Call for Abstracts: Gender, Violence and Displacement

13 09 2016

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Middle East Gender Forum, 7-8 April 2017, Iraqi Kurdistan Region, University of Sulaimani 

Recent wars, conflicts and human rights abuses have forced millions of people to flee their homes and move within or across boundaries. According to the United Nations Population Fund, the world is currently facing the worst refugee and forced displacement crisis since the Second World War. In the last decade, the Middle East has shown important geopolitical changes that has repercussion not only on people in the region, but on Europe and the Western world in general. Following the Iraq and Syria crisis highlighted by the Syrian civil war and the emergence of the ISIL, in Syria alone, millions of people have left their homes, become internally displaced or moved to neighbouring countries. While some of the displaced people are desperately trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea with disastrous consequences, many have been put in camps in Turkey, Iraqi Kurdistan, Jordan and Lebanon. Iraqi Kurdistan, despite its small territory, has received and absorbed a disproportionate number of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDP); KRG officials talk about 2 million refugees and IDPs currently living in refugee camps or non-camps settlements in the three governorates of Duhok, Erbil and Sulaimani.

The process of displacement have affected people in many ways; in addition to losing their homes, the displacement process has caused the breakdown of peoples’ social structures, shifted gender roles as well as the representation of masculinity with great impact on gender relations. According to UN agencies and international aid providers the prevalence of gender-based violence has sharply increased during displacement and emergency crisis [UNFPA]. In the refugee camps, the new unfamiliar living environments and requirements have challenged the traditional gender relations, old ties and social norms making women vulnerable to violence and discrimination. In Iraqi Kurdistan Region women and girls during their displacement and in- camps settlements have experienced many forms of gender-based violence, including domestic violence, honour-based violence along with different forms of sexual violence. The displaced populations in the region are not a homogenous group; they include different religious and ethnic groups, including Kurdish Yezidis, Christians, Turkmens, and Sunni Arabs. With their different historical background and the process of their displacement, each of these communities has been subjected to different experiences with great impact on gender relations. Following the ISIL attack on the Sinjar region, August 2014, thousands of Yezidi women have been kidnapped by jihadists and subjected to sexual and gender-based violence; those who fled their jailors or ransomed off by local authorities, have confirmed systematic rape, forced prostitution, child and forced marriage and sex slavery. The challenges, vulnerabilities and different forms of violence facing displaced women, have implications for policy makers within host countries as well as inside international aid and official development organisations. What is more, vulnerable and frustrated migrant and displaced men and women in different European countries have been affected by the propagandas of the ISIL and travelled thousands of miles to join the ‘terrorist group’.

The first Middle East Gender Forum (MEGF) will address different shifted boundaries within displaced and migrant communities, focusing on gender relations, new challenges facing women as well as the position and representation of men during the displacement and settlement processes. What are women’s experiences of gender-based violence and the consequences resulted? How do migration, the breakdown of social structures and old ties impact young men’s lives and their perception of identity and masculinity? Preliminary researches by the CGVR demonstrate that young men have found religion as the best way to get respected and to reconstructtheir“shatteredidentity”.1 Howcouldmen’sfrustration,theirpotentialandstrategic interests be addressed before they are deviated and turned into violence? And finally, what are the best responses different national and international agents should provide to help migrant and displaced women and men, address their frustration, easing their pain and their suffering that could lead to reducing violence. This first Middle East Gender Forum will create a platform for debate and deep analysis, bringing together a diverse group of scholars, activists, civil society representatives and policy makers within host countries as well as inside international aid and official development organisations. During two days of reflection, debate and exchange of ideas and experiences, the MEGF will look at the intersectional causes of displacement, gendered violence and extremism with the aim to learn, understand and gain an insight into the complexity of the displacement process and politics of belonging and social as well as political inequalities.

We invite submissions and expression of interest in participation from scholars, civil society representatives, women’s rights activists as well as international policy makers. The Forum focuses on specific themes, including:

  •   Gender-based violence, conflict and displacement
  •   Gender relations, boundaries and politics of belonging
  •   Gender narratives within displaced communities and men’s positioning
  •   Justice and empowerment mechanisms
  •   Transnational terrorism

    The Forum is organised by the Centre for Gender and Violence Research, University of Bristol; the Gender and Violence Studies Centre, University of Sulaimani and the Gelawêj Cultural Centre, Iraqi Kurdistan. It will be convened on 7-8 April 2017 in Iraqi Kurdistan Region, the University of Sulaimani. Accommodation and subsistence will be provided by the organisers. A modest travel assistance will be available for those who cannot obtain funds within their organisation/academic institutions.

    Abstracts of no more than 500 words should be submitted before 15 October 2016 to Dr Nazand Begikhani and Dr Emma Williamson, University of Bristol.

    Email: nazand.begikhani@bristol.ac.uk





Call for Abstracts: Gender, Violence and Displacement

8 09 2016

emblem_of_university_of_sulaimaniMiddle East Gender Forum, 7-8 April 2017, Iraqi Kurdistan Region, University of Sulaimani 

Recent wars, conflicts and human rights abuses have forced millions of people to flee their homes and move within or across boundaries. According to the United Nations Population Fund, the world is currently facing the worst refugee and forced displacement crisis since the Second World War. In the last decade, the Middle East has shown important geopolitical changes that has repercussion not only on people in the region, but on Europe and the Western world in general. Following the Iraq and Syria crisis highlighted by the Syrian civil war and the emergence of the ISIL, in Syria alone, millions of people have left their homes, become internally displaced or moved to neighbouring countries. While some of the displaced people are desperately trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea with disastrous consequences, many have been put in camps in Turkey, Iraqi Kurdistan, Jordan and Lebanon. Iraqi Kurdistan, despite its small territory, has received and absorbed a disproportionate number of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDP); KRG officials talk about 2 million refugees and IDPs currently living in refugee camps or non-camps settlements in the three governorates of Duhok, Erbil and Sulaimani.

The process of displacement have affected people in many ways; in addition to losing their homes, the displacement process has caused the breakdown of peoples’ social structures, shifted gender roles as well as the representation of masculinity with great impact on gender relations. According to UN agencies and international aid providers the prevalence of gender-based violence has sharply increased during displacement and emergency crisis [UNFPA]. In the refugee camps, the new unfamiliar living environments and requirements have challenged the traditional gender relations, old ties and social norms making women vulnerable to violence and discrimination. In Iraqi Kurdistan Region women and girls during their displacement and in- camps settlements have experienced many forms of gender-based violence, including domestic violence, honour-based violence along with different forms of sexual violence. The displaced populations in the region are not a homogenous group; they include different religious and ethnic groups, including Kurdish Yezidis, Christians, Turkmens, and Sunni Arabs. With their different historical background and the process of their displacement, each of these communities has been subjected to different experiences with great impact on gender relations. Following the ISIL attack on the Sinjar region, August 2014, thousands of Yezidi women have been kidnapped by jihadists and subjected to sexual and gender-based violence; those who fled their jailors or ransomed off by local authorities, have confirmed systematic rape, forced prostitution, child and forced marriage and sex slavery. The challenges, vulnerabilities and different forms of violence facing displaced women, have implications for policy makers within host countries as well as inside international aid and official development organisations. What is more, vulnerable and frustrated migrant and displaced men and women in different European countries have been affected by the propagandas of the ISIL and travelled thousands of miles to join the ‘terrorist group’.

The first Middle East Gender Forum (MEGF) will address different shifted boundaries within displaced and migrant communities, focusing on gender relations, new challenges facing women as well as the position and representation of men during the displacement and settlement processes. What are women’s experiences of gender-based violence and the consequences resulted? How do migration, the breakdown of social structures and old ties impact young men’s lives and their perception of identity and masculinity? Preliminary researches by the CGVR demonstrate that young men have found religion as the best way to get respected and to reconstructtheir“shatteredidentity”.1 Howcouldmen’sfrustration,theirpotentialandstrategic interests be addressed before they are deviated and turned into violence? And finally, what are the best responses different national and international agents should provide to help migrant and displaced women and men, address their frustration, easing their pain and their suffering that could lead to reducing violence. This first Middle East Gender Forum will create a platform for debate and deep analysis, bringing together a diverse group of scholars, activists, civil society representatives and policy makers within host countries as well as inside international aid and official development organisations. During two days of reflection, debate and exchange of ideas and experiences, the MEGF will look at the intersectional causes of displacement, gendered violence and extremism with the aim to learn, understand and gain an insight into the complexity of the displacement process and politics of belonging and social as well as political inequalities.

We invite submissions and expression of interest in participation from scholars, civil society representatives, women’s rights activists as well as international policy makers. The Forum focuses on specific themes, including:

  •   Gender-based violence, conflict and displacement
  •   Gender relations, boundaries and politics of belonging
  •   Gender narratives within displaced communities and men’s positioning
  •   Justice and empowerment mechanisms
  •   Transnational terrorism

    The Forum is organised by the Centre for Gender and Violence Research, University of Bristol; the Gender and Violence Studies Centre, University of Sulaimani and the Gelawêj Cultural Centre, Iraqi Kurdistan. It will be convened on 7-8 April 2017 in Iraqi Kurdistan Region, the University of Sulaimani. Accommodation and subsistence will be provided by the organisers. A modest travel assistance will be available for those who cannot obtain funds within their organisation/academic institutions.

    Abstracts of no more than 500 words should be submitted before 15 October 2016 to Dr Nazand Begikhani and Dr Emma Williamson, University of Bristol.

    Email: nazand.begikhani@bristol.ac.uk





Panel Discussion: Turkey’s Intervention in Rojava and Its Consequences

6 09 2016

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Friday, September 9, 2016, 2:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Board Source Conference Room 750 9th St NW, Suite 650, Washington, DC 20001

The Kurdish Policy Research Center (KPRC) is pleased to organize the panel entitled ‘Turkey’s Intervention in Rojava and Its Consequences’.

On Wednesday August 24 Turkish tanks entered the borderline territory in Rojava (Northern Syria) along with Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army. According to the Turkish sources the objective of the “Operation Euphrates Shield” is to ‘stabilize’ the situation by clearing ISIS from Jarablus, the last stronghold of ISIS on the Turkish-Syrian border that is less than a mile from Turkey. However, soon after capturing Jarablus, the so-called Free Syrian Army supported by Turkish tanks advanced south towards Kurdish held territories where they engaged in clashes with the Kurdish YPG-led Democratic Syrian Forces. Since then Turkish tanks and artillery have been shelling not only the YPG, America’s most trusted ally in the fight against DAESH, but also the civilian population in Jarablus and Manbij.

The latest Turkish attacks on YPG have made it crystal clear that the real motivation behind the Turkish invasion of Rojava does not stem from the threat from DAESH, as the Turks claim, but from Turkey’s desire to prevent an autonomous Kurdish region emerging in northern Syria. To this end Turkey threatened to intensify its attacks on the Kurdish YPG forces, if the latter does not comply with Turkey’s request to withdraw from Manbij, a town newly liberated from DAESH by YPG, and remain the east of the Euphrates River.

Our distinguished panelists will bring their expertise to our gathering and offer their views on the root causes of the current political crisis in Rojava, discuss the political implications of the recent Turkish invasion as well as the clashes between Turkish-backed FSA and the Kurdish YPG and explore ways to find a peaceful solution.

The KPRC hopes that you can join us on September 9 for this exciting event that is aimed at offering an understanding of the political implications of the recent clashes between Turkish-backed FSA and the Kurdish YPG-led Democratic Syrian Forces.

RSVP Required to attend this event.
For media inquiries and questions, please contact: info@kprc.us

Panelists:

Salih Muslim:

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Salih Muslim is the co-chairman of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) in de facto autonomous Kurdish-controlled region of Rojava in Northern Syria. He is also the deputy coordinator of the National Coordination Committee for Democratic Change.

* Mr. Muslim will participate via Skype

Professor Dlawer Ala’Aldeen:

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Professor Ala’Aldeen is the Founding President of the Middle East Research Institute (MERI), a policy research institute and a think tank based in Erbil, Kurdistan Region of Iraq.  He is a former Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research in Kurdistan Regional Government (2009-2012). Dlawer has been an advocate of, and published extensively on, human rights, good governance and democracy in Kurdistan, Iraq and the wider Middle East.

Aliza Marcus:

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Aliza Marcus is formerly an international correspondent for The Boston Globe and lives in Washington, D.C. She covered the PKK for more than eight years, first as a freelance reporter for the Christian Science Monitor and later as a staff writer for Reuters, receiving a National Press Club Award for her reporting. She is also a recipient of a MacArthur Foundation grant for her work (NYU Press).





Call for Workshop: Emancipatory Transformations – Engaging Radical Democracy in Kurdistan

5 09 2016

institution-159-Sussex3-4 November 2016, University of Sussex

The many conflicts ravaging the Middle East pose profound questions regarding seemingly intractable and intersecting questions of democracy, political and ethnic pluralism, gender oppression, and ecological despoliation; questions that confront not only the region, but in varying forms, the entire world. As such, they highlight common challenges for humanity. These questions have received some radical and innovative answers in Rojava (Western/Syrian Kurdistan) where an ambitious project of radical democracy and social justice is being implemented despite formidable challenges, including a total war against ISIS.
Central to this project are the principles of democratic confederalism, plurinationalism, revolutionary feminism and social ecology as integral dimensions of the radical wing of the wider Kurdish freedom movement. The Rojava revolution therefore represents a novel form of emancipatory praxis that has profound implications for the region and beyond. Its attempted conjunction of direct democracy, communal economy, gender equality and ecological consciousness under the most unfavourable local and regional conditions in a region ravaged by sectarian conflict calls for engaged and critical dialogue by academics and activists. This is necessary in order to address both its achievements and limitations, to unearth and engage with many questions that remain suspended between a precarious present and uncertain future, and to ask what broader lessons it holds for our understanding of transformative democratic practice in the Middle East and beyond.
This two-day workshop aims to bring together a diverse group of researchers and activists to mutually learn, explore, share, and think of future possibilities for direct democracy and democratic confederalism through the examination of real-world grounded examples from contemporary movements in Rojava (Western Kurdistan) and Bakur (Northern Kurdistan), with careful consideration of the historical context and dynamics of contemporary and past struggles and challenges.
We invite submissions and expressions of interest in participation from researchers, activists, visual artists, filmmakers and others that explore these transformations through a focus on grounded perspectives and practices, situated in broader social, historical, political and ecological context. Specific thematic foci for presentations may include, but are not limited to:
  • Democracy and democratic confederalism
  • Gender and women’s movements
  • Pluralism in political practice
  • Economic transformations
  • Social / political ecology
  • Solidarity across social movements within the region or across the world
The workshop will be convened on 3-4 November 2016 in Brighton, UK and at the University of Sussex through collaboration between the ESRC STEPS Centre (http://steps-centre.org/), members of the Sussex Kurdish Community and members of the UK-based Kurdish Solidarity activist community. Travel assistance is available for workshop participants on the basis of need. Abstract submissions for paper presentations, visual exhibitions, film viewings or other presentation formats should include the following information:
  • Title of presentation
  • Presenter name, affiliation (if applicable) and contact details
  • Type of presentation (e.g. paper, visual art / photography, etc.)
  • Up to five key words / themes
  • Abstract / presentation description of no more than 500 words
  • Proposals based on original audio-visual work may also include a sample, either as a URL linking to media, or as images embedded in a Word or PDF document
  • A brief statement of need if you wish to be considered for travel assistance.

 

These should be submitted to Harriet Dudley (h.dudley@ids.ac.uk) no later than 16 September 2016, and selected participants will be notified no later than 30 September 2016.




Discussion: Spotlight on the Kurds

28 08 2016

cpd-logo-headerUniversity of Southern California, Annenberg School of Communication, Room 207, September 29, 2016, 5 pm-7:30 pm.

Join Professor Amir Sharifi of CSU Long Beach and Professor Asli Bâli of UCLA for a discussion of current Kurdish politics at the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles. The speakers will focus in particular on the Turkish government’s responses to Kurdish public diplomacy efforts. Evîn Cheikosman, M.A. Candidate in the USC Center on Public Diplomacy, will moderate the discussion.

Amir Sharifi is the Director of the Kurdish Human Rights Advocacy Group, President of the Kurdish American Education Society and Lecturer of Linguistics at California State University, Long Beach.

Ali Bali is a Professor of Law at the UCLA School of Law. She teaches Public International Law, International Human Rights and a seminar on the Laws of War. She joined UCLA from the Yale Law School where she was the Irving S. Ribicoff Fellow in Law, and coordinator of the Middle East Legal Forum.

The event will be held in ASC 207. Refreshments will be served. To join the event, click here.

Contact: shofani@usc.edu





New Book Out: A Road Unforeseen – Women Fight the Islamic State

2 08 2016

ROAD-UNFORESEEN-by-Meredith-Tax-9781942658108Tax, Meredith

Trade Paper, 2016

ISBN: 9781942658108

In war-torn northern Syria, a democratic society—based on secularism, ethnic inclusiveness, and gender equality—has won significant victories against the Islamic State, or Daesh, with women on the front lines as fierce warriors and leaders.

A Road Unforeseen recounts the dramatic, underreported history of the Rojava Kurds, whose all-women militia was instrumental in the perilous mountaintop rescue of tens of thousands of civilians besieged in Iraq. Up to that point, the Islamic State had seemed invincible. Yet these women helped vanquish them, bringing the first half of the refugees to safety within twenty-four hours.

Who are the revolutionary women of Rojava and what lessons can we learn from their heroic story? How does their political philosophy differ from that of Iraqi Kurdistan, the Islamic State, and Turkey? And will the politics of the twenty-first century be shaped by the opposition between these political models?

For details click here.





New Book Out: Iraqi Kurdistan in Middle Eastern Politics

3 07 2016

9781138204478Danilovich, Alex 

Routledge, 2017

ISBN 9781138204478

The changes brought by the Arab Spring and ensuing developments in the Middle East have made the Kurds an important force in the region. Tel-Aviv and Washington place high hopes on Erbil to facilitate their dealings with Baghdad, Damascus, Teheran and Ankara. Kurds living in Turkey, Syria and Iran have been inspired by the successes of their brethren in Iraq who managed to gain significant independence and make remarkable achievements in state building. The idea of a greater Kurdistan is in the air. This book focuses on how the Kurds have become a new and significant force in Middle Eastern politics. International expert contributors conceptualize current developments putting them into theoretical perspective, helping us to better understand the potential role the Kurds could play in the Middle East.

For details click here.