The scedule for the summit: Sunday, December 3: 1:30-5:30pm 1:30-3:30: Workshops: Workshop 1 - Intro to Coding: Create an Android App Workshop 2 - Launching your Startup 3:50: Panel Discussion about the digital gender gap, opportunities and challenges in the tech and startup sectors in Iraq and the importance of role models to inspire more women to enter the world of technology and entrepreneurship.
A Life Changing Conference. I have been writing this sentence over and over again because I cannot find a suitable alternative to describe the experience. My mom has worked for women for 24 years, and she has always told me to “never give up on the thing that you can't go a day without thinking about.” My mum used to tell me that because she knew I was interested in knowing women’s issues around the world. Last year I heard about Women2Women, an 8 day conference in Boston. A friend of mine went there in 2011 and when she came back, I saw the changes that the conference did to her, in addition to the good things that she told me about it. When I got accepted with my friend Rawaz, we felt lucky because we knew it is going to be a great experience. However, on my way there I was thinking to myself “will I be able to mix with more than 80 young ladies from all over the world? Will I be able to be in the same room with a stranger roommate?” Yes, I was able to do it. When I went there and saw all of the girls, my feeling of being worried changed to being happy. My roommate was a Chinese girl who was really smart, beautiful, inspiring, and so were all the other girls. In the day time from 8 am to 9 pm, we attended lectures about different topics, such as women power, understanding the media, the basics of public speaking, the art of the difficult conversation, bullying, harassment, women making changes, and many other topics. They also took us around Boston; we also went to Harvard University which was amazing because I wanted to see it for a long time. At night, all the girls gathered together to talk about our cultures, languages, countries, personal stories, everything that got us to know each other more and more. The one thing that was interesting about gathering is that every time we got together, I heard a new story about one of the girls that was about her life, what they went through in their lives, the difficulties they faced, and many other things that affected me positively. Now, I see people in a different way because I know behind everyone there are many stories. Everyone’s story is different but similar in the same time. On the last day everyone was crying because we were that close to each other. I don’t cry easily, especially in front of people, but I found myself crying because I really wanted to stay with them and because I was good friends with so many of them. After the conference ended, I stayed there for two more months. I went to New York, Virginia, Washington DC, South Carolina, and California. I enjoyed my time so much. In the end I just want to say I’m still in touch with all of the girls, and the Women2Women conference and the whole trip was a life changing experience.
The ‘Equality for Women’ lecture series aims to draw attention to the issues facing women in the region and to contextualize the socioeconomic and political circumstances within which they have developed. The series will include two lectures each Fall and Spring semester to discuss the different aspects of how conflict and culture affects and shapes the lives of women in the region. The first talk of the series was given by Dr. Choman Hardi, associate professor of English Literature at AUIS, on March 8, 2015. She spoke about the achievements of the women’s movement in Kurdistan, based on in-depth interviews with women in Kurdistan, as well as her own research on the Anfal campaign that she conducted during 2005-10. Dr. Choman Hardi is a celebrated poet, as well as a writer, translator, and a women’s rights activist. Her most recent publication, Gendered Experiences of Genocide: Anfal Survivors in Kurdistan-Iraq (Ashgate, 2011), was chosen by the Yankee Book Peddler as a UK Core Title. Listen to Dr. Hardi's lecture on women's movement in Kurdistan in the podcast below. On May 3, 2015, Dr. Nazand Begikhani, senior research fellow at the University of Bristol, was invited to give the second lecture of the series. Her talk focused on the impact of the emerging global trends on the situation of women in Kurdistan, specifically on gender based violence. Dr. Begikhani has over 20 years’ experience in research, writing, advocacy for human rights and consultancy, publishing widely on gender and ethnicity, violence against women and honour-based violence (HBV) in English, Kurdish and French. She is currently a senior international advisor to Kurdistan Region’s Prime Minister on higher education and gender, and a member of the Kurdistan’s Women’s Rights Monitoring Board. In 2000, she was awarded the Emma Humphreys Memorial Prize for her work on HBV, and, in 2012, the French Simone Landrey’s Feminine Poetry Prize for her poetry collection, Le lendemain d’hier. Listen to Dr. Begikhani's lecture on globalization and gender violence in the podcast below.