"Courageous Women of Budrus" October 29 – November 12, 2011
As Senior Manager of Just Vision's Jerusalem Office, Irene oversees the creation of programs for diverse Palestinian-Israeli communities. She guides discussions and actions around the conflict. She's trained in issue-based dialogue, trauma management and program evaluation. Her MA thesis at American University focused on the intersection of the oral history in forming the identity of Palestinians in Israel.
Julia Bacha, New York
Julia is the Director and Producer of Budrus, a film about a Palestinian village's sustained nonviolent struggle to save their land from the route of the Separation Barrier. This film and others have garnered her awards at Sundance, Tribeca, Berlin, Jerusalem, Dubai Int'l Film Festivals and more. Budrus premiered at Dubai Int'l Film Festival and won the Audience Award at the Berlin Int'l Film Festival.
Ronit Avni, Washington DC
Roni is an award-winning filmmaker, advocate, and media strategist. She's the Founder and Executive Director of Just Vision, a non-profit that creates media about Palestinian and Israeli grassroots leaders in non-violence and peacebuilding.
Iltezam Morrar, Sarajevo
At the age of 15, Iltezam launched a women's contingent of the unarmed movement in Budrus. She was the first villager to succeed in getting past the Israeli border police and stopped a bulldozer. Her fearlessness galvanized the entire village and affirmed women's participation in the movement. The demonstrations marked the first time she and most of the village's youth ever met Israelis who were not soldiers or settlers.
Rula Salameh, East Jerusalem
Rula is Just Vision's Outreach Liaison in Palestine. She organizes events, interviews peacebuilders, and works with educators, journalists, and leaders. She was a key producer in the film, Budrus. Her professional background is in journalism and broadcasting.
Let’s Stand with Women Shaping a New Middle East” June 13 – June 30, 2011
Samina Sundas, Pakistan/USA
As a Muslim woman from Pakistan living in the United States, Samina shared what happens when personal relationships, acceptance and dialogue replace violence and fear. In light of the recent demise of Osama Bin Laden with her time in the Global Room, she raised sensitive questions: What do “justice” and “closure” really mean? What meaning did this event hold for all Americans, as we approached 9/11 ten years later? And what did this change, if anything, for our American Muslim communities?
Aya Faissal, Egypt
A rare opportunity to hear the voice of young Cairo as Aya reveals the backstory of the Egyptian revolution from a woman’s perspective. Aya shared her ongoing adventure of joining with millions of youth who organized en masse to invoke reform in Egypt, and her new mission to lift a few women – out of the 15 million people trapped in the poverty-ridden slums of Cairo. As one of only a few veiled students studying in France prior to coming home to Egypt, Aya imparted her experiences of navigating the headscarf law while preserving her own customs and personal choice.
Mona Elfarra, Gaza
Mona Elfarra is a modern, educated Islamic woman passionate about her people and homeland. As Project Manager of Middle East Children’s Alliance, she serves over 100,000 kids of war-torn Gaza through the creative arts. As a peace activist, Mona brings a view of Islam that supports her work. How do we choose which family, cultural, and religious traditions to own and assimilate into our adult identities – so we remain true to our authentic voice, still belong, and yet shape a better world for ourselves and our children? Mona encouraged us to explore the many obstacles, setbacks, and challenges of change while following our own expressions in the world.
Dr. Edna Calo Livne, Israel
During those moments when some have despaired of ever seeing peace between Palestinians and Israelis, Dr. Angelica Edna Calo Livne has shone through brightly with a different message, a different voice. Her work is a prayer made real - and for that reality she was recognized as one of the 1000 women peacemakers nominated for the 2005 Nobel Prize!
Kay Robinson USA
Are you eager to take big steps, have courage, and achieve your goals? We were joined by Kay Robinson for a special one-hour online meditation offering you new techniques to navigate change in your life and in the world. This is an hour to find the quiet within and the inspiration to make clear decisions.
“With Love From the Middle East: Meet the Women Building Peace” April 2 – May 21, 2011
Mona Elffara, Gaza
April 2, 9
Leveraging her training as a physician, Dr. Elfarra is spearheading numerous grassroots programs throughout Gaza to provide for the psychological needs of over 100,000 children with programs promoting participation in art, dance, music, story-telling, theatre and puppetry.
Samina Sundas, Pakistan/USA
April 13, 20
Forever changed by September 11, 2001, Samina, a Sunni Muslim woman originally from Pakistan, became an outsider in the United States - her home for decades, where she had worked and raised a family. By opening her home and her heart to all ethnicities and faith groups, she has dispelled misperceptions and created bridge-building conversations between many who thought it impossible.
Ahdaf Soueif, Egypt
April 30, May 7
Renowned Egyptian novelist Ahdaf passionately shared her areas of concern - Egypt, British literature, and the representation of the Arab world by the West. Shortlisted for the prestigious Booker Prize for "Map of Love," she took us on a journey of breaking free of labels to live in a culture that is interdependent. Her experiences of demonstrating in Cairo's Tahrir Square during Egypt's revolution in early 2011 left us riveted and with renewed hope.
Rashad Zaydan, Iraq
May 14, 21
A native of Baghdad, Dr. Zaydan shared how her world suddenly changed from the life of a pharmacist, wife and mother of four to creating a make-shift emergency clinic in her garage, responding to the Iraq war just outside her door. We shared in Dr. Zaydan’s experience and journey to discernment and how she provides hope to other women and children on a daily basis.
"The Power of Global Friendships"
Amber Chand, USA/Uganda
March 2 at 8 PM EST/5PM PST
Recognized as a visionary leader, social entrepreneur, gifted writer and inspirational speaker, Amber Chand is a global woman with roots in India, Africa, Europe and America.Her work today in places such as Afghanistan, Darfur, Iraq, Israel and Palestine is a celebration of women as a global force for peace and prosperity. Through the enterprises she has launched, she offers women the opportunity to move beyond survival into a thriving life-by marketing their exquisite handmade designs. She is the co-founder of Prosperity Candle and founder of Women’s Peace Collection, two social enterprises that support the work of resilient and courageous women from areas devastated by conflict and natural disasters.
Anne Fitzgerald, USA
Feb. 23 at 8 PM EST/5PM PST
Anne Fitzgerald is an organizational consultant and leadership coach based in Waltham, MA whose consultancy, ~Spirit at Work Global~ has taken her both to boardrooms and beautiful African villages. Her focus is on women, spirituality, and the global issues of empowering women through education, micro-finance, and leadership development. Actively engaged with women in Iraq, India, and Africa, in this interview Anne will focus on the friendship she developed with Mercy Karamana Ringera at a Grassroots Women’s Conference in Bondo, Kenya in December 2006. At that meeting Mercy asked, “Would you help us sell some of the African jewelry made by the Aids widows in our community in the US?” Anne answered, “Yes, I will look into it” -- and with her Ohio cousin, Nancy Hodous, she has developed opportunities to sell over $60,000 worth of Beads 4 Peace jewelry to assist the women and their families in Kenya.
Libby Traubman, USA
Feb. 16 at 8 PM EST/5PM PST
Libby Traubman’s living room is a sacred space. For over 19 years, Israelis and Palestinians living near her home in San Mateo, California have gathered there -- on their way to friendship, dialogue, and fresh new truths about themselves and each other. From encountering historic impasses to creating new breakthroughs by reframing their stories, they all agree to the principles of dialogue – raising the bar on what could be possible in the Middle East if more would follow suit. Libby and her husband are the co-founders of “Jewish-Palestinian Living Room Dialogues.” For her service to the community and global influence, Libby was inducted into the San Mateo County Women's Hall of Fame.
Biola Adimula, Nigeria
Feb. 2 at 8 PM EST/5PM PST
As a young girl fetching water every morning, balancing wood and water atop her head in her village of Egbe Nigeria, Biola imagined herself an educated woman of the world!·· Her dream, it ends up, is not so unusual. “In Nigeria, women believe in education. We like our children to go into the law profession or medicine.” And they mean it! International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) in Nigeria is powerful and organized. These women are changing the face of that country.
Mercy Chidi, Kenya
Jan. 26 at 8PM EST/5PM PST
Seven years ago, Mercy Chidi stepped into a wasteland in rural Africa. Everywhere she looked she saw the face of AIDS in her hometown of Meru, Kenya: in the babies with AIDS abandoned by desperate mothers, in the grandmothers suddenly forced to summon their energy to raise orphaned grandkids, and in girls whose virginity was stolen by men with AIDS – men who believed a myth that this act would cure them. If that wasn’t challenging enough, she also had to traverse a spiritual wasteland – one that is inescapable for those with “impossible” dreams. Across this wasteland, Mercy took those tentative first steps toward “an idea and a hope,” all the while wondering if she had what it took to face the naysayers, the doubts within, and the tests of the physical world.
Regina Majaliwa, Tanzania
Jan. 19 at 8PM EST/5PM PST
Refusing to let her visual impairment stop her from "making a difference," Regina helped start a women’s non-profit organization called the Bukoba Women’s Empowerment Association. A self-help organization, BUWEA works with women at the grassroots level, providing services to them to help improve their educational and economic status. Learn what inspires and nourishes Regina, who knows that dedication, commitment, and believing in oneself can make a huge impact on the community!
Madelein Mkunu, South Africa
Jan. 12 at 8PM EST/5PM PST
Madelein hails from what she calls "the Mother city" - Cape Town, South Africa. A woman, wife, mother of 2 young boys, a professional and businesswoman, she is very eager to meet her global sisters! Just how does she do it all? Madelein says, "that’s exactly why we need to meet in the Global Room for Women, so you can hear all about how we juggle our lives, depending on where we live!"
Discover how she balances working with the organization she founded to help women empower themselves, Leading Women of Africa, with her home and family life. Exchange ideas and resources with this networking wonder, and learn how much we all have in common as we manage multiple roles in our busy, busy lives!
Merekaraka Caesar, New Zealand
Merekaraka is a Maori elder, the daughter of the last paramount chief of an ancient people - the Ngati Kahungunu Tribe of New Zealand. She loves and champions the preservation of her people, traditions, and beliefs called “Ringatu”. Yet, as she helps us understand, “I loved my people but (from early on) I also ached to learn more from the Whiteman, (“pakeha”) so my Journey has been exactly that. I have not let go of who I am and where I came from”.
She will share her story of straddling these two worlds – hers and the Whiteman’s - and the strategies taught to her by her mother and other Maori women if she was to make it in the dominant culture. As an international spokeswoman for peace building and indigenous rights it seems their advice worked!
Reena Ginwala, India
Reena Ginwala is a 48-year old mother of 3 daughters aged 25, 19 and 18 years, a divorced woman, and professional living in modern-day India. Our conversation with Reena will be one of a private journey through inter-faith families, arranged and love marriages, Indian spirituality and karma, and Indian secular culture. We will explore with her how these powerful forces are converging, shifting, and being redefined by modern women, like Reena, who are stretching the limits of their available options. They accept their destiny by facing life ‘head on’ in a chaotic and unstable world.
“There is a lot of chaos in India”, she shares. “What that means is there are too many dimensions and too many diverse roles for any one individual at any given time”. Her role as she sees it is to be creative in the midst of chaos – and she is convinced it is her daughters who have shown her how. And in gratitude she has returned the favor by “bailing them out of lucrative careers”, guiding them to pursue their heart’s callings in service of others rather than chasing after the almighty Indian rupee.
Itaf Awad, Palestine
Itaf comes from Daburiah, a Palestinian village in the north of Israel, near Nazareth. She is the granddaughter of Nasra Awad, midwife, healer and peacemaker from her village community, who she says is her life’s inspiration. She took charge of her family at the age of 12 and worked as assistant of the mayor of the village and was in charge of matters relating to women. Itaf is a deeply compassionate woman, facilitates meetings and women’s healing circles between Arab and Jewish women. It has changed her life and she is here to tell us why! “I want to tell you something. I used to be a very angry woman and go to demonstrations to the point where I almost became ill. What we are now doing with Nitsan and Beyond Words is not only healing the women but it is healing and protecting myself. I used to feel that I was a victim. I now have the skills to release and to not take inside me…and it is giving more power to be the peace builder I want to be”.
Nitsan Gordon – Giles, Israel
In 1967, a 7 year-old Israeli girl named Nitsan found herself in an underground shelter with her family, fighting for her life. Her home was engulfed in a region wide attack by the powerful Jordanian Army. A perplexed and disoriented Nitsan turned to her father and asked “why are they fighting us?”. His response became her defining moment.
“There are good Jews and bad Jews. And there are good and bad Arabs”, he told his daughter as a way of explaining the absurdity of war with some sense of objectivity and humanity. Nitsan shared this memory with us when we asked her “what inspires you to be a peacebuilder?”