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CGDS

AUIS Center for Gender and Development Studies Announces Achievements of EU-Funded Gender Equity Project

  The Center for Gender and Development Studies (CGDS) at American University of Iraq, Sulaimani (AUIS) released on February 14, 2022 the outcomes of its three-year project titled “Enhancing Education, Developing Community Capacity, and Promoting Visibility to Effect Gender Equity in Iraq and the MENA Region.” The project was funded by a  €900,000 European Union grant awarded to the Center in 2018.   The grant funded a wide range of outputs and activities to support the development of gender-related educational courses in Arabic and Kurdish; provision of online training for faculty who are interested in teaching these courses; development of public policy recommendations for the Ministries of Education of the Government of Iraq and Kurdistan Regional Government; generation of reports on the role of the media and school textbooks in reproducing and reinforcing gender inequality; production of six short films to expose and explore patriarchal mechanisms; rewriting and recording of six popular Kurdish and Arabic songs, eliminating misogynistic references; production of monthly podcasts on gender issues to raise awareness of gender advocacy; facilitation of needs-based and tailored gender-related training to different sectors in the community; and the creation of a gender studies network to connect scholars and researchers from across the MENA region.    “Over the course of this project, more than 50 people, including staff members, volunteers, and interns worked tirelessly to promote awareness of how gender issues are woven into the fabric of society, and left unchecked, can perpetrate and reinforce inequality and injustice,” said Dr. Choman Hardi, CGDS Director and AUIS Associate Professor. “While the project tackled topics from an academic perspective, it also included avenues for creativity and artistic expression, and, we hope, will have a lasting impact on communities across the Middle East.”   The 35-month-long project was generously funded by the European Union.   

Blog: Celebrating Women at AUIS

  By: Sipa Kurda   Every March, the Center of Gender and Development Studies (CGDS) at American University of Iraq, Sulaimani (AUIS) celebrates women’s history month, during which a number of events are organized to highlight the history of women around the world, including their struggles and accomplishments. CGDS strives to create spaces for people through their events in which they can express their ideas and share their experiences.    This year, on March 8, celebrated as International Women’s Day, CGDS Director Dr. Choman Hardi, Deputy Director Dr. Lynn Rose, and Researcher Dr. Twana Hassan took part in “Bridging Perspectives,” an online panel discussion with the London School of Economics (LSE) Department of Government. Dr. Lynn Rose moderated the discussion, which focused on the role of harmful social and gender norms in society that force women to stay at home and wait for marriage and stop thinking about their education and future careers. Dr. Paul Kirby, Dr. Mazeda Hossain, and Leah Kenny from LSE also spoke about the inequality and injustices people face because of their gender. AUIS students also had the opportunity to join the webinar and take part in breakout discussions to express their ideas about masculinity and gender-based violence.    Dr. Rose described how well the discussion went and how active the participants were saying, “It was a great blend of people with a lot of different areas of expertise, and their perspectives were fresh and new.”   “As for the student sessions that followed the panel, the students said that they had the space to talk, and it was very much student-focused even through there were senior scholars in the group,” she continued.     AUIS student Parosh Abdulla explained what she liked best about participating in the session. “I liked how they presented research about different topics done in different countries and how at the end we got the chance to have a discussion with the researchers, professors, and panelists.”    Raz Abdulla, also an AUIS student who took part in the discussion, said, “I merely attended the discussion as an audience member and I found it highly informative.”    Fellow student participant Zhera Bazaz added, “I believe the program was a great opportunity to see the different issues that each community faces in terms of sexism and discrimination.” He continued, “Personally, I was able to learn a lot about my community and also about foreign communities and their struggles to achieve equality. It was also an opportunity to learn about the successes and failures of other movements in different countries and how to utilize that knowledge and implement it on our community.”   CGDS researcher Dr. Hassan further explained the value of having students participate in the online event. “The participation of young students and dividing them into small groups was also another interesting point about the panel. This led to sharing questions and thoughts about gender, masculinity and equality among the participants.”   This year’s International Women’s Day event went online, but students and CGDS staff still had to opportunity to mark the day and express realities faced by women in the modern day. The value of having events like this is that participants are given a safe space to speak about their experiences and as Raz Abdulla shared, opportunities like this would be beneficial to the wider community going forward.  

Dr. Choman Hardi published in LSE's Working Paper Series

  Dr. Choman Hardi, AUIS Assistant Professor and Director of the Center for Gender and Development Studies (CGDS), was published this month in the London School of Economics (LSE) Centre for Women, Peace and Security Working Paper Series. Her paper, titled ‘Gender Issues in the Context of a Humanitarian Crisis,’ draws on work undertaken as part of the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Strategic Network on Gender Violence Across War and Peace, supported by the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF).   Dr. Hardi’s study investigated the funding interests and priorities of regional and international agencies in the context of the Islamic State crisis and its consequences for local non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. It further explored the relationship between local NGOs and funding agencies to facilitate dialogue and improve the quality of their partnership and their work on the ground. The first phase of the study began by interviewing local NGOs in Sulaimani, Erbil, and Duhok to understand the relationship between them and their funders in late 2017. The summary of findings was presented to local NGOs, international NGOs, funders, and other stakeholders in a workshop titled "Bridge-Building Between Stakeholders and NGOs" on April 18, 2018 at AUIS.   Building on this study, researchers at CGDS investigated the concept of such partnerships under the following topics: Funding Focus Post-2014 and Consequences for the Local Community; Funders’ Decisions: Lack of NGO Inclusion in Planning and Decision Making; Perceived Funder Inadequacies. In the third phase of the study, CGDS researchers sought to include the funders' perspectives in the project. CGDS hosted a focus group discussion on June 4, 2019 at AUIS to include the funders' feedback on the study.   CGDS announced on June 19 the start of a five-year, £896,000  research project with LSE as part of the UK Research and Innovation’s Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) to support interdisciplinary research hubs around the world working towards the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.   Dr. Hardi is a Co-Director of the Masculinities and Sexualities strand, one of six strands under LSE’s Gender, Justice, and Security Hub that will examine gender-related injustice and insecurity in communities around the world.  

London School of Economics Selects AUIS as a Lead Institutional Research Partner

  New Five-Year Project to Study Gender Justice in Conflict-Affected Societies   The Center for Gender and Development Studies (CGDS) at American University of Iraq, Sulaimani (AUIS) announced today the start of a five-year, £896,000  research project with the London School of Economics (LSE). The project is part of the UK Research and Innovation’s Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) to support interdisciplinary research hubs around the world working towards the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.   CGDS’s Dr. Choman Hardi, a professor at AUIS, is a Co-Director of the Masculinities and Sexualities strand, one of six strands under LSE’s Gender, Justice, and Security Hub that will examine gender-related injustice and insecurity in communities around the world. As Co-Director, Dr. Hardi will coordinate research projects at six universities and other not-for-profit organizations. Dr. Hardi’s own research at AUIS, titled “Masculinity, Sexuality, and Violence,” will investigate transitional masculinity and violence prevention in the Kurdistan region of Iraq.   “It is great to be on the verge of so much new research, knowledge, and creativity,” Dr. Hardi said. “Research about masculinity in this region is in its infancy. This project aims to investigate the mechanisms that construct an entitled and violent masculinity which victimises women, with the aim of positively transforming it.”   The new GCRF project is the latest initiative for CGDS, which was awarded a €900,000 grant by the European Union in October 2018 to fund a two-year project aimed at strengthening educational development in the field of gender studies in three countries (Iraq, Egypt, Lebanon) and community capacity building in gender awareness and advocacy. CGDS projects funded by other grants in the last two years include a partnership with Ball State University’s Women’s and Gender Studies Program and a partnership with Internews focusing on Sexual-and Gender-Based Violence in the media. Initiated and founded in 2015 at AUIS by Dr. Hardi, in November 2017 the Center introduced an interdisciplinary gender studies minor at the University, the first of its kind in Iraq.  

CGDS marks the start of 16 Days of Activism with soft launch of EU grant

  The Center for Gender and Development Studies (CGDS) at American University of Iraq, Sulaimani (AUIS) held an event on November 27 marking the start of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence with a a soft launch of its recently awarded €900,000 European Union grant. The grant will fund a series of projects and activities to support the review and development of gender-related educational courses across the region, as well as conduct media monitoring and increase gender related resources through films, songs, texts, and audio discussions.  Members of the AUIS and wider Sulaimani community as well as representatives from the European Union delegation attended the soft launch, in which CGDS staff also delivered a presentation on the center’s projects and activities over the previous year, as well as a preview of activities planned under the new grant. The presentation was followed by a musical performance by artists and performers from XFM radio.

'Butterfly Valley' Book Launch

  You are cordially invited to the book launch of 'Butterfly Valley,' a translation of Sherko Bekas' book by Dr. Choman Hardi, presented in collaboration with Peyk Bookstore and Metrography. The event will feature poetry readings by Dr. Hardi, as well as Shwan Atoof and Dilawar Karadaghi. Date: Sunday, November 4, 2018 Time: 5-7 PM Place: AUIS Conference Hall   AUIS students may invite up to two guests from outside the community but must submit their information through the following Google form: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScKsinuhSJnGQXxTsRsmts2wSxdjmh_LCBvVYLh3_jy3Ikb4g/viewform   Dr. Hardi will sign copies of the book after the event.  

EU Ambassador to Iraq visits CGDS

  The European Union’s Ambassador to Iraq Ramon Blecua visited the Center for Gender and Development Studies (CGDS) at the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani (AUIS) on October 25, 2018. In the meeting, the Ambassador discussed CGDS’s recently awarded  €900,000 EU grant and affirmed his full support for the project.  The main focus of the ground-breaking project is to support universities in the MENA region to develop gender-related courses in the departments of law, social work, education, and media; train professors to teach the new courses; conduct a review of the primary education material in Iraq to propose policy to the Ministry of Education; conduct media monitoring; and increase gender related resources through films, songs, texts, and audio discussions. Ambassador Blecua also shared his willingness to cooperate with CGDS on all key aspects of the project to ensure its long-term success in this region and beyond.  

European Union Awards €900,000 Grant to AUIS

Center for Gender and Development Studies to Develop New Educational Programs   The Center for Gender and Development Studies (CGDS) at American University of Iraq, Sulaimani (AUIS) has been awarded a €900,000 grant by the European Union to fund a two-year project aimed at developing gender studies and policy, building community capacity, and increasing visibility, the Center’s director, Dr. Choman Hardi, announced on October 8, 2018. The innovative, wide-ranging activities that the CGDS team will undertake are designed to make important contributions to understanding and addressing issues of gender disparity in Iraq and the MENA region.   The project’s main objectives include educational development in the field of gender studies in three MENA countries (Iraq, Egypt, Lebanon) and community capacity building in gender awareness and advocacy. It comprises a range of activities such as translating key texts, training academics, founding a gender studies network, reviewing primary school textbooks, and producing six gender-related short films in English, Arabic, and Kurdish. The CGDS team will work closely with non-governmental organizations, other universities and gender centers, and the private sector to assess sensitivity training needs, propose policy to the government, supervise media monitoring, and offer summer school scholarship opportunities to disadvantaged students.   “With this vital support from the European Union, our main goal is to provide Kurdish and Arabic gender-related resources to students, faculty, researchers, gender programs, and the larger public through an online platform, which will include short films, songs, debates, and translations of state of the art undergraduate texts in the fields of ‘gender and media,’ ‘gender and law,’ ‘gender and social work,’ and ‘gender and pedagogy’,” explained Professor Hardi. “This is a pioneering project that we hope will lead to increased sensitivity and expertise, as well as the accelerated development of gender studies in our fellow universities in Iraq and the rest of MENA.”   CGDS was founded in 2015 and in November 2017 introduced an interdisciplinary gender studies minor at AUIS, the first of its kind in Iraq.   ###   AUIS is the first non-government, not-for-profit, American-style institution of higher education in Iraq. Celebrating its tenth anniversary last year, it is also the first non-governmental university in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region to be accredited by both the Federal Government of Iraq and the Kurdistan Regional Government. The University welcomes students, 35% of whom are women, from diverse communities throughout Iraq and the Kurdistan Region.   For media requests, contact Delawit Mesfin, AUIS Director of Communications.   Follow AUIS on Twitter @auis_news, Facebook /auisofficial, Instagram @auis_eagles, or at auis.edu.krd Follow the EU Delegation on Twitter @euambIraq, Facebook /euiniraq, or at  eeas.europa.eu/delegations/iraq        

Dr. Lynn Rose delivers presentation at international conference in Sri Lanka

  AUIS Professor Dr. Lynn Rose represented the Center for Gender and Development Studies (CGDS) at the International Conference on Arts and Humanities in Colombo, Sri Lanka on September 27-28, 2018. Her presentation, titled “Kurdish Medea: Gender, Humanities, and the Arts,” discussed an overview of the gender minor at AUIS. Two other papers in the session on gender focsed on representations of female actors in Tollywood (Telugu) cinema and violations of women’s rights under the Musarraf regime.   Dr. Rose also chaired three sessions on ecology and sustainability, arts in society, and literature and culture.   Conference organizers provided a tour of Sri Lanka for participants, including visits to a tooth relic temple and elephant orphanage.  

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