Amat Al Alim Al Soswa has dedicated her professional life to promoting democracy, human rights and good governance in her home country Yemen and in the wider Arab region. Amat is a Yemeni leader, activist, feminist and international diplomat. We talk with her about the future of Yemen, the role of women in this future, and why the international community does not recognize this role, despite its promises to involve women in peace processes.
In 2000, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 1325. This resolution recognizes for the first time the important role of women in preventing and resolving conflicts. Although this resolution has received broad support from the international community, real progress has not been made. The participation of women in peace processes is still very limited. Also in Yemen.
Amat Al Alim Al Soswa therefore holds up a mirror to the international community and discusses what needs to change to make peace processes inclusive for women. How do stereotypes and misconceptions about Yemeni women still influence international politics and policy-making? What has she learned from her international and national experience when it comes to bridging different worlds? And what should future leaders, peace workers and international policy-makers do differently when it comes to involving women in peace processes?
About the speakers
- Amat Al Alim Al Soswa has a long and distinguished record of service in key ministerial, diplomatic, civil and human rights posts in Yemen. After the Beijing Women’s Conference in 1995, she was assigned to implement the recommendations in Yemen and became head of the Women’s National Committee (WNC). Subsequently, she was appointed Yemen’s first female ambassador to the Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden, based in The Hague. In 2003, Al Soswa was appointed as the first female minister for human rights in Yemen. The UN Secretary General appointed her in 2006 as UN Assistant Secretary General, Assistant Administrator of the UN Development Program and Director of UNDP / RBAS (Regional Bureau of Arab States). She returned to Yemen in 2012. In 2018, Al Soswa was invited by the UN Special Envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, to join his Yemeni Women’s Advisory Group. She currently works as a consultant for UN organizations and the World Bank. Al Soswa publishes and gives lectures regularly and has received numerous awards.
- Marina de Regt is a university teacher at the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology at VU University Amsterdam. She has been involved with Yemen since the early 1990s, first working in development projects and later as a researcher in the field of gender and development. She is affiliated with the Greater Middle East Platform and YOWP (the Yemeni Organization for Women’s Policies).
- Joke Buringa moderates this programme. She is an anthropologist and worked on various projects in Yemen in the 1980s. Between 1997 – 2002, she worked as a gender specialist at the Dutch embassy in Sana’a. She then remained involved with Yemen in various positions at the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Recently, she started working as an independent researcher.
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