Background and Rationale
States continue to fall short of negotiating an inclusive vision for peace and security. Existing platforms tackling peace and security have increased since the Beijing declaration in 1995 and the United Nations Security Council 1325 on Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) that address the impact of war on women and the importance of women’s full and equal participation in conflict resolution, peacebuilding, peacekeeping, humanitarian response and in post-conflict resolution. Resolution 1325 “required political transitions to be inclusive, gender-sensitive and transformative”. There is power in collective organizing and collective voice. The latter is needed more than ever in Libya, Yemen, Syria, Palestine, and Iraq, where protracted conflicts continue to sideline women and women’s rights.
At the same time, women across the MENA region in civil society, academia, business, law, and journalism are challenging oppressive structures and working on an inclusive version of peace and security platforms and agendas. It is their individual stories, voices, and priorities that need to shape peace and security platforms and agendas. It is not just about women deserving a seat at the table, it is also about changing what gets discussed at the table and recognizing that women have also started tables of their own. They need to be positioned as leaders who can influence peace and security through their personal narratives and experiences. They will also form part of multi-sector national and transnational coalitions of other women’s groups and allies and be connected among each other, as well as with institutions and actors in the European Union (EU) and internationally to advance inclusive policies for peace and security.
Reinforcing international frameworks on WPS and widening their reach beyond formal peace negotiations, the Supporting Arab Women at the Table (SAWT) Regional Fellowship facilitates the effective and meaningful participation of emerging women leaders and grassroots activists in political spheres from Libya, Yemen, Palestine, and Iraq. It builds their capacity and ensures their voices are heard through national, regional, and international platforms for knowledge sharing, evidence-based advocacy, and policymaking. It will provide platforms for activists and organizers from different sectors to share experiences and contribute to collective mobilizing for a more inclusive peace and security agenda. It will contribute to the inclusion of gender perspectives in peacebuilding, governance, and post-conflict reconstruction and address structural and institutional barriers that prevent women from meaningfully participating in peacebuilding. Thus, enabling an inclusive women-owned homegrown approach and vision for what a feminist peace looks like.
It also aims at quantitatively and qualitatively increasing women’s meaningful inclusion in peace processes in the MENA region – improving their ability to influence outcomes and establish post-conflict gender-egalitarian frameworks. It focuses on the emergence of a new generation of women activists with enhanced capacity, skills, and confidence. It creates new venues and mechanisms for cross-regional, intergenerational, cross-sectorial exchange and coalition-building for shared learning and collective action planning. It also generates key forums for South-to-North exchanges that provide unique opportunities for knowledge production and sharing, advocacy, and policy influencing.
The fellowship program falls under the SAWT overall project, which is funded by the European Union (EU) with the Arab Reform Initiative (ARI) as the lead partner and implemented through a consortium of partners consisting of the American University of Beirut (AUB) with a regional scope, Together We Build It in Libya, the Sana’a Center for Strategic Studies in Yemen, ARI in Syria, the Culture and Free Thought Association in Palestine and the Iraqi Al-Amal Association in Iraq.
- Equip women with the tools and organizational and leadership skills needed to advance an inclusive peace and security agenda.
- Establish a network of advocates from different areas of expertise who can lobby for more inclusive peace and security platforms.
- Create tables for dialogue and circles of influence that cut across generations, geographical boundaries, and disciplines focused on an inclusive peace and security agenda.
- Challenge existing peace and security platforms that exclude women’s voices and that are not representative of the lived experiences of women.
- Position women as organizers and leaders who can influence peace and security through their personal narratives and experiences.
- Mobilize multi-sector national and transnational coalitions of women’s groups and allies to promote an inclusive vision for peace and security.
- Connect women from the region with institutions and actors in the EU and internationally to advance inclusive policies for peace and security.
Language of Instruction
The language of the modules and the summer fellowship is Arabic.
30 women from Libya, Yemen, Syria, Palestine, and Iraq
- Organizing in times of conflict and emergency
- Envisioning feminist peace and security policies
- Building alliances and organizing across borders
- Summer Fellowship (in person at the American University of Beirut)
- Coalitions for regional and international influence
Asfari Institute for Civil Society and Citizenship
American University of Beirut
PO Box 11-0236
Riad El Solh, 1107 2020
Tel: +961-1-350000 EXT. 4469
The Debs Center, 3 Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, 8th floor
New York, NY 10017-2303, USA