EU Project: An interview of Dr. Lynn Rose and Mr. Shko Shwan by Ms. Beatrice Maneshi, founder and lead consultant at Catalystas, about Gender Equality and Human Rights in Iraq

Funded by the EU, CGDS is producing podcasts, in Kurdish, Arabic and English to promote understanding of gender issues in the region. The following is one of the podcasts produced for the project.

Mr. Shko Shwan and Dr. Lynn Rose begin their interview by discussing their current work at CGDS, their work before CGDS, and how they joined the CGDS family. Mr. Shko, who is CGDS’ EU Project Manager, majored in Information Technology and minored in English Literature at The American University of Iraq- Sulaimani. After graduation, he worked as a database officer helping the refugees in Sulaymaniyah. He worked for both international and local humanitarian aid organizations. Afterwards, he began at CGDS; first, as a Project Coordinator and afterwards as the EU Project Manager. 

Dr. Lynn, who is the deputy director of CGDS, has always had an interest in disability studies and rights even prior to joining CGDS. Roughly three years ago, she became a professor at The American University of Iraq- Sulaimani. She had always wanted to live in the Middle East, because of the latter she finally got a chance to do so.  Dr. Lynn was introduced to AUIS’ Gender Center through its director, Dr. Choman Hardi. Since the beginning of CGDS, Dr. Choman has not only focused on gender issues but also on LGBT, ethnicity, equity, and disability issues. 

Dr. Lynn believes that feminism is the ideology that all humans are equal. Through her work, she helps the community to understand what feminism actually is. Mr. Shko thinks feminism is giving all humans equal rights and opportunities from an early age. The latter is what he, with the help of CGDS, is trying to accomplish. Dr. Lynn mentions that CGDS is raising awareness and effectively educating people through seminars and workshops. Mr. Shko explains that a major problem regarding feminism is a simple misinterpretation about the roles of males and females in society. A misinterpretation that can be solved by educating both genders. He states that the majority of people have a problem with the word “Feminism” itself; they encourage the implementation of equality but refuse to be called feminists and rather be called humanists. CGDS focuses on including both males and females when it comes to discussing feminism and gender issues. Dr. Lynn says that education is more easily accessible to this generation compared to the previous ones, the former encouraging critical thinking and open-mindedness. 

Summarized and Translated by: Lubna Ghazi