever fills the power vacuum, women’s future rights are threatened, as is the viability of truedemocracy. 

Drawing on their significant experience advocating for women’s rights in the region andconfronting extremism at home, these leading activists will share their understanding of thethreats to and potential for women’s rights and democracy amidst the current regional instability. They will also discuss how their work to strengthen democratic values and empower women on the ground is leading to the real transformations that allow for sustainable true democracy.

Speaker Bios:

Lina Abou-Habib (Lebanon) is Executive Director of the Collective for Research and Training on Development–Action (CRTD-A), an organization that works in Lebanon and the MENA region on gender and citizenship, gender and economic rights, and women's leadership and public participation. Ms. Abou-Habib is a co-founder and coordinator of the Machreq/Maghreb Gender Linking and Information Project. She has collaborated with a number of regional and international agencies, as well as public institutions, in mainstreaming gender in development policies and practices and in building capacities for gender mainstreaming. She serves on the boards of the Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID) and Gender and Development, is a MENA advisor for the Global Fund for Women, and is on the editorial board of Oxfam’s journal, Gender and Development.

Mahnaz Afkhami (Iran/USA) is the founder and President of Women’s Learning Partnership and former Secretary General of the Women's Organization of Iran and Minister for Women's Affairs. She is Executive Director of the Foundation for Iranian Studies and serves on advisory boards for a number of national and international organizations. She has over three decades of experience working at the government and non-government levels to advance the rights of women, particularly in the Middle East. She has authored numerous publications, among them Muslim Women and the Politics of Participation, and Faith and Freedom: Women's Human Rights in the Muslim World. Among the training manuals she has co-authored are Claiming Our Rights: A Manual for Women's Human Rights Education in Muslim Societies, Safe and Secure: Eliminating Violence Against Women and Girls in Muslim Societies, Leading to Choices: A Leadership Training Handbook for Women, and Leading to Action: A Political Participation Handbook for Women.

Sawsan Gad (Egypt) is a co-founder of HarassMap. As an Egyptian suffering from repeated sexual harassment, she volunteers with the independent Harassmappers fighting sexual harassment by using GIS and crowdsourced data, to address the problem as one of community development issues. Sawsan received her M.A. in Demographic and Social Analysis from the University of California, Irvine in 2008, and is currently  based in Washington D.C. as a GIS Data Analyst.

Asma Khader (Jordan)is the foremost human rights activist in Jordan and recently served as one of three official investigators on behalf of the UN Human Rights Council’s inquiry into human rights abuses in Libya.  She is the Secretary General of the Jordanian National Commission for Women. Previously, Ms. Khader was the Minister of Culture for the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and President of the Jordanian Women’s Union.  She is a member of the Arab Organization for Human Rights and the Advisory Committee of the Women’s Division of Human Rights Watch.

Rabéa Naciri (Morocco) is a member of the National Human Rights Council of Morocco and a founding member of the Association Démocratique des Femmes du Maroc, one of the largest Moroccan NGOs focused on the rights of women. She is former Executive Director of the Collectif 95 Maghreb Egalité, a network of women’s associations and women researchers from Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia committed to preventing violence against women.  She is a noted scholar and has written extensively on Arab women and poverty, women and Islam, capacity-building for women, and strategy development for the promotion of women's rights.

Sanam Naraghi-Anderlini (Iran/ UK) is the co-founder of the International Civil Society Action Network (ICAN) and currently serves as a Senior Advisor on the UN’s Mediation Standby Team.  She is a leading international advocate, researcher, practitioner, writer and trainer on gender dimensions of peace and security. In 2000 she was among civil society drafters of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security and contributor to SCR 1820. Between 2002-2005 as Director of the Women Waging Peace Policy Commission, Ms. Anderlini led ground breaking field research on women’s contributions to conflict prevention, security and peacemaking.  Ms. Anderlini was also Lead Consultant for UNDP’s global initiative “Men and the Gendered Dimensions of Violence in Crisis Contexts.” She has served on the Advisory Board of the UN Democracy Fund (UNDEF), and the PBS documentary series on Women, War and Peace.   Her publications include Women Building Peace: What they do, why it matters, and What the Women Say; Participation and SCR 1325. Ms. Anderlini is a non-resident Fellow at Georgetown University Institute for Diplomacy and a Senior Fellow at the MIT Center for International Studies.