While many Syrians are still struggling with horrors, occupation and ongoing displacement, some Syrian refugees have also started returning. But to what country and future to they return? Five Syrian women from a range of backgrounds, all fighting for journalists and civil society to be heard, are in The Hague to talk about the state of their country and the position of women in it.
Did Assad win? Is it really safe enough to go back as some media say? What should be the Dutch position in the rebuilding of their country and how can Dutch policy makers and NGO’s best support female activists? The women who lived under IS rule, regime rule and outside Syria the last few years share their stories and opinions and show short films on women activism in Syria. All of them suffered oppression but are still working to build a better Syria through a variety of civil society initiatives.
About the speakers
- Nairouz Al Zoubi is from Daraa and worked as an English teacher for 14 years. She has works with the Women Now organization managing an empowerment program working with women from Ghouta, Idlib and Daraa. She has been selected to attend a workshop in Germany to talk about women struggle for justice and gender equity.
- Rania Ali was raised in Raqqa and fled to Kobani, her family’s hometown, after ISIS took over the city. When the terrorist group then laid siege to Kobani, she fled to Turkey, and eventually arrived in Austria, where she resides today. Rania helped create a documentary film on her journey, which was published on the website of The Guardian.
- Heba Al-Mohamad is also from Raqqa, where she lived for over a year under IS-control. She is currently a field coordinator in Raqqa Governorate for Euphrates, a Syrian NGO. Heba studied medicine at the University of Aleppo, though she was forced to leave in her fourth year after being detained by the regime due to her activism.
- Judy Bolous is a journalist based in Damascus, where she works for local media outlets. She has been arrested by the regime twice. She previously attended a Dutch-funded IWPR training, and she now contributes to IWPR’s Liberated T campaign.
- Zaina Erhaim is a Syrian journalist who received multiple awards and was proclaimed one of the hundred most powerful Arab women by Arabian Business and Unsung Heroes. The past five years she has worked as Syrian project coordinator for IWPR, for which she trained more than 100 media activists.
- Moderator is Petra Stienen (former human rights diplomat at the Netherlands Embassies in Egypt and Syria, independent advisor and author in the field of democracy, diplomacy, diversity and women rights)
About this program
This event is initiated by IWPR and Humanity house and part of a tour organized by the IWPR and funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. For the past ten years IWPR has helped amplify the voices of women throughout Syria. The organization provides training, equipment, mentorship and small grants to civil society organizations and individuals who strive for a tolerant, democratic Syria.
For more on it’s work in Syria: Syria Stories
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