2011 Women PeaceMakers Forum
"Women, Media, Revolution"
October 5 - 7, 2011
“Women, Media, Revolution” is a free public forum to encounter frontline journalists, filmmakers and social media citizen activists engaged in the critical examination of women in conflict and how they are using their voices in a revolution against ongoing political and cultural violence.
Coverage of women during conflict often focuses solely on violations of women’s rights to physical security and psychological well-being. It must also unmask the cultural traditions that deny women’s human rights and involvement in decision-making that could change the course of violence in their communities.
Farah Abushwesha, a Libyan-Irish writer and filmmaker, is one of the founders of Women4Libya, a campaign by Libyan civil society to get more women into leadership positions in the Libyan National Transitional Council. Her writings on women in Libya have been widely published. She also helped found the British Academy of Film and Television Arts’ Rocliffe New Writing Forums, a platform for new screenwriting talent, and is author of the forthcoming book, Rocliffe Notes: How to Get Your Screenplay Out There. She has made three award-winning short films, and her film production works includes “Late Bloomers,” with William Hurt and Isabella Rossellini.
Dee (Dianne) Aker, Ph.D., deputy director of the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice (IPJ) at the University of San Diego, is a psychological anthropologist and conflict resolution professional with 30 years of experience working with international communities and individuals in transition in Europe, Africa, Central America and South Asia. She has also produced and hosted a television series of 234 30-minute interviews with women leaders, pioneers and survivors from around the world and as a freelance journalist and monthly columnist focused on human rights and gender integration in conflict recovery. At the IPJ, Aker created and directs the Nepal Peace Initiative, WorldLink and the Women PeaceMakers Program.
Julie Bridgham, a Sundance Institute Documentary Fellow, is the director and producer of the award-winning documentary “The Sari Soldiers,” for which she received the 2008 Nestor Almendros Prize for courage and commitment in human rights filmmaking. She has traveled extensively and produced and directed numerous documentaries, including for the United Nations, the BBC, the Discovery Channel and TLC. She worked in Costa Rica as a project officer for a United Nations environmental project and in Bolivia as a researcher for a human rights organization. She holds a bachelor’s degree in international affairs and environmental studies from the University of Colorado, Boulder.
Mimi Chakarova, a photographer and filmmaker, has covered global issues examining conflict, corruption and the sex trade for the past decade. Her most recent project is “The Price of Sex,” a feature-length documentary about young Eastern European women drawn into a netherworld of sex trafficking. She has had numerous solo exhibitions on South Africa, Jamaica, Cuba, Kashmir and Eastern Europe. In 2007, Chakarova became the series curator of FRONTLINE/World’s FlashPoint, featuring the work of established and emerging photographers from around the world. Chakarova, who grew up in Bulgaria, teaches photography at the Graduate School of Journalism at UC Berkeley, where she earned her M.A. in visual studies.
Amy S. Choi, a 2011 Peace Writer for the Women PeaceMakers Program, is a freelance journalist based in Brooklyn, N.Y. Her work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Business Week, Women’s Wear Daily, The Philadelphia City Paper and Time Out New York, among other publications. Over the past decade Choi has worked with organizations such as Minds Matter and The All-Stars Project to reach out to low-income urban youth in New York using writing and performance. Taking a sabbatical in 2010 to travel through the developing world, Choi emerged with a commitment to report and write about human rights and peace activism both domestically and globally, as well as a deep commitment to gender issues. Choi holds undergraduate degrees in journalism and poetry from Northwestern University.
Prue Clarke is an Edward R. Murrow Award-winning reporter and media educator. She is an Africa contributor to the British newspaper The Times, CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) and National Public Radio. Previously with the Financial Times, Clarke’s work also appears on public radio in the United Kingdom and Canada, as well as in Canada’s Globe and Mail and Australian newspapers. A visiting associate professor at the Graduate School of Journalism at the City University of New York, she is also founder of New Narratives: Women Reporting Africa, a project training women journalists in Africa. She has master’s degrees in international affairs and journalism from Columbia University.
Cynthia E. Cohen is director of Brandeis University’s Peacebuilding and the Arts Program. She is also the principal investigator for the Acting Together project, in collaboration with Theatre Without Borders. The project is producing a documentary, toolkit and two-volume anthology. Cohen is the author of Working with Integrity: A Guidebook for Peacebuilders Asking Ethical Questions and many other articles and papers on the aesthetic and ethical dimensions of conflict transformation. She holds degrees from the University of New Hampshire, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Wesleyan University.
Katharine Daniels is the founder and executive editor of The WIP, a global source for news and women’s perspectives. Her vision is of a world where women and men value and embrace the feminine perspective for global problem-solving. Daniels earned a master’s degree in applied linguistics from Columbia University and has studied internationally. She is a member of the Global Women’s Leadership Network and a graduate of their Women Leaders for the World program at Santa Clara University’s Leavey School of Business. She is an adjunct instructor in the women’s studies department at Monterey Peninsula College.
Bijoyeta Das, a freelance photographer and multimedia journalist based in New Delhi, has reported from Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Turkey and the United States. Her work has been published in Women’s eNews, Deutsche Welle, WAMC Northeast Public Radio, All India Radio, Tribal Truth, FotoWitness and SocialDocumentary.net. Her photo story “Dreams of a Goddess” won the Silver Medal at the TashkentAle-2010 photo festival in Uzbekistan, and her short documentary film “Branded Girls” was a finalist and screened at the 2011 Women’s Voices Now Film Festival in Los Angeles. Das holds an M.A. in journalism from Northeastern University in Boston and a B.A. in history from Delhi University in India. Das is a 2011 Peace Writer for the Women PeaceMakers Program.
Kaitlin Barker Davis is editor at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice, where she initially was a peace writer for the Women PeaceMakers Program in 2009, documenting the life and work of Rubina Feroze Bhatti of Pakistan. Barker Davis interned as an editorial assistant for Sojourners, a faith-based social justice magazine in Washington, D.C. A graduate of Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, Barker Davis has worked with women and orphans in Thailand, India and Turkey and tutored a refugee family from Burma in San Diego, all of which cemented her desire to to lift up the powerful though often-muffled voices of women.
Catherine Filloux is an award-winning playwright who has been writing about human rights and social justice for the past 20 years. Her new play “Action Hero”(working title) will premiere in 2012 at La MaMa in New York City, where she is an artist in residence. Her plays have been produced in New York and around the world. She is a co-founder of Theatre Without Borders and is featured in the documentary film “Acting Together on the World Stage.” She received her M.F.A. in dramatic writing from Tisch School of the Arts at NYU and her French Baccalaureate with Honors in Toulon, France.
Melissa Fitzgerald is an actor, producer and social activist. She is best known for playing the role of Carol on the award-winning political drama "The West Wing." In 1995, she co-founded Voices in Harmony, a nonprofit youth arts organization committed to empowering at-risk teens by cultivating personal, academic and artistic excellence. Fitzgerald is currently involved in advocating for peace in Central Africa and has spoken several times on Capitol Hill. She produced the just completed “Staging Hope,” a documentary that tells the riveting story of a cross-cultural collaboration between a group of American actors and 14 Ugandan teenagers as they work together on a theater program in war-torn northern Uganda.
Heather Ford is an anthropologist and web ethnographer who works for Ushahidi, a nonprofit company that develops open source software for information collection, visualization and interactive mapping. She is the former executive director of iCommons, an international organization started by Creative Commons to connect the world’s open-education, free-culture communities. She was a co-founder of Creative Commons South Africa and of the South African nonprofit The African Commons Project, as well as a community-building initiative called the GeekRetreat. Ford graduated from the University of California Berkeley iSchool Masters of Information Management and Systems program.
Jade Frank, in three years, has built World Pulse’s online community of 10,000-plus grassroots women leaders and citizen journalists from 185 countries. She developed campaigns to connect the testimonies of women globally to support gender equality advocacy efforts at the U.S. Department of State and the United Nations. She designed the World Pulse community leadership model, a tool to recognize leaders in an online community and empower them to activate, manage and grow a global online movement. Frank is currently piloting an outreach strategy in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo to bring media training, networking opportunities and resources to women in conflict regions.
Jennifer Freeman is program officer for the Women PeaceMakers (WPM) Program at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice. Her master’s degree in peace and conflict studies is from the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland. Freeman has worked with nongovernmental organizations in Ghana, Northern Ireland, Canada and in Ugandan refugee settlements on issues of women’s rights and peacebuilding. In the WPM Program, she has served as peace writer for Sylvie Maunga Mbanga of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and for Zeinab Mohamed Blandia of Sudan, and she coordinated the 2009 conference “Bearing Exquisite Witness,” which explored the role of arts in peacebuilding.
Cristi Hegranes founded Global Press Institute five years ago. The award-winning international nonprofit organization uses journalism as a development tool to educate, employ and empower women throughout the developing world. It now operates news desks in 24 countries. The recent recipient of a Jefferson Award for Public Service and the Ida B. Wells Award for Bravery in Journalism, Hegranes holds a master’s degree from New York University. She has served as a fellow-in-residence at The Poynter Institute for Media Studies in St. Petersburg, and teaches news entrepreneurship at San Francisco State University and international media courses at California State University.
Zahra Ismail is a program officer at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice. Focused on expanding the Institute’s international field work, Ismail has extensive experience in designing and facilitating mediation, peacebuilding and training programs for a variety of audiences, most recently in Sri Lanka and South Sudan with Nonviolent Peaceforce. She has worked with various nongovernmental organizations engaged in community level mediation, international development, human rights and conflict resolution in Canada, Belgium, Austria, Thailand and Kenya. Ismail holds a B.A. Honors in human rights and political science with a concentration in international relations from Carleton University in Ottawa, and an M.A. in peace and conflict resolution from the European University Centre for Peace Studies in Austria.
Wahu Kaara, 2011 Woman PeaceMaker at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice, is a Kenyan educator and pro-democracy activist nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005 and named a 2009 Project Concern Global Humanitarian. An educator and girls’ school headmistress, her pro-democracy activism turned toward the release of political prisoners in the early ‘90s. She next founded Kenya Debt Relief Network, now a well-respected research and policy analysis group. She is active with the All Africa Council of Churches, Action Aid, Oxfam, the World Social Forum, the African Social Forum Council and the Coalition for Peace in Africa (COPA), a network for peace and security in Africa. As Kenya’s 2012 elections draw near, Kaara hopes to mobilize organizations to prevent the recurrence of the violence that occurred in 2007.
Diana Kutlow is senior program officer at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice at the University of San Diego (USD). Kutlow has managed the Joan B. Kroc Distinguished Lecture Series for eight years, bringing world leaders in peacemaking, human rights and conflict prevention to the Institute. Kutlow has represented the Institute throughout the world, including the historic International Colloquium on Women’s Empowerment, Leadership Development, International Peace and Security in Monrovia. A former public relations and journalism professional, she received a master’s degree in peace and justice studies in 2003 in the inaugural class of USD’s graduate peace studies program.
Roberta Levitow, director, dramaturge and teacher, has directed over 50 productions in New York City, Los Angeles and nationally with a focus on new work for the American theatre. She is currently the artistic associate with the Sundance Institute Theatre Program’s Sundance Institute East Africa initiative. In 2004, she co-founded Theatre Without Borders. She co-initiated, with Cynthia Cohen, the TWB/Brandeis “Theatre & Peace Building Dialogue” and is a co-initiator of the Acting Together project. She has received three Fulbright Specialist assignments and currently is a Fulbright Ambassador. A graduate of Stanford University, she has been on faculty at UCLA and Bennington College.
Sylvie Maunga Mbanga, an attorney, works with seven local organizations in the fight against sexual violence against women in the eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo. An IPJ Woman PeaceMaker in 2008, Mbanga is coordinator of the program against sexual violence for the Interchurch Organization for Development Cooperation and Church in Action, as well as a program officer at the Life and Peace Institute. Mbanga has also served as a radio correspondent for the French/Swahili service of Voice of America, and is a member of Synergy for Women Victims of Sexual Violence and Action by Christians Against Torture.
Jina Moore is a freelance multimedia journalist who covers human rights, foreign affairs and Africa. A regular correspondent for the Christian Science Monitor, her work also has appeared in Newsweek, Foreign Policy, the Boston Globe and elsewhere. Her work on the ethics in journalism about rape was a finalist for the 2011 Mirror Awards for Media Criticism. A Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting grantee, Moore has won a Fulbright Fellowship in Journalism and an Ochberg Fellowship with the Dart Society on Journalism and Trauma. This year, Moore is a visiting scholar at New York University’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute.
Alison Morse, a 2011 Peace Writer for the Women PeaceMakers Program, is a freelance writer and educator. She received her M.F.A. from Hamline University in St. Paul, Minn., where her thesis, a novel-in-progress about the war in the former Yugoslavia, won the Outstanding Thesis Award. Her articles, short stories and poetry have been published widely in print and online. She also teaches ELL to adult immigrants from all over the world and is a passionate advocate for immigrant rights. Writing is Morse’s second career. For 20 years prior, she was an animator for documentary, artistic and commercial projects and a teacher of animation. Now she uses character, setting, plot and narrative time to tell stories that promote peacebuilding and human empowerment.
Sharon Moshavi oversees new project development for the International Center for Journalists, with an emphasis on digital media projects. She also oversees projects in India and Malaysia. Previously she reported from Asia and the Middle East for more than a decade, based in New Delhi, Jerusalem and Tokyo, returning to the United States in 2003. She has written for the Boston Globe, Newsday, Business Week, Forbes, The New Republic and US News & World Report, among others. She also produced radio documentaries and essays for NPR, BBC and CBC. A native of Baltimore, she has a B.A. from Columbia University.
Emiko Noma is consulting editor for the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice (IPJ), where she has written or edited nearly two dozen narratives in the Women PeaceMakers (WPM) Program. At the IPJ she has also served as editor, interim program coordinator and peace writer for the WPM Program, and contributed to program development. In 2008, she joined the IPJ’s film partner Sun & Moon Vision Productions in Cameroon to document on film the work of Woman PeaceMaker Susan Tenjoh-Okwen for the documentary “Rhythms to Peace.” Noma received a master’s degree in conflict resolution from Portland State University.
Jennifer L. Pozner is founder of Women in Media and News (WIMN), a media analysis and advocacy group. She is also managing editor of WIMN’s Voices, the popular group blog on women and the media. Her book, Reality Bites Back: The Troubling Truth about Guilty Pleasure TV (2010), grew out of WIMN’s media analysis program. Pozner’s work has appeared in Newsday, Chicago Tribune, Ms. magazine, The American Prospect and online media outlets. A graduate of Hampshire College, Pozner has appeared as a media commentator and has spoken on women, media, politics and pop culture at more than 80 colleges across the country.
Manjula Pradeep is a human rights activist and lawyer who has spent her life defending the rights of India’s women and Dalits, the “untouchables” of the Hindu caste system. A Dalit herself, Pradeep is executive director of Navsarjan Trust, a nationally influential grassroots Dalit rights organization based in India’s Gujarat state. In her 19 years with Navsarjan, she has trained hundreds of Dalit activists, provided legal aid and intervention for sexual violence and caste-based atrocities. Pradeep is also involved in the national and state level programs of the National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights, and in 2001 raised the visibility of Dalit rights at the U.N. World Conference against Racism in South Africa. She is a 2011 Woman PeaceMaker at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice.
Nikki Lyn Pugh is a writer, editor and teacher with a B.A. in ethnic studies from UCSD and an M.F.A. in creative writing from the University of New Orleans. As an undergraduate, she worked as media coordinator for the Support Committee for Maquiladora Workers in San Diego and with homeless rights organizations in Los Angeles. In her first year at the University of New Orleans, she was evacuated during Hurricane Katrina and assisted in gathering dozens of narratives as part of the two-part anthology Voices Rising. As editor of the San Diego-based Vision Magazine and a freelance journalist, she has published articles on human rights, cross-border organizing, personal development, alternative health and education. Pugh is a 2011 Peace Writer for the Women PeaceMakers Program.
Mandira Raut is the projects director of Kathmandu-based Today’s Youth Asia (TYA), a multimedia youth news organization. She also is the producer of TYA Television shows, which air daily on Nepal Television Plus. Raut joined TYA in 2003 as a trainee of the School Representative Media Training project. Among other events, she has been a speaker or delegate to the U.S. Department of State International Visitor Leadership Program (2009) and the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice conflict resolution workshops in Nepal.
Gini Reticker, a multiple Emmy Award winner, is an executive producer of the five-part PBS series, “Women, War & Peace.” She directed both the second episode set in Liberia, “Pray the Devil Back to Hell,” and the third in Afghanistan, “Peace Unveiled,” which is being screened during the forum. Reticker produced “Asylum,” the 2004 Academy Award-nominated short focusing on a Ghanaian woman who fled female genital mutilation to seek asylum in the U.S. She also produced and directed the 2005 Emmy Award-winning documentary "Ladies First," which focuses on the role of women in rebuilding post-genocide Rwanda.
Yasmine Ryan is a journalist for Al Jazeera English. She was covering last winter’s Tunisian Uprising well before other English-speaking journalists realized the significance of the protest movement that would soon spread throughout much of the rest of the Arab world. She was also the first journalist to examine the battles for freedom of expression between cyber dissidents and the authorities that have since received so much attention, in an article titled “Tunisia’s bitter cyberwar.” Ryan will be covering what Tunisians hope to be their first free and fair election in October. Before joining Al Jazeera, Ryan worked for the International Herald Tribune, the global edition of The New York Times.
Zainab Salbi is founder of Women for Women International, a grassroots humanitarian and development organization helping women survivors of wars to rebuild their lives. Since 1993, the organization has helped 250,000 women access social and economic opportunities through rights awareness training, vocational education and access to income-generating opportunities. Recipient of numerous awards, Salbi was recently nominated by former President Bill Clinton as one of the Harper’s Bazaar 21st Century Heroines. She is a member of the U.N. Secretary-General’s Civil Society Advisory Group focusing on U.N. Security Council Resolution 1325. She has a master’s degree from the London School of Economics and Political Science.
Sapna Shahani is the founder-director of WAVE India (Women Aloud Videoblogging for Empowerment). A native of Bombay (Mumbai), Shahani studied mass communications in the United States and worked for over five years at India West newspaper and a Berkeley public access TV station. Back in India and armed with support from the MacArthur Foundation, Shahani established WAVE India to mentors low-income young women as videobloggers. Shahani is committed to encouraging women in India to harness the power of the Internet and digital media to voice their opinions in the public domain, lead local community development and connect with global thinkers.
Necla Tschirgi, Ph.D., is professor of practice in human security and peacebuilding in the
Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies at the University of San Diego. A native of Turkey, she received her B.A. and M.A. in political science at the American University of Beirut and her Ph.D. in political economy at the University of Toronto. Her extensive international career has spanned research, policy analysis, teaching, research management and grant making. In the last 15 years, she has increasingly specialized in conflict prevention and peacebuilding – focusing on the nexus between security and development.
Femke and Ilse van Velzen are identical twin sisters and a documentary filmmaking team from the Netherlands who aim to expose cultural injustices. The sisters studied social and cultural development in Amsterdam and Utrecht and then began their own production company IFPRODUCTIONS in March 2003. Among the films they have made are “Bush Kids,” “Return to Angola,” “Fighting the Silence,” and most recently “Weapon of War,” which won the Gouden Kalf award (the Dutch Oscar) at the Dutch Film Festival and is being screened at the forum.
Frieda Werden is co-founder and series producer of WINGS: Women’s International News Gathering Service, a syndicated weekly radio program by and about women around the world. She worked for NPR and other public broadcasting entities, helped the Foundation for a Compassionate Society establish Women’s Access to Electronic Resources, provided media consultation to the Ford Foundation and sat on the International Telecommunications Union Task Force on Gender Issues. She served as president of the International Association of Women in Radio and TV and vice-president of l’Association Mondiale des Radiodiffuseurs Communautaires. She currently lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, and works as Public Affairs Coordinator of the campus radio station at Simon Fraser University.
Claudette Werleigh, a 2011 Woman PeaceMaker at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice, began her work for justice and peace in Haiti with a school for adults. Under the dictatorship of Jean-Claude Duvalier, Werleigh served as secretary general of Caritas Haiti for 10 years. The 1991 coup d’etat that overthrew Haiti’s first democratically elected government convinced her of the need to work for peace. She made history as Haiti’s first female prime minister during the Aristide administration in 1995.Werleigh’s peace work has also taken her outside of Haiti’s borders, first as the director of conflict transformation programs at the Life and Peace Institute in Sweden until 2007, and then with Pax Christi where she was secretary general until this year and now serves as a peace envoy.
Rashad Zaydan, an Iraqi pharmacist and 2011 Woman PeaceMaker at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice, is the founder and head of the development organization Knowledge for Iraqi Women Society (K4IWS). Throughout multiple wars in her native Iraq, she helped in charity clinics and distributed survival goods and food. At the beginning of the U.S.-led invasion, she organized basic first aid emergency training for women before founding K4IWS, which responded to the Fallujah attacks in 2004 with relief and medical aid. Through K4IWS, Dr. Zaydan seeks to rebuild the tattered lives of Iraqi widows, women and children through educational, financial, occupational and medical services.
Debra Zimmerman has been the executive director of Women Make Movies (WMM), a nonprofit New York-based film organization that supports women filmmakers, since 1983. During her tenure it has grown into the largest distributor of films by and about women in the world. Films from WMM have won prizes at the last three Sundance Film Festivals. Zimmerman is in great demand around the world as a speaker, mentor, consultant and advisory board member. Most recently she served on the NJ State Council on the Arts media panel and the Pew Charitable Trust’s prestigious Media Fellowship panel, as well as on the jury for the Leipzig Documentary Film Festival and the Cleveland International Film Festival.