CGDS

ٖزانکۆی ئەمریکی لە عێراق-سلێمانی خوێندنی جێندەر وەک ماددەی لاوەکیی فرەپسپۆڕیی دەکاتەوە لەسەروبەندی ١٦ رۆژ چالاکی دژ بە توندتیژی بەرامبەر ژنان

سەنتەری جێندەر بۆ گەشەپێدان و لێکۆڵینەوە (CGDS) لە تشرینی یەکەمی ساڵی ٢٠١٥دا دامەزرا و لە شوباتی ساڵی ٢٠١٦ەشدا لە دووتوێی کۆنفرانسێکدا سەبارەت بە جێندەر و جێنۆسیاد- دۆزی ئێزیدییەکان، بەشێوەیەکی فەرمی کرایەوە. ئامانجی ئەم سەنتەرە پێشخستنی دۆزی یەکسانیی جێندەرییە لە ناوچەکە لە رێگەی پەروەردە، لێکۆڵینەوەی ئەکادیمی و گەشەپێدانی کۆمەڵگەوە. لە ساڵی ٢٠١٥دا دەستپێکردنی خوێندنی جێندەر لە خەونێکی دوردەست و درێژخایەن دەچوو. ھەرێمی کوردستان (ھەروەک ئێستا) بە بارودۆخێکی نالەباردا تێدەپەڕی. جەنگی داعش، ئاوارەبوونی ھەزاران مرۆڤ، زەبری دەروونی جێنۆسایدی ئێزیدییەکان، خراپتربوونی بارودۆخی ئابووریی ناوچەکە و زانکۆکەمان؛ ھەموو ئەم ھەلومەرجانە ئەگەری ئەوەیان دروستکرد کە کردنەوەی پرۆگرامی خوێندنی جێندەر کاتێکی زۆر زیاتری پێویست بێت. بۆیە ئەمڕۆ بە شانازی و خۆشحاڵییەکی زۆرەوە وەرگرتنی پسپۆڕیی لە خوێندنی جێندەردا ڕادەگەیەنین. ئەمە یەکەمین جارە لە ھەرێمی کوردستان و سەرتاسەری عێراقدا کە خوێندنی جێندەر لە زانکۆیەکدا دەبێت بە مادەی لاوەکیی فرەپسپۆڕیی (interdisciplinary)، واتە ئەو کۆرسانەی کە بۆ ئەم مەبەستە دانراون لەلایەن بەشەکانی ئەدەبی ئنگلیزیی، زانستە کۆمەڵایەتییەکان و بەشی زانستەوە دەوترێنەوە. ئێمە باوەڕمان بە گرنگیی پەروەردە ھەیە بەتایبەت کاتێک باس لە گۆڕانکاریی نۆرمە باوەکان دەکەین. پەروەردە یارمەتیمان دەدات زۆنی دیدگا چەقبوستوەکانی خۆمان بەجێبھێڵین و بیروباوەڕە باوەکان بخەینە ژێرپرسیارەوە. پەروەردە وامان لێدەکات کە تێبگەین چۆن لەلایەن سیستەمە جیاکانەوە باوەڕمان پێ ھێنراوە نایەکسانییە پەنھان و نادیارەکان قبووڵبکەین، ئەو نایەکسانییانەی بە چاو و عەقڵی رەخنەییەوە نەبێت نابیرێن و ڕاڤەناکرێن. گۆڕانکاری تەنھا کاتێک روودەدات کە تاکەکان (بە ژن و پیاوەوە) دۆخی باو وەک دۆخێکی کێشەدار ببینن کە پڕە لە نادادپەروەریی شاردراوە. زۆرجار بە قوتابییەکانمان دەڵێین پێویست ناکات ژن بیت بۆئەوەی فێمینیست بیت. ھەر پیاوێک باوەڕی بە یەکسانی جێندەریی ھەبێت و بەرەنگاری ئەو سیستەمە پیاوسالارییە بێتەوە کە وەک پیاو ئیمتیازی تایبەتی پێدەبەخشێت، فێمینیستە. شەڕکردن لەگەڵ نایەکسانی و ناعەدالەتییدا ئەرکی ھەموو کەسێکە (نەک ھەر ژن)، بەتایبەتیش ئەرکی ئەو کەسانەیە کە بەبۆنەی ڕەگەزی جێندەریی، چینی کۆمەڵایەتی، گروپی نەتەوەیی، ئایینی،شوێنگەی سیاسیی یان کۆمەڵایەتییانەوە دەسەڵاتیان لە کەسانی تر زیاترە. ھەربۆیە بۆ دەستپێکی شانزە رۆژ چالاکیی دژی توندوتیژی جێندەریی، کەمپینێکمان بەناوی (مستەر فێمینیست) Mr. Feminist ڕێکخست. ئەم کەمپینە لەلایەن مامۆستایان و ستاف و قوتابیانەوە پشتگیرییەکی بەرفراوانی لێکرا بە سەرۆکی زانکۆوە، بەڕێز بروس ۆڵکەر فێرگەسەن کە یەکێک بوو لە بەشداربوانی کەمپینەکە. خۆشحاڵین کە ھەندێک لەم پیاوانە لەم ئێوارەکۆڕەدا لەگەڵمانن. لە کۆتاییدا دەمەوێت بڵێم کە وەک ھەر دەستکەوتێکی تر، سەرکەوتنی پرۆژەی خوێندنی جێندەر لە زانکۆ بەبێ کار و ھاوکاری تیمێکی کارا بەئەنجام نەدەگەیشت. لێرەدا دەمەوێت سوپاسی خاتوو شیرین سائیب بکەم کە دوو ساڵ لەمەوبەر لە دامەزراندنی ئەم سەنتەرەدا ھاوکارم بوو. سوپاس بۆ زانکۆی ئەمریکی لە عێراق-سلێمانی کە دامەزراوەیەکی کراوە و لیبراڵە و پاڵپشتمان بووە لە کارەکانماندا و ھەرکاتێک پێویستمان بووبێت پشتگیریی کردووین. تیمە گەورەکەمان پێکھاتووە لە د. ماریا سەلداریاگا (سەرۆکی بەشی زانست)، د. عقیل عباس (بەشی ئەدەبی ئنگلیزی)، جێسیکا پۆستما و مایکڵ-پۆڵ ھێرناندێز (بەشی زمان و ئامادەکاریی ئەکادیمی) و خاتوو راگوێز تەھا (بەشی ئەندازیاری). دەستەیەکیش لە قوتابیانی یاریدەدەر و چالاکی زانکۆ، راز رزگار حەیدەر، راز سەعدون یەدوڵا و ئەوین عادل بەرخی، ھۆکارێکی گرنگ بوون بۆ سەرکەوتنی ئەم چالاکییە و چالاکییەکانی ترمان. دەشمانەوێت سوپاسی ساوێن محەمەد ئەمین و سەرجەم قوتابییە خۆبەخشەکانی ترمان بکەین، ھەروەھا (گروپی مۆسیقای ئۆریەنتاڵ) بۆ سەرکەوتنی ئەم چالاکییە. سوپاس بۆ ئامادەبوونی ژمارەیەکی زۆر لە دۆستان و کەسایەتیی فیکریی، ئەدەبیی، ھونەریی، ئەکادیمیی، چالاکوان و سیاسیی لە دەرەوەی زانکۆکەمان لەم بۆنە جێندەرییە گرنگەدا. ھەموو لایەکتان خۆشھاتن.

AUIS Launches Interdisciplinary Minor in Gender Studies During 16 Days of Activism

The Center for Gender and Development Studies (CGDS) was founded in November 2015 and officially launched in February 2016 in a conference about gender and genocide, the case of the Ezidi community. The aim of the center is to advance gender equality in the region through integrating education, research, and community development. Setting up gender studies at AUIS seemed like a distant and long-term dream in 2015. The region was going through a lot of hardship (as it is now), the war against ISIS, the forced displacement of thousands of civilians, the trauma of the Ezidi genocide, the aggravating economic situation in the region and at AUIS: all these factors made it seem that setting up a gender studies program would not be possible for a while. It is therefore with great pride and honor that we gather here today to launch the AUIS Minor in Gender Studies. For the first time in the Kurdistan region and in Iraq we are starting an interdisciplinary minor in gender studies. The courses we have developed for this purpose are offered by the English Department, the Department of Social Sciences, and the Science Department. We believe in the importance of education, especially when it comes to bringing about normative change. Education helps us stretch ourselves beyond our comfort zone and re-examine our long held views. It makes us realise that we have been persuaded by various systems to accept inequality that has become invisible to the uncritical eye. Change can only happen when individuals (men and women) start seeing the status quo as problematic and imbued with normalised and hidden injustices. We regularly tell our students that you do not need to be a woman to be a feminist. Any man who believes in gender equality and who challenges the patriarchal system that gives him, as a man, more privileges, is a feminist. Fighting inequality and injustice is the responsibility of everyone (not just women), especially those who have more power because of their gender, class, ethnicity, or political position. This is why we launched our Mr. Feminist campaign to start the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence this year. The campaign drew support from faculty, staff, and students, and included the President, Mr. Bruce Walker Ferguson. We are so happy to include some of these men in tonight's activities. Finally, I want to say that, like any other achievement, the success of this project would not have been possible without the work and support of a team. I thus want to thank Ms Shiereen Saib, who worked with me to establish the center two years ago. Thanks to AUIS for being an open and liberal institution that has encouraged our work and supported us whenever we needed it. I want to thank our patron, Ms. Jan Warner, who believes in us and supports our work. Above all, I want to thank my colleagues at the gender center, the management team: Prof. Lynn Rose and Miss Goshan Qaradaghi who have developed courses, supervised students, and organised activities. Our larger team includes Dr. Maria Saldarriaga (Chair of the Science Department), Dr. Akeel Abbass (the English Department), Miss Jessica Postma and Mr. Michael-Paul Hernandez (both from the Academic Preparatory Program), and Miss Raguez Taha (the Engineering Department). Our brilliant interns, Raz Rizgar Haydar, Raz Saadun Yadullah, and Awin Adil Barkhi, have been a key to the success of this event and our other activities. We are also grateful to Sawen Mohammed Amin and our team of volunteers, and to our Oriental Music Club for making this event a success. Thanks for the widespread endorsement by friends and supporters from the region, including writers, artists, academics, politicians and activists, who are present here today. We welcome you all to the celebration of this great achievement.

The CGDS Event

As part of the Sixteen Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, CGDS (The Center for Gender and Development Studies) of AUIS is celebrating the new Gender Minor and other successes.  Please join us for a showcase of our students' work including music, short films, and more. Refreshments will be provided.  

Social Engagement at Times of Conflict

  October 10, 2017 - The Action Group (TAG) hosted a session to discuss the importance of volunteering at times of political and social conflict. The event was supervised by the Center for Gender and Development Studies (CGDS). Renowned actor, producer, and director, Mr. Shwan Atuf, was a speaker at the event. He spoke about his experiences as an artist and activist. Atuf gave students an idea of how volunteering can help change the society and make the community a better place. He stressed the importance of putting one’s own hobbies and interests into use, by producing creative projects that have a social impact and will bring change. He then focused his speech on the  advantages of volunteering in terms of gaining knowledge and achieving future goals. Expanding your ability to do work without expecting things in return helps revive trust and a sense of community. Everyone has different ideas but these ideas need to be put into action so that the outcome is seen. Atuf shared some of his own projects and explained how he had to be creative in order to execute them on a small budget. As the event concluded, Mr. Shwan Atuf left the students with a question, “Why won’t you do voluntary work?” he asked, “What else will you do?” He stressed that the work will still get done without them, so why not be part of it? Several students volunteered to join TAG at the end of the seminar, showing their willingness to participate in various capacities. Article by CGDS Intern Awin Adil Taib

CGDS Hosts Training Through the Alternatives to Violence Project

On the first day of the workshop, Mr. Rezhyar explained that AVP has its origins in a United States prison. Developed in the 1980s, with Quaker roots, the program is now unaffiliated with any religion. The principles of the program include nonviolent problem-solving, communication, affirmation, and community-building. All of the facilitators are volunteers. Each of the three days included a variety of activities and exercises, moving from self-reflection to imagining community. Overall, the workshop reflected its tenets: AVP is not therapy, but it is healing; it is not religious, but it is spiritual; theprogram operates not on voting, but on consensus. The serious nature of the training was offset by several exercises that demonstrated another facet: AVP is fun. All of participants expressed deep appreciation for the training session. Two subsequent and more advanced workshops, open to those who completed the first workshop, are forthcoming. Those who complete all of the training will have, in addition, six months of mentorship before being certified as trainers.  

Privilege, Power, and Hierarchy: A Diversity Training Workshop

On October 22 and October 29, the Center for Gender and Development Studies (CGDS) at AUIS hosted a two-part diversity training workshop about privilege, power, and hierarchy. The workshop was facilitated by Dr. Choman Hardi and Dr. Lynn Rose. The training equipped AUIS students to actively engage with and challenge social injustice by starting discussions about these issues in local high schools. Dr. Choman focused on gender inequality, social construction, and sexist language on the first day of the workshop, while Dr. Lynn focused on different kinds of discrimination against people with disabilities on the second day. Speaking about her aims for the workshop, Dr. Choman said, “We, in AUIS, have many discussions that are not held elsewhere. We sort of live in a bubble. There are many ideas that are discussed and accepted here which could endanger people’s lives outside this place. We think it is important to take this conversation outside. We do not want to be an elitist bubble in a sea of traditional, conservative views, but we aim to engage the community. That is the role of universities generally; that they don't stick to themselves, they actually create ideas that go out to society, and hopefully this training will help towards that.” Dr. Lynn had high hopes for the future regarding social equality in Kurdistan, stating, “I think it could start here in Kurdistan. Why not make this a huge center of change? I wouldn't be happy if it stayed here, but if it started in Kurdistan; if we became a hotbed of revolution for gender equity and accessibility and everything else that's good, why not? I think that would be good, and then we would spread out from there.” A total of 30 students, many of them members of the Action Group (TAG), took part in the workshop and engaged in lively discussions and debates. The students were awarded certificates for completing the workshop. The trained group aims to give presentations in schools around Sulaimaniah in a bid to raise awareness among teenagers about social inequity in Kurdistan. The Center for Gender and Development Studies aims to repeat the training next semester to give more students the opportunity to learn and engage.

16 Days of Activism at AUIS to Combat Gender-Based Violence

By Bahra Lokman, IRIS Coordinator On November 27th, 2016, the Center for Gender and Development Studies (CGDS) at AUIS hosted a lecture by Judit Neurink, journalist and author from the Netherlands. This launched the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence campaign during which CGDS shared several profiles of successful women on social media. The videos were made by members of the Action Group (TAG), a student club supervised by CGDS director Dr. Choman Hardi. The purpose of the films is to highlight women’s contribution to the region’s art, culture, politics, and economy and to reinforce that if women are supported and given the same opportunity, they too will achieve great things. As a specialist on the Middle East who has been living and working in Iraqi Kurdistan for the past eight years, Neurink focused the lecture discussing her newly published book titled: The Women of the Caliphate: slaves, mothers, and Jihadi brides. ISIS atrocities against the Ezidi women captured during the fall of Sinjar, led Neurink to write her book on the relationship between ISIS extremism and women. Throughout the lecture, she illustrated a broader picture of how ISIS ideology and practice perceive local Muslim and non-Muslim women as opposed to foreign converted women.   Listen to the podcast here: ISIS and Ezidi Slave Girls  Neurink started her remarks on ISIS’s systematic atrocities against Ezidi women. Approximately 6000 Ezidis were kidnapped and only 3000 have so far been rescued. As soon as ISIS captured the women, they publically put them on sale in their slave markets for different prices depending on age and beauty, she noted. Over the past two years prices enormously went up from 100 USD (per person) to 30,000 USD. As a matter of fact, some Ezidi families bought off their girls from ISIS when they saw advertisements on ISIS’s twitter and webpage. Others survived ISIS slavery through escaping via PYD and PKK network from Syria. Women’s rehabilitation began by going through the Ezidi religious practices of confession and purification after a declaration from Ezidi religion leader, Baba Sheikh, who urged the community to welcome back the women. Neurink also explained that escape was a bit easier in the beginning, but this is no longer the case as ISIS fighters took the Ezidi girls with them after being pushed out of Sinjar. Women and Sexuality Neurink further shed light on ways in which ISIS perceive women and sexuality, given their ideology. According to Islamic law, men and women are not allowed to engage in sexual relationships outside the legal framework of marriage. She demonstrated examples in which ISIS fighters made exceptions for being with girls without marriage by declaring the women as their slaves. She highlighted the example of the well-known Jihadi bride, Umm Summaya Al-Muhajirrah, who simply justified ISIS sex slave ideology claiming that is a way to prevent prostitution. Neurink further stressed that ISIS even gave slave girls as prizes during Ramadan for those who memorized recitations from Quran and Hadith. Women Fighter, Recruitment, and Indoctrination  Having mentioned that women’s participation in fighting is not usual in Middle Eastern and Islamic culture, yet ISIS has managed to recruit many women fighters into their Caliphate. A sisterhood security force has been established titled Al-Khansa Brigades whose major task is to deliver brutal punishment to women who go out without men and those who are not fully covered. Neurnik also conveyed that ISIS managed to recruit foreign women fighters from the Western countries. According to the recent data publicized on ISIS twitter and website, there are about 3500 foreign women fighters in the Al-Khansa Brigades, among which 70 are from the Netherlands. More significantly, Neurink also explained the different privileges ISIS have been intentionally giving to foreign women as opposed to local women and argued that the former group have more rights and freedom which helped their recruitment agenda. On their official twitter account, ISIS romanticized the picture of the foreign women privileges and urged them to join and enjoy having wealth, romance and husbands, as Neurink noted. Although foreign women have been enjoying more freedom than the local women, many of them realized soon after that this was not the ideal life they signed up for based on the online propaganda, especially when they were asked to become suicide bombers.   Meanwhile, Neurik uncovered the issue of poverty inside the Caliphate and argued that lot of areas of the caliphate are suffering from severe poverty to an extent that many kids stopped going to school. This may be fortunate as they would not encounter the violent education ISIS has installed in the school system. She further stressed that poverty also counts as another factor for sustainable recruitment for it led some people to signed up to make living.

CGDS Holds Workshop on Sexual Harassment

By Chra Hussain, AUIS IT major  On October 18, 2016 Dr. Choman Hardi, Director of  Center for Gender and Development Studies at AUIS, facilitated a workshop on sexual harassment. The workshop was was open to both male and female students. Understanding sexual harassment and its consequences was the main focus of the workshop as well as challenging the norms and myths that cause it and highlighting bystander responsibility. After defining sexual harassment and identifying its different types, the workshop discussed its consequences for victims and communities at large; how it negatively affects the victims' psychology and their performance in work or studies; and how it disconnects victims from their community and threatens social cohesion. Not addressing sexual harassment means it will remain unchallenged and may be considered normal and acceptable.  Dr. Hardi shared statistics about how common sexual harassment is and went on to challenge the myths that are used to justify it. The most common myths that were addressed included the following: First of all, women, by dressing in certain ways and going to certain places, are “asking for it”. Secondly, when women say “no” they are just playing hard to get. Another myth that was discussed was “men will always be men” and they can’t control themselves, therefore it is the victim’s responsibility, rather than the perpetrator, to protect herself. Issues related to low level of reporting, despite widespread sexual harassment in the region, were also discussed, especially the threat of shaming and consequent stigmatization. Indeed, shaming has become a global phenomenon especially through the power of technology. If one has sensitive photos of another or has image editing capabilities, they use it to threaten the victims so that the victims refuse to report.  The workshop ended with highlighting the responsibility of bystanders to intervene in developing situations, challenging perpetrators, and cooperating with investigators. It stressed our responsibilities, as individuals, for spreading ideas and practises of equality leading to a safer society. Raising awareness, especially through education, is indeed an effective first step to confront sexual harassment and abuse. This workshop gave AUIS students the opportunity to be more aware of the meaning, prevalence, reasons, and possible approaches to tackling the phenomenon. Students warmly participated in the discussions and offered their own views about the issues.  

Privilege, Power, and Hierarchy: A Diversity Training Workshop

You are invited to participate in a two-day workshop on socio-economic inequity, highlighting gender and disability. Sponsored by the AUIS Center for Gender and Development Studies, this workshop provides training for AUIS students who may be interested in facilitating diversity workshops in local high schools, and is open to all interested students, staff, and community members. Part One of the workshop will be held on Saturday, October 22 from 9:00-12:30; Part Two will be held on Saturday, October 29 from 9:00 to 12:30. Both sessions will be held in  lecture hall B-B2-39. Participants who attend both days of training will receive certificates of completion. Facilitators are Dr. Choman Hardi (English) and Dr. Lynn Rose (Social Science). There is no cost for this workshop. Space is limited: please reserve your spot by emailing the President of  TAG (The Action Group), Zyran Ibrahim, at zryan.ibrahim@auis.edu.krd.

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