Upcoming Events

  • Women's Voices on Screen - Global Solidarity Against Global Gender Violence

    Thursday, December 08, 2016 at 07:30 PM
    Venice Arts in Venice, CA

    RESERVE YOUR TICKETS HERE!

    Thursday, December 8th, we come together for our final installment of Women's Voices on Screen for a special program focusing on "Global Solidarity Against Global Gender Violence." The screening is scheduled in conjunction with Human Rights Day (December 10th), an annual commemoration of the monumental event in 1948 when the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

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    We are honored to be joined by Patricia (Patti) Giggans, Executive Director of Peace Over Violence, sexual and domestic violence, stalking, child abuse and youth violence prevention center headquartered in Los Angeles and dedicated to building healthy relationships, families and communities free from sexual, domestic and interpersonal violence; established in 1971.

    Patti Giggans has been the Executive Director of Peace Over Violence (formerly Los Angeles Commission on Assaults Against Women) since 1985. A black belt in karate and Master Self-Defense Trainer, Patti founded the first women’s martial arts school in Southern California in 1978. Patti received her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the State University of NY at Buffalo and her Master’s degree in Non-profit Administration from the University of San Francisco.

    She has received numerous awards including The California Peace Prize from The California Wellness Foundation, “Woman of the Year” from the Los Angeles County Commission for Women in 2002, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence (CPEDV), and a Durfee Foundation Sabbatical Award in 1998.

    Patti has held numerous leadership and advisory positions in the sexual assault and domestic violence arena both statewide and nationally, and she is considered a national expert on sexual and domestic violence, teen dating violence, and youth violence prevention.She has spearheaded the creation of several violence prevention curricula and is the co-author of What Parents Need to Know About Teen Dating Violence and 50 Ways to a Safer World. 

     

    Featured Films: 

    We Live in the 21st Century! | Dir. Hilda Hashempour | Canada | 2007

    Breaking the Silence: Moroccans Speak Out | GlobalGirl Media Morocco | Morocco | 2013


     FREE WITH RSVP 

    Please confirm your attendance HERE.
    7:30pm reception, 8:00pm screening

    HELP SPREAD THE WORD FOR THIS EVENT: 

    via Twitter - bit.ly/gendviolence

    via Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/events/1751365531808652/

    Co-presented by WOMEN'S VOICES NOW + VENICE ARTS, "Women's Voices on Screen" is a monthly film screening and discussion series sparking discovery and understanding of the the fight for women's rights championed by filmmakers and activists worldwide.

    Past Events

  • Women's Voices on Screen - We are Part of the Landscape: Experimental Films

    Thursday, November 17, 2016 at 07:30 PM
    Venice Arts in Venice, CA

    RESERVE YOUR TICKETS HERE!

    "We Are Part of the Landscape: Experimental Films" presents a diverse set of six experimental films that creatively grapple with issues of sexual repression, sexual harassment, sexuality, and the concept of bodily freedom.

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    WVN Program Director and Award-winning Filmmaker Leila Jarman will explore the depth and dimension of these works in discussion with special guest and dear friend of Women's Voices Now, Eszter Zimányi, PhD candidate, USC School of Cinematic Arts.

    Eszter Zimanyi is a PhD student and Annenberg Fellow in Cinema and Media Studies at the University of Southern California. She is a co-organizer of USC’s Middle East Film Screening Series, and served as the editorial assistant for Return of The Mecca: The Art of Islam and Hip-Hop, a 120-page commemorative book celebrating the art exhibit of the same name. She also acted as a curatorial assistant for Histories Absolved: Revolutionary Cuban Poster Art and the Muslim International, which showcased rare posters from Cuba’s OSPAAAL collective. Eszter’s work has been published in Transnational Cinemas, Media Fields Journal, Jadaliyya, and Enclave Review. She also served as the lead research assistant for the book Fifty Years of the Battle of Algiers: Past as Prologue, authored by Sohail Daulatzai. Most recently, Eszter co-edited an issue of the media studies journal Spectator. Her current research considers the historical and ideological connections between the Cold War and the War on Terror through examining narratives of displacement and exile between Eastern Europe and the greater Middle East. Eszter's research interests include migration, diaspora, and refugee studies, global and transnational media, postcolonial and postsocialist studies, documentary, and digital media.

    Leila Jarman is a Los Angeles-based filmmaker and video artist. Her works have screened at film festivals, galleries and museums including the TATE Britain, Ars Electronica and her films have been featured on media outlets such as VICE and The Creator's Project. As Program Director and filmmaker-in-residence at Women's Voices Now, Leila heads the fiscal sponsorship program, providing mentorship for filmmakers as well as curating and organizing film screenings and advocacy events in Los Angeles and abroad. Voice of the Valley, her 2013 documentary directorial debut, followed the professional career of two self-made Muslim women journalists and their struggle to overcome social and cultural barriers to produce the first female produced socio-political radio program in Jordan. She holds a bachelor's degree in Political Science and Middle Eastern Studies.

    Voice of the Valley, her 2009 documentary directorial debut, followed the professional career of two self-made Muslim women journalists and their struggle to overcome social and cultural barriers to produce the most important social, political, and economic radio program in Jordan. She speaks Farsi and Portuguese.

    Featured Films:

    Get Along | Dir. Parya Vatankhah | Iran | 2013

    The Nonsense |Dir. Noha Redwan | Egypt | 2011

    The Reflex | Dir. Ali and Hussein Mousavi | Afghanistan | 2013

    Blobfish | Dir. Ugur Ferhat Kormaz | Turkey | 2013

    Vomit II | Dir. Celia Eslamieh Shomal | Iran & Netherlands | 2013

    Somaye | Dir. Mostafa Heravi | Netherlands | 2009


    FREE WITH RSVP 

    Please confirm your attendance HERE.
    7:30pm reception, 8:00pm screening

    HELP SPREAD THE WORD FOR THIS EVENT:

    via Twitter - bit.ly/experiflm

    via Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/events/1659718737678122/

    Co-presented by WOMEN'S VOICES NOW + VENICE ARTS, "Women's Voices on Screen" is a monthly film screening and discussion series sparking discovery and understanding of the the fight for women's rights championed by filmmakers and activists worldwide.

  • Women's Voices on Screen - The Oppressions of Tradition: Breaking Free

    Thursday, October 27, 2016 at 07:30 PM
    Venice Arts in Venice, CA

    RESERVE YOUR TICKETS HERE!

    "The Oppressions of Tradition: Breaking Free" will feature a selection of shorts exploring the myriad ways tradition can restrict and undermine women's movement, value, and livelihood -- and how women challenge these norms on the path to self-actualization all over the world, every day.

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    Moderated by WVN Program Director Leila Jarman, Women's Voices Now is excited to introduce a special guest who will be our evening's discussant:

    Emma Nesper Holm is the Acting Associate Director for American Jewish World Service (AJWS) in Southern California, where she stewards major donors and produces events to mobilize supporters to promote human rights and end poverty in developing countries. For the five years before she joined AJWS, Emma developed policy and public health communications to expand access to maternal health medicines in developing countries with Venture Strategies Innovations (VSI). While pursuing her master’s degree in African Studies at UCLA, Emma worked for the Globalization Research Center-Africa and served as co-chair of the African Activist Association. She also interned for Human Rights Watch’s Student Task Force in Los Angeles and Tostan, an AJWS grantee in Senegal committed to a human rights-based approach to sustainable development. Emma holds a bachelor’s in anthropology and journalism and mass communications from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is highly proficient in French, and has limited working proficiency in Wolof and elementary proficiency in Yoruba.

     

    Featured Short Films for the Evening:

    Male and Female | Egypt | 2010

    Jazbaa: A Strong Will | India | 2010

    Voices of the Forest: Thailand | Thailand/USA | 2015 

    Avant Propos | Tunisia | 2007

    On the Road: Khushi’s Story | India | 2016 

     


     

    FREE WITH RSVP 

    Please confirm your attendance HERE.
    7:30pm reception, 8:00pm screening

    HELP SPREAD THE WORD FOR THIS EVENT: 

    via Twitter - 

    via Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/events/649875691833552/

    Co-presented by WOMEN'S VOICES NOW + VENICE ARTS, "Women's Voices on Screen" is a monthly film screening and discussion series sparking discovery and understanding of the the fight for women's rights championed by filmmakers and activists worldwide.

    Click the image below to view the complete schedule and programming for the rest of 2016.

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  • Women's Voices on Screen - Struggles and Triumphs of Stateless Women

    Thursday, September 22, 2016 at 07:30 PM
    Venice Arts in Venice, CA

    RESERVE YOUR TICKETS HERE!

    "Struggles and Triumphs of Stateless Women" will transport us to Iraqi Kurdistan, Turkey, and the West Bank in order to better understand the two-fold set of challenges faced by women who are part of "stateless nations." Our conversation will be centered around two short narrative films, and a short documentary portraying the lives of four women in the West Bank.

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    Leading the Q&A discussion following the films is WVN Executive Director Heidi Basch-Harod. Heidi is the author of numerous print and online articles and op-eds examining the women in the Middle East and North Africa (especially Kurdish women of Turkey and Syria), and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Heidi has served as the executive director of Women’s Voices Now since 2012, in which capacity she created and is co-editor of The WVoice. Heidi is a junior researcher at the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies at Tel Aviv University. She holds an MA in Middle Eastern and African Studies from Tel Aviv University (2013), an MA in Public Policy from New England College (2007), and a BA in Political Science from UC Berkeley (2003), with a double minor in Peace and Conflict Studies, and Religious Studies. 

     

    FILM SYNOPSES:

     

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    Heart on Fire (Dir. Beri Shalmashi | Kurdistan | 2013)

    Derya tries to deal with the wounds of the past. But her badly burned body makes it complicated to just wash things off and move on.This film is based on the horrible reality of self-immolations and honor conflicts in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. 

     

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    Berxen Kulek (Dir. Yunus Yildirim | Turkey | 2013)

    Neco is a Kurdish nomad who decides to sell his late brother’s wife to another man, as is his right according traditional Kurdish custom. Faced with the reality that doing so will separate his niece from her mother, Neco must make the decision nevertheless.

     

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    Thorns and Silk (Dir. Paulina Tervo | West Bank | 2009)

    Four real stories featuring women from Palestine who work in male-dominated jobs. This film explores how they break traditional rules, but not without challenges.

     

     


     

    FREE WITH RSVP 

    Please confirm your attendance HERE.
    7:30pm reception, 8:00pm screening

    HELP SPREAD THE WORD FOR THIS EVENT: 

    via Twitter - http://bit.ly/kurdwmn

    via Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/events/149601272143705/

    Co-presented by WOMEN'S VOICES NOW + VENICE ARTS, "Women's Voices on Screen" is a monthly film screening and discussion series sparking discovery and understanding of the the fight for women's rights championed by filmmakers and activists worldwide.

    Click the image below to view the complete schedule and programming for the year.

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  • women's voices on screen - masculine feminine the role of men in women's equality

    Thursday, August 25, 2016 at 07:30 PM
    Venice Arts in Venice, CA

    RESERVE YOUR TICKETS HERE!

    During "Masculine, Feminine: The Role of Men in Women's Equality," we will watch two short films: In Search of America, Inshallah and In Limbo: Kashmir's Half Widows

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    The evening's discussion will be moderated by WVN Film Festival Director Kelsey Cherland, who will be joined by three members of the cast and crew of In Search of America, Inshallah.

     

    Meet the Speakers:

     

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    Roopashree Jeevaji plays the leading role of Shaheen Ilyas in In search of America, Inshallahfor which she received the Best Actress Award at the California Women’s Film Festival in 2014. Her film debut was in the romantic comedy Wedding Crashers.

     

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    Nicholas (Nico) Guilak plays the role of Shaheen's husband, Ali Ilyas. Some of Nico's industry credits include: Saving Jessica LynchHomeland Security for NBC; feature films RetributionOf God and KingsSolar Flight,The Lost Room,The Exquisite ContinentDelta FarceGot PapersDouble DeceptionTwo CoyotesWill UnpluggedLet the Devil Wear BlackCruel Intention2, among others.

     

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    Gaya Bhola is the Executive Producer of In Search of America, Inshallah, and the Co-Writer and Producer of Director Danish Renzu's upcoming feature film Half Widow, the first full-length narrative film to portray the plight of the half-widows of the Kashmir.


     

    FREE WITH RSVP 

    Please confirm your attendance HERE.
    7:30pm reception, 8:00pm screening

    Co-presented by WOMEN'S VOICES NOW + VENICE ARTS, "Women's Voices on Screen" is a monthly film screening and discussion series sparking discovery and understanding of the the fight for women's rights championed by filmmakers and activists worldwide.

    Click the image below to view the complete schedule and programming for the rest of 2016.

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  • Women's Voices on Screen - Syria's Courageous Women

    Thursday, June 23, 2016 at 07:30 PM
    Venice Arts in Venice, CA

    In "Syria's Courageous Women," we will screen the feature length documentary, The Light In Her Eyes (Dirs. Meltzer & Nix). The film focuses upon the story of Houda al-Habash, a conservative Muslim preacher, who founded a Qur’an school for girls 30 years ago. Until the civil war currently wreaking havoc on Syria, her female students immersed themselves in a rigorous study of Islam. Filmed right before the uprising in Syria began, The Light in Her Eyes offers an extraordinary portrait of a leader who challenges the women of her community to live according to Islam, without giving up their dreams. 

    Taking place on June 23, three days after World Refugee Day (June 20), we have invited three specials guest to further inform us on the current situation of Syrian refugees, and the opportunity to provide our assistance to Syrian families struggling to survive in the ongoing war. 

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    Nada Hashem is the Director of Operations at Karam Foundation. Nada coordinates the bi-annual innovative education missions to Syrian border towns in southern Turkey. She has 5 years of experience in organizing nationwide and worldwide campaigns to raise awareness about the needs of the people in Syria and the ongoing refugee crisis.

     

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    Artist Fadia Afashe proudly describes herself not only as a visual artist, but a writer, and activist. Afashe wrote and produced "Suspended" (2011), a short film about women exposing how the laws of rape in the Arab world leave women unprotected and disenfranchised.

     

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    Famous Syrian actorJay Abdo, appeared in more than 40 films and over 1000 episodes of television. Jay refused to publicly support the repressive Syrian regime in 2011, and that led to personal threats and professional pressure. In 2012, the regime left him with no option but to leave his family and fame behind and flee Syria to the United States where his wife, Fadia Afashe, was studying. Abdo most recently appeared alongside Nicole Kidman in Queen of the Desert (2015), and Tom Hanks in A Hologram for the King (2016).

     

    JOIN US to learn about the complexities of the conflict and how we can contribute to relief efforts carried out by Karam Foundation!

    HELP SPREAD THE WORD FOR THIS EVENT: 

    via Twitter - bit.ly/wvnlight 

    via Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/events/135997426804396/

    FREE WITH RSVP 
    Please confirm your attendance HERE.
    7:30pm reception, 8:00pm screening

    Co-presented by WOMEN'S VOICES NOW + VENICE ARTS, "Women's Voices on Screen" is a monthly film screening and discussion series sparking discovery and understanding of the the fight for women's rights championed by filmmakers and activists worldwide.

    Click the image below to view the complete schedule for the year.

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  • Women's Voices on Screen - Striving for a Better Future

    Thursday, May 26, 2016 at 07:30 PM
    Venice Arts in Venice, CA

    "STRIVING FOR A BETTER FUTURE, STRUGGLING TO BE A STUDENT" will feature four short documentary films that will bring us from Afghanistan to Senegal, to China, and to Myanmar (Burma). Each unique work tells the stories of students, young and old, striving to pursue the human right to an education. We will learn of the social, economic, and geographic barriers that challenge the female subjects of the films in their quest to fulfill their potential.

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    We are honored to have as our discussant Venice Arts' lead filmmaker, Christian Rozier,  documentary filmmaker and educator. The May screening will take place on Thursday, May 26th, 2016, at 7:30p.m.

    FREE WITH RSVP 
    Please confirm your attendance HERE.
    7:30pm reception, 8:00pm screening

    Co-presented by WOMEN'S VOICES NOW + VENICE ARTS, "Women's Voices on Screen" is a monthly film screening and discussion series sparking discovery and understanding of the the fight for women's rights championed by filmmakers and activists worldwide.

    Click the image below to view the complete schedule for the year.

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    We look forward to seeing you every month! 

  • Women's Voices on Screen

    Thursday, April 21, 2016 at 07:30 PM
    Venice Arts in Venice, CA

    "HEALING & PEACEMAKING: IN HER OWN WORDS" will feature two inspiring short documentary films on the resilience of women in Afghanistan and Bangladesh, seeking to improve their communities by taking an active part in growth and development opportunities. 

    Co-presented by WOMEN'S VOICES NOW + VENICE ARTS, "Women's Voices on Screen" is a monthly film screening and discussion series sparking discovery and understanding of the the fight for women's rights championed by filmmakers and activists worldwide.

    Click the image below to view the complete schedule for the year.

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    Our April screening, "HEALING & PEACEMAKING: IN HER OWN WORDS," moderated by Marissa Roth, documentary photographer and photojournalist, will take place on Thursday, April 21st, 2016.

    FREE WITH RSVP 
    Please confirm your attendance HERE.
    7:30pm reception, 8:00pm screening

    We look forward to seeing you every month!

     

  • Women's Voices on Screen 1 rsvp

    Thursday, March 24, 2016 at 07:30 PM
    Venice Arts in Venice, CA

    "FOCUS ON IRAN" features three moving short films on the struggles of women in Iran to physically exist in Iranian public society, simply because they are women.

    Co-presented by WOMEN'S VOICES NOW + VENICE ARTS, "Women's Voices on Screen" is a monthly film screening and discussion series sparking discovery and understanding of the the fight for women's rights championed by filmmakers and activists worldwide.

    Click the image below to view the complete schedule.

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    Our March screening, "Focus on Iran," moderated by artist Amitis Motevalli, and Iranian human rights activist Roxana Ganji, will take place on Thursday, March 24th, 2016.

    FREE WITH RSVP

    Please confirm your attendance HERE.

    7:30pm reception, 8:00pm screening

    We look forward to seeing you every month!

  • Women's Voices on Screen - Women Without Men

    Thursday, February 25, 2016 at 07:00 PM
    Venice Arts in Venice, CA

    Co-presented by WOMEN'S VOICES NOW + VENICE ARTS, Women's Voices Now is a new, monthly film screening and discussion series sparking discovery and understanding of the struggles and triumphs of women, filmmakers, and activists worldwide.

    Click the image below to view the complete schedule.

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    Our February screening, "Women Without Men," moderated by WVN Executive Director Heidi Basch-Harod will take place on Thursday, February 25th.

    FREE WITH RSVP
    Seating is limited, please confirm your attendance HERE.
    7pm reception, 7:30pm screening

    We look forward to seeing you every month!

  • Women's Voices on Screen - India's Daughter

    Thursday, January 21, 2016 at 07:00 PM
    Venice Arts in Venice, CA

    India’s Daughter (2015/UK/India, 62 minutes)

    A film by Leslee Udwin.

    The screening was followed by a Q+A with director Leslee Udwin, moderated by WVN Advisor Roopashree Jeevaji.

    INDIA’S DAUGHTER is the powerful story of the 2012, brutal gang rape on a Delhi bus of a 23 year old medical student, who later died from her injuries. In 2012, the incident made international headlines and ignited protests by women in India and around the world. India’s government banned the film while the BBC moved their planned broadcast up by days and ignited a new controversy. An impassioned plea for change, INDIA’S DAUGHTER pays tribute to a remarkable and inspiring young woman and explores the compelling human stories behind the incident and the political ramifications throughout India. But beyond India, the film lays bare the way in which societies and their patriarchal values have spawned such acts of violence globally.

    FREE WITH RSVP
    Seating is limited, please confirm your attendance
    7pm reception, 7:30pm screening

    Leslee Udwin, producer-director, has won the British Academy Award (BAFTA) for her feature film East is East, and her drama-documentary Who Bombed Birmingham, starring John Hurt, helped release six Irishmen from 17 years of wrongful imprisonment.

    Co-presented by VENICE ARTS + WOMEN'S VOICES NOW, this event is part of a new, monthly film screening and discussion series sparking discovery and understanding of the struggles and triumphs of women, filmmakers, and activists worldwide.

  • Four Words - the Campaign 1 rsvp

    Monday, September 21, 2015 at 11:59 PM through September 22, 2015
    Four Words the Film - #Bring Back Our Girls

    Four Words is a short film dedicated to the kidnapped school girls of Nigeria. The purpose of this project is to create a high-quality film that reaches world attention in a way that the school girls and the fact that they are still missing will not be forgotten. In this way we can support their rescue and encourage others to do so.

    Women's Voices Now proudly invites you to help the Four Words film crew to raise the funds to make this movie happen.

    WE NEED YOUR HELP!

    Our goal is to raise $45,000 for this film.

    WE HAVE UNTIL SEPTEMBER 21, 2015.

    With your generous TAX-DEDUCTIBLE contribution you can help us make this film and raise awareness about the kidnapped school girls in Nigeria, who struggle to pursue their dreams.

    TO LEARN MORE ABOUT HOW YOU CAN SUPPORT THIS CAMPAIGN AND THE PRIZES YOU WILL RECEIVE FOR DOING SO, CLICK HERE TO VISIT THE FOUR WORDS FILM SPONSORSHIP PAGE.

    Support this Film

  • WVN Hosts "The Price of Honor" Screening in San Francisco, August 11, 2015

    Tuesday, August 11, 2015 at 06:30 PM
    WVN Hosts "The Price of Honor" Screening in San Francisco, CA

    Join Women's Voices Now in San Francisco for a screening and discussion of an award-winning documentary.

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    The Price of Honor is a multi-award winning documentary film about the murders of Amina and Sarah Said, teenage sisters from Texas who were killed in a premeditated “honor killing” in 2008 by their father, Yaser Said, who fled the crime scene and remains at large. This film aims to bring awareness to the global issue of honor violence and to raise the bar on how social services and law enforcement handle honor violence in the United States. View the trailer here.

    PURCHASE TICKETS HERE $10

    AMC Van Ness 14 in San Francisco

    Featuring: Amy Logan, Women's Voices Now advisor, consulting producer, and global women’s rights activist

    PURCHASE TICKETS HERE

    A global women’s human rights activist, Amy Logan is the author of The Seven Perfumes of Sacrifice, a suspense novel about the search for the ancient, lost origins of honor killing in the Middle East. Amy is featured in and the Consulting Producer for The Price of Honor, an award-winning documentary film about an unsolved double honor killing case in Texas from 2008 that premiered in 2014 and hit film festivals worldwide in 2015.

    Amy has presented her research on honor violence to UN Women, and at Oxford University, NYU, USC, and Gediz University, Turkey. Amy’s essays, letters and journalism have appeared in Harper’s, The New York Times Magazine, The Los Angeles Times, The Good Men Project and The International Museum of Women, among many others.

    She is the Co-President of the U.S. National Committee for UN Women, San Francisco Bay Chapter.

    Amy’s mission is to empower women to co-create a world with men where everyone thrives. Visit Amy at www.amylogan.com.

    CLICK HERE FOR PRESS RELEASE

  • Honor Violence in the USA: Another Reason to Ratify CEDAW Now, June 10, 2015, U.S. Capitol Building, Washington, D.C., Orientation Theater North 1 rsvp

    Wednesday, June 10, 2015 at 06:00 PM
    Honor Violence in the USA: Another Reason to Ratify CEDAW Now, June 10, 2015, U.S. Capitol Building, Washington, D.C., Orientation Theater North in Washington D.C., DC

    Women's Voices Now is proud to co-host a special abridged screening, on Capitol Hill, of The Price of Honor(2014). This award-winning documentary about the murders of Amina and Sarah Said, teenage sisters from Lewisville, Texas, who were killed in a premeditated “honor killing” in 2008, chronicles the lives of the sisters and the path to their eventual murders by their own father, Yaser Said, who fled the crime scene and remains at large.

    “Honor Violence in the USA: Another Reason to Ratify CEDAW Now”

    Hosted by Rep. Donna F. Edwards (D-MD)

    Wednesday, June 10, 2015

    U.S. Capitol Building

    Orientation Theater North

    Washington, D.C.

    6:00 – 8:30 pm

    Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), sponsors of House Resolution 145, which calls on the Senate to ratify CEDAW, the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, and other panelists will discuss “honor violence,” an issue impacting women and girls in the USA and beyond that could be mitigated when CEDAW is implemented.

    An abridged version of the 2014 award-winning documentary

    “The Price of Honor”

    about an “honor killing” case in the USA, will be shown.

    Panelists

    Naila Amin, American forced child marriage survivor

    Xoel Pamos and Neena Nejad, activists and creators of “The Price of Honor”

    Amy Logan , “The Price of Honor” consulting producer, Women's Voices Now Advisor, activist & author

    Cynthia Helba, Ph.D., Westat researcher leading work on honor violence for DOJ

    Stephanie Baric, AHA Foundation executive director

    Ruth Trotter, honor violence activist

    Diana Arango, World Bank Gender Group

    Zainab Zeb Khan, global women's right activist; President of MALA; Women's Voices Now Advisor

    Event Hosts

    Rep. Donna Edwards (D-MD)

    Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY)

    Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL)

    AHA Foundation

    ICAN - International Civil Society Action Network

    Jewish Women International

    Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

    Muslim American Leadership Alliance

    Muslims Facing ;Tomorrow

    Never a Memory Foundation

    The National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd

    UN Association of the National Capital Area, CEDAW in DC Committee

    US National Committee for UN Women, National Capital Chapter

    WIN – Women’s Information Network

    Women’s Voices Now

    YWCA National Capital Area

    Please click to RSVP

    For more information contact:

    Amy Logan - Amy@amylogan.com

    Karen Mulhauser - kmulhauser@consultingwomen.com

  • WVN Film Salon June 6-7, 2015

    Sunday, June 07, 2015 at 06:00 PM
    WVN Film Salon June 6-7, 2015 at the Levantine Cultural Center in Los Angeles, CA · $15.00 USD

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    Reserve your ticketsto join WVN at the Levantine Cultural Center of Los Angeles, on June 6-7, from 6-10 p.m. Celebrate the winning films of our 2014 online short-film festival, Women Bought and Sold: Voices United Against Violence.Screenings accompanied by expert discussants. Ticket price includes light Moroccan dinner and drinks.Seating is limited.

    Click here to reserve tickets for June 6.

    Click here to reserve tickets for June 7.

    Ticket Prices/Evening:

    $15 General Admission

    $12 Students with I.D.

    Women Bought and Sold: Voices United Against Violence aims to portray a deeper understanding of the worldwide issue of sexualized violence against women. Subjects broached in this film salon weekend include trafficking, slavery, domestic, servitude, forced marriages, sexual harassment, sexuality, and sexual freedom. Join us in viewing and discussing these films in the fight against these obstacles to peace, prosperity, and the dignity of women.

    Your film ticket includes a delicious homestyle meal catered by Bouchra Azizy featuring cheese and spinach fatayer, ground beef and veggie rolls, hummus, falafel, salmon mousse on cucumber a bastilla, a delicious Moroccan speciality, plus for dessert, fruit or baklava.See below for each evening's full schedule.

    Saturday, June 6

    "Body Talk"

    Blobfish by Urgur Ferhat Korkmuz and Atilla Borutcu
    In the Name of Tradition by May El Hossamy
    The Reflex by Ali and Hussein Mousavi
    Get Along by Parya Vatankhah

    "States of Violence"

    Chronicle of Tahrir Square by Nour Zaki
    Final Moments by Shadi Amin
    Mohtaramaby Malek Shafi'i and Diana Saqeb
    Take Care by Afrooz Nasersharif

    Sunday, June 7

    "Conditions of Culture"

    Breaking the Silence by Rajae Hammadi and Global Girl Media
    Vomit II by Celia Elslamieh Shomal
    Swap by Sayed Masoud Islami
    Shadow of the Stone by Fatemeh Keihani

    "Women without Men"

    Aabida by Maaria Syed
    The Virginity Minarets by Farhad Rezaee
    Behind the Wheelby Elise Laker

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  • “Lend an ear, empower a woman.”

    Wednesday, May 20, 2015 at 06:00 PM

    The films are one way to empower women; one way to focus on them.

    People ask me, “so what?” We collect these films, we collect these women’s stories, we watch them, and then what happens?

    But I think what we really need to focus on is the fact that when we ourselves have something important to say, and all of a sudden we gain a listener, we gain an audience, that feeling in itself empowers us. It makes us think that we should continue speaking. It makes us think that we should continue acting. And, therefore, we do. All of a sudden, we have earned the confidence to take the next step; and maybe share our vision with more people. As we share our vision with those people, they may turn around and be inspired by those visions and start working towards their own visions.

    I don’t think right now there is something more important to take care of in the world than women’s rights. There is a difference between 50% of the world’s population and the moment we tap into that resource, whether it be through business, through empowerment, through creativity - the moment we tap into that, we have half of the world’s population moving the world into something better.

  • Honor Diaries Screening at UCLA

    Monday, May 18, 2015 at 07:00 PM
    HONOR DIARIES SCREENING AT UCLA in Los Angeles, CA

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    Join WVN on Monday, May 18th as we continue to further the global movement against honor violence and shame. Doors open at 7:00PM; screening begins at 7:30PM. Following the screening we will have a panel Q&A with Zainab Khan, Linda Church, and Heidi Basch-Harod.

  • The Power, Danger, and Responsibility of Voice

    Thursday, April 02, 2015 at 06:00 PM
    Doheny Memorial Library, USC (Room 240) in Los Angeles, CA

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  • WVN Attends Middle East Dialogue 2015

    Thursday, February 26, 2015 at 12:00 PM
    Whittemore House in Washington, D.C., DC

    2015 Middle East Dialogue: Glorious Past, Uncertain Future

    On February 26, 2015, at the Historic Whittemore House in Washington D.C., WVN’s Project Coordinator, Betsy Laikin, represented Women’s Voices Now at a one-day conference co-hosted by the Policy Studies Organization and Digest of Middle East Studies.

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    The conference, titled “2015 Middle East Dialogue: Glorious Past, Uncertain Future” coordinated a diverse range of speakers and topics, for the purpose of fostering rich interdisciplinary dialogue on pressing political, social, and religious issues within the region.

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    Sitting on the panel photographed above and titled, “ISLAMIC EXTREMISM: Causes Behind the Rise of Islamic Extremism and How to Address It,” were honored guests: Siwar Al-Assad-The United Nationals Democratic Alliance: Robert Worth - New York Times; Radwan Ziadeh - Syrian Center for Political and Strategic Studies; and moderated by Dr. Alon Ben-Meir - New York University.

    Dr. Michal Allon and Betsy Laikin

    [Pictured Above: Dr. Michal Allon and Betsy Laikin]

    Betsy attended a number of presentations on a variety of topics, including: Dr. Michal Allon’s (Tel Aviv University) presentation on “Unholy Matrimony: Religion and Women’s Rights in the State of Israel”; and “How the WomanStats Database Advances Empirical Research that Reveals Disparities in Saudi Arabia and Yemen regarding the Security Status of Women and its Impact on Regional Security,” by Jason Anderson (American Military University).

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    Abir El Shaban (pictured above) of Washington State University gave an intriguing presentation on “The Role of Social Media in the Arab Spring: The Libyans Fall.”

    Women’s Voices Now was honored to be invited by our partners at the Policy Studies Organization to participate in this dynamic and important conference.

  • Honor Diaries Screening, Co-Hosted by Council for Muslims Facing Tomorrow and the Moshe Dayan Center

    Thursday, December 11, 2014 at 05:00 PM
    Tel Aviv University in Tel Aviv, Israel

    Join us for a screening of Honor Diaries on December 11, 2014, at Tel Aviv University. Women’s Voices Now, the Council for Muslims Facing Tomorrow, and the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies are co-hosting this event, which will include a discussion with Paula Kweskin, director and producer of Honor Diaries, and Raheel Raza, human rights activist and subject of the documentary.

    Honor Diaries
    December 11, 2014
    133 Gilman Building
    5-7pm

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  • Guest Lecture at Virginia Commonwealth School of World Studies

    Friday, December 05, 2014 at 06:00 PM
    Virginia Commonwealth School of World Studies in Richmond, VA

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    On December 5, 2014, WVN Executive Director Heidi Basch-Harod once again delivered a guest lecture to Asst. Prof. Salwa Sheibany’s course on Arab Cinema at the Virginia Commonwealth School (VCU) of World Studies.

    The undergraduate course learns about Arab culture, history, geography, politics, and gender issues through film and discussion. In this year’s lecture, Basch-Harod spoke about her experience as the executive director of Women’s Voices Now and the ways in which it has opened her eyes to the shared struggles of women around the world, regardless of religion, race, creed, or socio-economic status. She also touched upon the ongoing work WVN is doing to highlight the growing global struggle for women’s rights, and to inspire others to support this movement.

    If you are interested in inviting a member of WVN’s staff to your university class, via skype or in person, please e-mail heidi@womensvoicesnow.org.

  • WVN Co-Presents with United Nations Association Film Festival

    Sunday, October 19, 2014 at 05:30 PM
    Stanford University: Annenberg Auditorium, Cummings Art Building in Stanford, CA

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    WVN is proud to be a Co-Presenter of five films at this year’s United Nation’s Associated Film Festival: Bridging the Gap. The screening information for those films is as follows:

    Sunday, 19 October

    Stanford University: Annenberg Auditorium, Cummings Art Building, 435 Lasuen Mall
    5:30pm Bastards (83 min)

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    Monday, 20 October

    Stanford University: School of Education, Ceras Building, Room 101, 520 Galvez Mall
    4:00pm To Kill A Sparrow (26 min)
    4:40pm I Am A Girl (88 min)

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    Saturday, 25 October

    Palo Alto, Cubberley Community Center, 4000 Middlefield Road
    3:10pmIn Plain Sight(54 min)
    4:20pmMy Stolen Revolution(75 min)

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  • In Search of America, Inshallah

    Saturday, August 23, 2014 at 06:00 PM
    Levantine Cultural Center in Los Angeles, CA

    In Search of America, Inshallah
    Levantine Cultural Center
    August 23, 2014
    6-9pm

    The Levantine Cultural Center and Women’s Voices Now invite you to an exclusive preview of In Search of America, Inshallah, a new short film about a dependent Pakistani housewife who comes to America in search of her husband, but finds her emancipation instead. We will screen the trailer and have a Q&A session with several actors and producers from the the film, centering on the theme of women’s empowerment and education.

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    In Search of America, Inshallah- Official Trailer from Danish Renzu on Vimeo.

    Special Guest Speaker: H.E. Tasawar Khan, Consul General of Pakistan in Los Angeles will be present to discuss the merits of the film and the status of women in Pakistan.

    We will also ask the community to support the film so we can bring it to completion.

    As fiscal sponsor to this moving film, Women’s Voices Now offers supporters a tax-deductible opportunity to help finance the post-production of this film. Our goal is $15,000. Make your contribution via Pay Pal on WVN's website today!

    Women’s Voices Now accepts checks, which can be mailed to:

    Women’s Voices Now
    46-E Peninsula Center
    Rolling Hills Estates, CA 90274

    Please make a note that the donation is to be allocated toward In Search of America, Inshallah.

  • WVN Films at WOCMES

    Monday, August 18, 2014 at 06:00 PM
    in Ankara, Turkey

    At the 2014 meeting of the World Congress for Middle Eastern Studies, held in Ankara, Turkey, from August 18-22, 2014, three films from WVN’s second film festival were part of the film festival selection.

    Congratulations to the filmmakers of Berxen Bulek, Mohtarama, and Break the Silence about Sexual Harassment: Moroccans Speak Out!

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  • WVN Announces the Winners of the 2014 Online Short-Film Festival

    Saturday, July 26, 2014 at 06:00 PM
    Online

    WVN13-box-02-02.png Women’s Voices Now is excited to finally announce the winners of the 2014 online short-film festival Women Bought and Sold: Voices United Against the Violence!

    We invite you to VIEW THE FILMS and let us know what you think by leaving questions, comments, and sparking dialogue.*

    Of the 46 films submitted to this year’s festival, 15 winners were selected in the categories of Fiction, Documentary, Experimental, and Student. We thank our esteemed panel of judges for volunteering their time and expertise in viewing and evaluating these films.

    Thank you to our generous FESTIVAL SPONSORS for contributing the $30,000 in prize money awarded to the filmmakers.

    Congratulations to all of our filmmakers for their bravery and inspiration in making these films.

    And the winners are…

    1st Place Winners ($3,000):

    Breaking the Silence: Moroccans Speak Out! (Morocco), by GlobalGirl Media Morocco (Documentary)
    Take Care (Iran), by Afrooz Nasersharif (Experimental)
    Swap (Afghanistan), by Sayed Masoud Islami (Fiction)
    Behind the Wheel (Tajikistan), by Elise Laker (Student)

    2nd Place Winners ($2,000):

    Mohtarama (Afghanistan), by Malek Shafi’i and Diana Saqeb (Documentary)
    Get Along (Iran), by Parya Vatankhah (Experimental)
    Aabida (India), by Maaria Syed (Fiction)
    Blobfish (Turkey), by Ugur Ferhat Korkmaz & Atilla Barutcu (Student)

    3rd Place Winners ($1,000):

    In the Name of Tradition (Egypt), by May El-Hossamy (Documentary)
    The Reflex (Afghanistan), by Ali and Houssein Mousavi (Experimental)
    The Virginity Minarets (Afghanistan) , by Farhad Rezaee (Fiction)
    A Chronicle of Tahrir Square (Egypt), by Nour Zaki (Student)

    Honorable Mention Winners ($500):

    Final Moments (UK), by Shadi Amin (Documentary)
    Vomit II (Netherlands & Iran), by Celia Elslamieh Shomal (Experimental)
    Shadow of the Stone (Iran), by Fatemeh Keihani (Fiction)

    *Some films are not yet available for public viewing but will be in the coming months. Thank you for your patience and check back regularly!

  • “Voices of Womanhood” Film Festival and the “Spirit of Womanhood” Art Exhibition

    Friday, May 23, 2014 at 03:00 PM
    Roxy Bar and Screen in London, United Kingdom

    Voices of WomanhoodFilm Festival
    Sponsored by Osborne Samuel Gallery
    Sunday, March 23, 2014

    Roxy Bar and Screen
    128 Borough High Street
    London
    SE1 1LB

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    Hosted by Women’s Interfaith Network UK in partnership with Women’s Voices Now.

    This event is held in conjunction with the Spirit of Womanhood Exhibition, galleries@OXO, Southbank, 20th-30th March 2014 to mark the double celebration of the 10-year anniversary of Women’s Interfaith Network in conjunction with International Women’s Day.

    Tickets available on the door, or in advance from Marion marion@wominet.org.uk
    Tickets are £15.00 for a full day, and £7.30 for a half-day pass to all events.

    Festival Day Schedule:

    FILM 11.00-12.30 Inner Gaze
    Short-films selected from WVN’s archive which use the medium of film to explore and express how people perceive their own femininity and notions of womanhood.
    Q&A with Heidi Basch-Harod and Dana Blackburn, WVN Staff Members.

    FILM 13.00-14.20 Feature film : Honor Diaries
    Testimonies from women who have witnessed first-hand the hardships women endure, are profiled in their efforts to effect change, both in their communities and beyond.
    Short Q&A with Honor Diaries Co-Producer Heidi Basch-Harod.

    FILM 14.30-16.00 WVN Female impact
    Short-films selected from WVN’s archive which address cultural and political issues and explore the medium as a means of creating social impact.
    Q&A with Heidi Basch-Harod and Dana Blackburn, WVN Staff Members.

    SPEAKER 16.00-16.45 Hagit Yakira, The Journey between a self and another
    Drawing from her personal experience as a dance artist, Hagit Yakira will discuss her process of becoming a choreographer, a voice, and a narrator. Shifting from personal anecdotes to more political and philosophical debates, Yakira will discuss autobiographical choreographies as storytelling of relationship

    SPEAKER 17.00-18.00 Charlotte Hodes, Female Form
    With an international reputation as an artist working through collage across different media, Charlotte Hodes is a female artist engaged in the languages of fine and decorative arts. In her work, whether working in painting, papercut, ceramics or glass the motif of the female figure is the overriding theme, represented as a kind of semi-permeable membrane through which anxieties and experience travel. In this talk Charlotte will examine the way in which she depicts the female figure within a contemporary context and the influences that have formed her vision as an artist.

    PANEL DISCUSSION 18.30 ‘Women’s Voices in art - is anyone listening?’
    Charlotte Hodes, Hagit Yakira, Reina Lewis, Laura Moffatt,

    FILM 19.30-21.00 Pray the Devil Back to Hell
    Pray the Devil Back to Hell is the astonishing story of the Liberian women who took on the warlords and regime of dictator Charles Taylor in the midst of a brutal civil war, and won a once unimaginable peace for their shattered country in 2003. A film by Abigail Disney.

    Panel Speakers

    Hagit Yakira is an award winning Israeli choreographer, who founded Hagit Yakira Dance Company in 2007 and has since gone on to tour the UK, Europe, Scandinavia and Israel.

    Charlotte Hodes is a Jerwood prize winning artist and a Professor in Fine Art at the University of the Arts London.

    Reina Lewis is Artscom Centenary Professor of Cultural Studies at the London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London.

    Laura Moffatt is Director of Art and Christianity Enquiry and writes regularly on religious art and architecture.

    For questions please contact dana@womensvoicesnow.org

    ****

    Lady Gilda Levy and Pinky Lilani OBE founded Women’s Interfaith Network (WIN) in order to promote understanding and a sustainable dialogue between women of different faiths and cultures. WIN is an organization composed of different women’s groups from diverse religions who have come together to engage in meaningful dialogue with other women from all faith communities and are committed to building a more tolerant and inclusive society. We need to promote a dialogue that would foster communication and trust, as for too long we have seen each other through the dangerous prism of stereotypes. Only by engaging with each other would we be able to dismantle those stereotypes, build understanding, trust and to replace ignorance with knowledge and prejudice with friendship.WIN is a testimony to our determination to do something to make a difference to the world in which we all live, and the world that we will leave to our children.
    http://www.wominet.org.uk

    Women’s Voices Now Women’s Voices Now (WVN) is a not-for-profit social enterprise based in Los Angeles, California. Our mission is to amplify the voices of all women living in Muslim-majority societies by promoting their freedom of expression, thereby giving voice to their struggles for civil, economic, political, and gender rights. We carry out our mandate by producing a bi-annual film festival, and by providing internationally-viewed platforms for film, art, writing, and social-media technology from which women and their supporters speak directly to each other and to an international audience. With very limited resources and true grassroots efforts, to date, our films and materials are viewed and utilized for educational and motivational purposes by women and men in 176 countries.

  • North African Film Fest: Women of the Maghreb

    Sunday, April 06, 2014 at 12:30 PM
    Museum of Contemporary Art in Tucson, AZ

    North African Film Fest: Women of the Maghreb
    Exploded View MicroCinema
    197 E. Toole St, Tucson, AZ
    April 6, 2014
    12:30-6:30 PM
    Open and Free to the Public

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    The Center for Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Arizona, in cooperation with Women’s Voices Now, will be screening a selection of five films about women in North Africa. Come to one or all of them!

    PROGRAM:

    12.30pm - Doors open; digital photography exhibit

    1.00pm - Introduction: Christian Sinclair, assistant director, UA Center for Middle Eastern Studies; and Hafsa Oubou, graduate student, UA School of Middle Eastern & North African Studies, and member of the WVN Advisory Board.

    1.10pm - Women’s Voices Now Film Festival Documentary (2011, 9m)

    1.15pm - The Daughter of Keltoum (Algeria, 2001, 106m)

    3.15pm - Avant-Propos (Tunisia, 2007, 16m)

    3.35pm - You Can Dream (Morocco, 27m)

    4.10pm - Behind Morocco, 4m)

    4.20pm - Satin Rouge (Tunisia, 2002, 95m)

    There will also be a digital display of photographs of the same theme. Photographs are from the Center for Middle Eastern Studies and orders will be taken for reprints.

  • “What Does Honor Mean to You?”

    Monday, March 24, 2014 at 06:00 PM
    Binghamton University (SUNY) in Binghamton, NY

    “What Does Honor Mean to You?”
    March 24, 2014
    6:00-8:00 PM
    Binghamton University (SUNY)

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    On March 24, 2014, from 6-8pm, the Dorm Room Diplomacy Chapter of Binghamton University* (SUNY) and Women’s Voices Now** will co-host an event titled, “What does honor mean to you?”

    Discussion will revolve around the screening of a short film from the 2011 WVN short-film festival, Women’s Voices from the Muslim World, entitled Is this Honor? Dalia Odeh/Jordan). Shedding light on the definition of “family honor” and how this controversial issue affects the lives of people, especially women, within Jordanian society, Is this Honor? will be followed by a discussion led by Asst. Prof. Kent Schull, of the Department of History at Binghamton University.

    The goal of the event is to facilitate debate and dialogue about the importance of female honor in the Middle East. Discussion topics will include honor killings, female genital cutting/mutilation, the value of virginity, and virginity checks prior to marriage.


    Please contact Cara@womensvoicesnow.org with questions.

    * Dorm Room Diplomacy (DRD) aims to stimulate pure education. By directly connecting university students in the Arab and Western Worlds, DRD opens the door for genuine discussion, understanding, and unfiltered exposure. DRD is an entirely student-run organization and is founded on the ideals of relationship, engagement, and open-mindedness. DRD acknowledges that the content presented in any given presentation may not reflect each of the various perspectives on a given issue. Often political material is biased with little attempt to discuss the many dimensions of that surround a given reality. Dorm Room Diplomacy has no political or religious affiliation and is in the process of becoming a 501(c)3, not-for-profit organization.

    ** Women’s Voices Now (WVN) is a non-profit organization that seeks to amplify the voices of all women living in Muslim-majority societies. WVN carries out its mission through its bi-annual online film festival, its multi-media online platforms, and through its global and university tours.

  • "My Space - Your Space," Women in Public Spaces

    Thursday, March 20, 2014 at 06:00 PM
    City Center Mall Hyderabad in Hyderabad, India

    My Space - Your Space
    Women in Public Spaces

    City Center Mall
    Hyderabad, India
    Mar. 20-22, 2014

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    Each year, women’s month (March), sees a host of parades, conferences, and events that seek to keep women’s issues at the forefront of the public’s and the media’s attention. As part of “Women’s March 2014- Hyderabad,” the Goethe-Zentrum Hyderabad is hosting an event called “My Space - Your Space” at the City Center Mall, a major shopping mall in Hyderabad, India. Presented by City Center Mall, the University of Hyderabad, Octopus Studios, and Goethe-Zentrum Hyderabad, this is a unique event that aims to bring women’s issues to light in a public space.

    The event will include screenings of short films, a theater performance, and a panel discussion, each of which will highlight various women’s issues. The event will take place at City Center Mall from March 20 to March 22, 2014. Short films about women’s issues will be screened on all three days. The event is free and open to all.

    As part of this event, three films from WVN’s first short-film festival, Women’s Voices from the Muslim World, will be screened: The Journey (Ananya Chakroborti/Bangladesh), Jazbaa (A Strong Will) (Rama Barhat/India), and Inside Out& (Diya Cowasji & Shilpi Gulati/India).

    For questions, please e-mail Tanvi Gandhi:programgz1@goethe-hyderabad.com

  • “What do the Women Say?...Talkin’ Bout Sex,” A Celebration of International Women’s Day

    Friday, March 07, 2014 at 08:00 PM
    La Pena Cultural Center in Berkeley, CA

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    March 7 at 8:00 p.m.
    La Pena Cultural Center, 3105 Shattuck Ave. Berkeley
    Tickets 510-849-2568 x20

    Golden Thread Productions Presents
    Talkin ‘bout Sex
    A Celebration of International Women’s Day

    Talkin ‘bout Sex
    with Maryam Keshavarz (Circumstance),
    Zahra Noorbakhsh & Ayesha Mattu (Love Inshallah), and Bareed Mista3jil Queer Arab Women Stories

    Buy tickets HERE!

    www.goldenthread.org

    Golden Thread’s annual International Women’s Day celebration will be sizzling hot. An eclectic selection of female artists discuss the pain and pleasure of addressing sex and sensuality: Award-winning filmmaker, Maryam Keshavarz who received overwhelming critical acclaim for her first narrative feature, Circumstance; joins standup comedian, Zahra Noorbakhsh and author, Ayesha Mattu, editor of Love, InshAllah: The Secret Love Lives of American Muslim Women, one of the first collections of writing by Middle Eastern women about sex. The evening will wrap up with excerpts from Bareed Mista’jil Queer Arab Women Stories, selected by Happy/L.A.Hyder. The conversation will be facilitated by Golden Thread artistic associate, Haleh Hatami. WVN is a proud community sponsor.

    Everyone seems to have an opinion about Muslim women, even (especially!) those who have never met one, say co-editors Ayesha Mattu and Nura Maznavi of Love, InshAllah: The Secret Love Lives of American Muslim Women, “it’s about time we heard directly from Muslim women themselves.” Golden Thread’s artistic director, Torange Yeghiazarian couldn’t agree more. “No other territory is coveted and fought over as much as women’s bodies,” Yeghiazarian explains, “from the American Right-wing conservatives to the Taliban and Ayatollahs in Iran, the real battle is over controlling women’s bodies and sexual expression.” Join us for this year’s& What do the Women Say? and find out how this group of Middle Eastern women artists counter and shatter stereotypes.

    Bareed Mista3jil features 41 stories in Arabic and English, each one originating from interviews with some 150 lesbian/bi/trans/questioning women from various regions of Lebanon. “The title of the book, Express Mail, really indicates the urgency of the stories and the private nature of them that needed to be told, made public,” explained Nadine Mouawad, a member of the Feminist Collective, involved from the project’s inception. Since 2009, Bareed Mista3jil has been presented in the San Francisco Bay Area, at the AWID Istanbul conference 2012, and at the Aat Festival of Women’s Theater in Amman, Jordan, 2013. The book was produced by Meem, a feminist organization in Beirut with a focus on community building through programming and counseling.

    An open-mic after-party will follow the event at La Pena Lounge featuring songstress, Naima Shalhoub.

    Artist Biographies:

    Maryam Keshavarz has been making award-winning films for 11 years. While still an MFA student at NYU / Tisch, Maryam’s short film THE DAY I DIED won the Gold Teddy and Jury Award at the Berlin Film Festival and her feature documentary THE COLOR OF LOVE won top awards at Full Frame Festival and was broadcast internationally. Maryam’s first narrative feature fiction film, CIRCUMSTANCE premiered to overwhelming critical acclaim at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, garnering the coveted Sundance Audience Award, leading to Maryam’s inclusion in Deadline.com’s 2011 Directors to Watch. CIRCUMSTANCE has won Best First Film at the Rome Film Festival and the Audience & Best Actress Awards at Outfest. The Independent Spirit Award nominated film was described by the New York Times as “Swirling and sensuous”, by the Wall Street Journal as “Supremely cinematic”, and by theHollywood Reporter as “Amazingly accomplished.” Maryam has received grants from the San Francisco Film Society and the Creative Capital Fund in support of her upcoming film THE LAST HAREM.

    Ayesha Mattu is a writer, editor and international development consultant who has worked in the field of women’s human rights since 1998. Her first book, “Love, InshAllah: The Secret Love Lives of American Muslim Women”, was featured globally by media including the New York Times, NPR, the BBC, Washington Post, Guardian, Times of India, Dawn Pakistan, and Jakarta Post. She was selected a ‘Muslim Leader of Tomorrow’ by the UN Alliance of Civilizations and the ASMA Society and has served on the boards of IDEX, the Women’s Funding Network, and World Pulse. Ayesha is an alumna of Voices of Our Nations writers’ workshop and a member of the San Francisco Writers’ Grotto. Her latest book, “Salaam, Love: American Muslim Men on Love, Sex & Intimacy” is now available through Beacon Press.

    Zahra Noorbakhsh is a writer, performer and standup comedian. The New Yorker Magazine dubbed her one-woman show, “All Atheists Are Muslim” a highlight of the Int’l NYC Fringe Theater Festival, the largest multi-arts festival in North America. Her performances have sold-out theaters in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Zahra is a contributor to the groundbreaking, NY Times featured anthology, “Love Inshallah: The Secret Love Lives of American Muslim Women” featuring her piece, “The Birds, The Bees—and My Hole.” In addition to the NYC Fringe Theater festival, and numerous colleges around the nation, Zahra has performed at the SF Theatre Festival, the Solo Performance Workshop Festival, and is one-third of the troupe DISoriented, a trio of Asian-American performers, touring nationwide. As a comedian, she was a finalist in the Aspen National Rooftop College Comedy Competition and has performed with international acts, Maz Jobrani (Axis of Evil), and Shazia Mirza (Last Comic Standing).

    Happy/L.A. Hyder, visual artist and writer, first visited Lebanon a few years ago to explore a land that held many mythic qualities for a child growing up in the U.S. and with little family connections to the actual land. The resulting images are an homage to beauty, strength, & resilience. Her 1980 image, New Country Daughter-Lebanese American, is included in Lesbian Art in America, a history, Harmony Hammond, in the third edition of This Bridge Called My Back, writings by radical women of color, and in Food for our Grandmothers: Writings by Arab-American and Arab-Canadian Feminists.

    Nyla Moujaes(TruBloo) is a Lebanese-Armenian hip hop-poetry fusion emcee, percussionist, composer, cultural and justice worker. A music prodigy, Tru studied classical guitar and music theory as a young adolescent and won her first poetry slam at age 15. As half of the hip hop duo, NaR (fire, in Arabic), Tru performed at national and international festivals. When she’s not blessing mics, she’s either curating ground-breaking cultural events like Al Musiqa, Al Funoon, Music Without Borders, or the upcoming music and arts festival Hip Hop Beyond Gender (lapena.org) or in the courtroom advocating for homeless, differently-abled people in Berkeley as a staff attorney (homelessactioncenter.org). To learn more visit, therealtrubloo.com

    Mary Salomeis an Arab- and Irish-American media activist, writer, and producer of radio, video, and web publications. Her prose and poetry have been published in Sojourner Magazine, Food for our Grandmothers: Writings by Arab-American and Arab-Canadian Feminists, and The Bakery, among other publications. She is the co-producer of the web site BintElNas.org and has been involved with Lit Crawl in San Francisco as a featured reader and a curator over the past three years.

    Zeina Zaatari is currently working on a book project titled: Interrogating Heteronormativity in Lebanon: Family, Citizenship, and Access to Adulthood. She is an independent lecturer, researcher, consultant focusing on gender and sexuality in the Middle East and North Africa. She earned her PhD in Cultural Anthropology with an emphasis in Feminist Theory from UCD, and was the Regional Director for the MENA Program at Global Fund for Women, 2004-2012. Her publications include Telling Our Stories: Women’s Voices of the Middle East and North Africa (2011), Re-Imagining Family, Gender, and Sexuality: Feminist and LGBT Activism in the context of the 2006 Invasion of Lebanon co-written with Nadine Naber in the Journal Cultural Dynamics: Insurgent Scholarship on Culture, Politics, and Power (2014), Arab Feminist Awakening: Possibilities and Necessities in Arab Feminisms: A Critical Perspective (Bahithat, 2012 Arabic), In the Belly of the Beast: Struggling for Non-Violent Belonging in Arab and Arab American Feminisms (2011), among others.

    www.goldenthread.org

  • Honor Diaries, Worldwide Screenings with WVN

    Wednesday, March 05, 2014 at 07:00 PM
    Worldwide

    Women’s Voices Now is very excited to be co-hosting and organizing a number of screenings of Honor Diaries, the first film to break the silence on “honor violence” against women and girls.

    Honor Diaries is more than a movie, it is a movement to promote awareness of, and action against human rights abuses suffered by women and girls around the world.

    Honor_Diaries__Worldwide_Screening_with_WVN.jpg

    If you are interested in organizing a screening in your community, school, or home, or finding an already existing event nearby, please click here.

    Please join us in the several locations where our community organizers are hosting screenings:

    Drake University
    March 5, 2014 @ Des Moines, Iowa
    Student Activists for Gender Equality
    Contact: hannah@womensvoicesnow.org

    Los Angeles
    March 6, 2014 @ Museum of Tolerance
    7:30 PM

    Claremont Colleges
    March 7, 2014 @ Claremont, California
    Pitzer College, Benson Auditorium
    7:00 PM

    Contact: kelsey@womensvoicesnow.org

    Lev Smadar Theater
    March 19, 2013 @ Jerusalem, Israel
    7:30 PM
    Contact: heidi@womensvoicesnow.org

    London
    March 23, 2014
    “Voices of Womanhood” Film Festival @ Roxy Bar & Screen
    In partnership with Women’s Interfaith Network
    1:00 PM
    Sponsored by Samuel Osborne Gallery

    College of Charleston
    March 31, 2014 @ Charleston, South Carolina
    7:00 PM
    Women’s and Gender Studies Department
    contact: liz@womensvoicesnow.org

    Binghamton University
    Date TBD @ Binghamton, New York
    Contact: cara@womensvoicesnow.org

    Indiana University
    Date TBD @ Bloomington, Indiana
    Contact:arielle@womensvoicesnow.org

  • Muslima Women Artists: Empowering Change Globally

    Wednesday, February 26, 2014 at 06:00 PM
    Paley Center for Media in New York, NY

    Muslimah Women Artists: Empowering Change Globally
    Paley Center for Media
    New York, NY
    February 26, 2014

    Muslimah_Women_Artists_Empowering_Change_Globally.jpg

    The International Museum of Women’s groundbreaking online exhibition, Muslimah: Muslim Women’s Art & Voices, was created to counter the absence of voices of Muslim women worldwide. The exhibit features work by a diverse group of women to break down stereotypes and provide Muslim women with a voice.

    Samina Ali, the curator of Muslimah, led a panel of participating artists and journalists at the Paley Center for Media in New York, to discuss their work as well as current perceptions of Muslim women in America.

    The panelists included Maria Ebrahimji, former producer at CNN for fifteen years, Sadaf Syed, a photojournalist for Al Jazeera America, and Maimouna Guerresi, an Italian artist who converted to Islam.

    When asked what inspired their work and how they were influenced by Islam, Maimouna stated that emotions, sensations, and stimulations lead to her creations, and this transformation is supported by Islam. The unifying theme of her work is liberation of the female.

    Sadaf wants to provide a platform for stories inspired by Islam, and to show the similarities between Muslim women and non-Muslim women, by documenting them in their everyday lives. This is demonstrated in her bookiCover: A Day in the Life of a Muslim-American COVERed Girl, which shatters stereotypes about Muslim women’s lives.

    Maria described herself as a truth seeker, which is encouraged in Islam, and inspired her work as a journalist. She said the increase in more diverse photos of Muslims is a step towards America’s acceptance, and mentioned the Coca-Cola Super Bowl commercial where a woman in a hijab is drinking a Coke as an example of progress. Maria explained that CNN executives are mainly white males, and she feels that more diversity is needed among the decision makers at the highest levels.

    Responding to an audience question about speaking negatively about Muslims, Syed stressed the need for more educated and positive views of Muslim women and the community.

    Maria, who was condemned by the Muslim community for speaking out about negative issues after 9/11, acknowledges that the Muslim community wants to defend and protect themselves when they fall short. However, Muslim American women should be able to speak about all issues, which will benefit everyone in the long run.

    Samina discussed how Islam is becoming more intolerant in many countries, and mentions the work of photographer Boushra Almutawakel, whose “veil series” is part of the online exhibition. Her chain of family photos, which show the covering up of women and girls, powerfully illustrates Yemen’s tilt toward conservatism, for example.

    The evening ended on a positive note, as Maimouna stated “women are the force for change; the world will change when women change it.” The Muslimah exhibition is a powerful step in this direction.

  • Empowering Change: Muslim Women Leaders in Conversation

    Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 06:00 PM
    National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C., DC

    Empowering Change: Muslim Women Leaders in Conversation
    National Museum of Women in the Arts
    Washington, D.C.
    January 23, 2014

    WVN was a guest at this event.

    Empowering_Change__Muslim_Women_Leaders_in_Conversation.jpg

    Upon taking our seats, the International Museum of Women (IMOW) and Independent Television Service (ITVS) welcomed us to an exciting evening discussing the museum’s online exhibition, Muslima: Muslim Women’s Art and Voices. The year-old virtual exhibition, centered around the power of storytelling, was presented in conjunction with Diverse Muslim Voices, a media initiative of ITVS meant to “build awareness and improve understanding in the U.S. of diverse Muslim societies.”

    The curator of Muslima, Samina Ali, opened the evening discussing the breadth of Muslima, which includes over 200 women leaders, each a revolutionary and artist. She also noted that, through each participant’s work, she challenges global notions about what it means to be a Muslim woman, defying both Western and Muslim stereotypes. So what threads these women together? To this Samina replied: “Courage.”

    Following Ms. Ali’s introduction, four women who embodied Muslima’s purpose took the stage. The evening’s moderator, Farah Pandith, the first State Department Representative to Muslim Communities, was engaging and created an atmosphere for open dialogue among the panelists. On the evening’s panel were: Alia Hogben, executive director of the Canadian Council of Muslim Women (CCMW) of Indian-Muslim origins like Ms. Pandith herself; Azadeh Moaveni, freelance journalist and reporter from the Middle East, a self-described secular, Iranian-American woman, and author of Lipstick Jihad; and Fahima Hashim, a women rights defender and Director of Salmmah Women’s Resource Center in Sudan, of Sudanese Muslim origins herself.

    The panelists opened the gates to many conversations and questions: Do Islamic states have the right to interpret religion to determine laws regarding Personal Status? Where is the place of secular women in addressing women’s rights in Muslim societies? How can Muslim societies and communities around the world work to embrace the pluralistic existence of Islam in place of a fast-disseminating monolithic interpretation?

    Throughout the evening there was also a continuous discussion and debate regarding the dress of Muslim women: Is there truly a certain manner of dress for Muslim women? While there are distinctive ways of dressing associated with Muslim women, can Muslim from diverse communities accept and support the varieties of dress worn by women from different cultures and interpretations of Islam? The audience, representing a vast variety of Muslim and non-Muslim women, were intrigued, and some felt obviously uncomfortable with the conversation at hand. While the discussion inevitably opened up many doors, it left the audience and panelists to each contemplate the prevailing theme of the discussion: How do we support choice?

    It left me with the question: In a community stretching across the world and cultures, how can Muslim women come together, first, as women, to accept their differences and ultimately, fight for the right of every Muslim woman to express herself as she is: an individual woman?

  • An Open Exchange

    Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 06:00 PM
    Ballantine Hall 206, Indiana University Bloomington in Bloomington, IN

    (Arielle Moss)

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    On December 15, I had the opportunity to speak at an Indiana University Women’s Student Association (WSA) meeting and presented Women’s Voices Now to my fellow WSA members. Throughout the semester, WSA member volunteers present specific sociopolitical topics, facilitate a lively discussion, and ultimately question how we as young students can continue to educate ourselves and become potential activists within the issue. Because we had not yet touched upon women’s issues on an international level, I was very excited to share WVN’s initiatives in empowering women in Muslim-majority societies through written and visual expression.

    I presented three different types of film from the WVN 2011 Film Festival: a documentary, “Breaking the Silence”, from Yemen, an animated infographic, “Male and Female”, from Egypt, and an interview, “A Voice in Meknes”, from Morocco.

    Everyone was impressed at WVN’s vast collection of films and how such diverse filmmakers come together to create compelling works and stories that collectively represent the call for social change. They were particularly inspired by Kaddar, the subject of “A Voice in Meknes,” and her fervent call for fairness and equality, echoing WSA’s mission of “empowering the youth in working to eliminate the multiple levels oppression acting in society.”

    Several inquired specifically on how the gender equality movement in Morocco has unfolded. Indeed, Morocco is a unique convergence of the old and new, tradition and modernity, and as a result, the issue of women’s rights touts a long, complex trajectory. And working with WVN allowed me to glimpse this movement in motion as I was whisked away to the centuries-old walls of a Moroccan university and the labyrinthine streets of the medinas. I encountered the diverse layers of Morocco’s social strata as I talked politics and the education system with established women in academia, discussed religion with humble seamstresses amongst their garments, and addressed gender issues with young hip-hop dancers crumping to Tupoc.

    To provide some context for our discussion, I began by introducing the history of the Moudawana, the Islamic family code. This is a series of laws and standards related to virtually all aspects of family life, such as marriage, divorce, child custody, polygamy, and inheritance. Established after Morocco gained independence from France in 1956, the Moudawana was an official, government-backed recognition of age-old customs. Although women are central to family structure, the Moudawana failed, however, in recognizing women as equal, contributing players in civil society. Divorce laws unanimously favored men, women could not marry without the legal permission of a father or brother, a husband could participate in polygamy without consulting his wife, and there was no minimum marrying age for girls. Despite the impassioned demands for reform by Morocco’s activists, women’s rights groups, and the international community, it was not until the 1990s that their pleas for change and equality catalyzed the first of the Moudawana’s reforms.

    These initial amendments remained very limited, however, but with increasing measures to educate Morocco’s general population and to raise awareness on rape, domestic violence, and the importance of gender equality, in 2004, several of the previously discriminatory provisions were overturned. The marriage age was raised to 18, women were able to divorce their husbands, and permission from a guardian was no longer a requisite for marriage. These reforms were an incredible milestone for the women’s rights movement and signified the changing face of Moroccan society and politics.

    But the fight for gender equality remains as Moroccan women continue to break down the lingering vestiges of oppressive gender roles and stereotypes and to bridge the educational, social, and legal gap between men and women. “Change must come from within,” was the slogan I heard repeatedly from the Moroccans I spoke to, and to be sure, Morocco’s women’s rights organizations are tailored specifically to meeting the needs of women with respect to where they live, their religion, and their family. Both Moroccan men and women are becoming increasingly aware of their rights and the importance of equality, and the youth, in particular, are emerging as the new leaders of the movement, recognizing the necessity of intellectual freedom as a means of empowerment.

    Watching the films and facilitating a question/answer session about WVN and Morocco, I was truly excited to see such a compelling exchange of different perspectives and thoughts on pressing issues amongst my peers. The ultimate goals of WVN and WSA align ultimately in seeking to empower women. As one of my fellow WSA members pointed out, “Women’s Voices Now is clearly an incredible tool for Morocco’s gender equality movement, and for movements around the world, because as we just heard from Kaddar [in a “Voice in Meknes”], ‘Moroccan women can see that they are not alone.’ This is absolutely inspiring.” After such a successful discussion, I am looking forward to continue sharing WVN with the IU community and hosting another WVN event this March for Women’s History Month.

  • Breaking the Silence on Sexual Harrassment

    Wednesday, December 04, 2013 at 07:30 PM
    Drake University- Meredith Hall (School of Journalism) in Des Moines, IA

    “...Violence, including domestic violence and sexual assault, exists across the board globally – it’s the forms of violence that sometimes differ,” said Lata D’Mello at the WVN gender-based violence awareness event that took place on December 4, 2013, at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.

    Breaking_the_Silence_on_Sexual_Harrassment.jpg

    WVN Community Organizer Hannah Keisker gathered together a group of 15 students to watch Breaking the Silence, from Women’s Voices from the Muslim World: A Short-Film Festival; and to learn about sexual harassment and the various ways it is viewed according to the decades-long work of Lata D’Mello*, assistant director of the Monsoon United Asian Women of Iowa (MUAWI), an organization serving victims/survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault in Asian and Pacific Islander communities in Iowa.

    The screened film, Breaking the Silence, educates about the Yemeni Akhdam community, as well as the roots and manifestations of sexual violence in Muslim-majority countries. The ‘Akhdam’ , singular Khadem, meaning “servant” in Arabic, are a social group in Yemen, distinct from the majority by their darker skin and African descent. Although they are Arabic-speaking and practicing Muslims, they are regarded as non-Arabs and designated as a low caste group, frequently discriminated against and confined to unskilled and menial labor. The distain and discrimination against the Akhdam renders these women easy targets of violence and abuse. Akhdam women are subject to hate-based attacks and sexual assaults without any type of legal or social recourse. Lata furthered the conversation by highlighting “the lifetime spiral of gender-based violence in Asian communities and how we need to address patriarchy, oppression, and perceptions of vulnerabilities.”

    In response to the film and the issues raised by D’Mello, two members of the audience who identified as Egyptian and Tunisian, respectively, strongly disagreed with the way the film represented people in Yemen and the insinuations against people, in general, in Muslim-majority societies. The students basically commented that the Yemeni government attempts to help the Akhdam people, however, they claimed that the Akhdam refuse to receive any help unless it is on their terms. From this contention, a conversation focusing on power and privilege ensued, as well as a healthy debate.

    The event took place on December 4th at 7:30 in Meredith Hall (journalism building) room 101 at Drake University, and was in cooperation with the Student Activists for Gender Equality organization.

    *Lata D’Mello is the assistant director of Monsoon United Asian Women of Iowa, an organization serving victims/survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault in Asian and Pacific Islander communities in Iowa. She works primarily as a multilingual advocate, providing direct services to API victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, as well as produces and updates Monsoon’s communications materials, and participates in outreach activities through community involvement. In addition, she has coordinated an oral history project on sexual assault among older API women in Iowa. Lata hails from Mumbai, India. She also has had about 22 years of experience as a journalist in newspapers in India, Singapore and the United States. Her interests are social and economic justice, gender studies, community health, and arts and culture.

  • Women’s Voices Now Meets Building Strong Girls

    Monday, November 25, 2013 at 06:00 PM
    Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi in Corpus Christi, TX

    (Evon Babcock)

    Each year, starting on November 25th, a total of 16 days are dedicated to promoting awareness of violence against women and culminate on December 10th- International Human Rights Day. Since violence against women is one of the many issues WVN combats, it was a privilege to have been able to present WVN to a chapter of Gamma Phi Beta women at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi (TX).

    As a current Gamma Phi Beta alumnus I was very excited to introduce my fellow sorority sisters to WVN because both WVN and Gamma Phi Beta share something in common. In their own ways whether it be through film screenings worldwide or selling s’mores and hotdogs on campus to raise money, WVN and Gamma Phi Beta ultimately promote resiliency among girls and women. Gamma Phi Beta’s philanthropy is in fact: Building Strong Girls and WVN’s mission (on a more global scale) aims to empower women. Now that I think of it, I believe that one of the reasons I was so drawn to WVN was because it reminded me of my philanthropic experiences with Gamma Phi Beta. So, naturally when I briefly spoke about my experience with WVN and the part of the world we focus on, my sisters were very excited to learn more.

    WVN_Meets_Building_Strong_Girls_1.png

    On November 23rd I was welcomed to one of the chapter’s meetings and since WVN focuses on Muslim-majority societies I wanted to get an idea of how much my sister’s really knew about the MENA region. To start, I pulled up a blank map of countries in the Middle East and North Africa and asked them, “Where is Jordan, Egypt, Qatar, and Iraq…?” Let’s just say a fun geography lesson resulted. Then, I proceeded to ask the women what some of their daily activities were. Some answers consisted of driving to school, shopping, hanging out with boyfriends and going to work. Typical things we don’t even think twice about doing here in States. Much to the their surprise once I informed them of facts such as women being banned from driving in Saudi Arabia, or boyfriends being forbidden in countries like Iran, I could tell my sisters were shocked.

    I then went on to introduce WVN’s website and showed them where they could find more information on the region, statistics on women, where they could find upcoming events or learn more via The WVOICE and what they could do to help. I was especially proud to show off WVN’s work on the Global Tour and the films that were created by talented artists that have been and will be showcased. In conjunction with discussing our daily lives I showed three films to my sisters that touched on the daily lives of women in Afghanistan (”Sunglasses” by Mustafa Kia), Morocco (”Empowering Women, Empowering Families,” by Arielle Moss, Liz Vaughn, Myself), and Egypt (”Spring ’89,” by Ayten Amin). After watching the films many favored “Sunglasses” due to the film’s profound effect via simplicity. The struggle between tradition and western ideals was evident in the woman’s desire to simply purchase and wear sunglasses.

    Overall, introducing my fellow Gamma Phi Beta sisters to WVN and sharing a common passion was a great way for me to be able to spread awareness and it was fun. I was able to contribute something meaningful while others learned something new. I am now looking forward to what is in store for the month of March - a month dedicated to women.

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  • Brides of Afghanistan

    Tuesday, November 19, 2013 at 12:00 PM
    Rosenberg Building, Lecture Hall 2, Tel Aviv University in Tel Aviv, Israel

    Brides_of_Afghanistan.jpg

    Attendees have been asked to prepare for discussion by reading, Shahla Naimi’s “The Misnomer of the Bride Price in Afghanistan,”The WVoice, Vol. 1, No. 2; and Andrew Bushell’s “Child Marriage in Afghanistan and Pakistan,” America Magazine, March 11, 2002.

  • Breaking the Silence: Raising Awareness of Gender-Based Violence

    Saturday, November 09, 2013 at 03:00 PM
    Malaga Cove Library Community Room in Palos Verdes Estates, CA

    Breaking_the_Silence__Raising_Awareness_of_Gender_Based_Violence_2.jpg

    As part of the November 2013 global campaign to increase awareness of, and fight against gender-based violence, Women’s Voices Now cordially invites you to an afternoon of poetry reading and short-film screenings.

    Tanya Hyonhye Ko, a Korean-American poet, will speak about and read her poem, “Comfort Woman,” the story of women who were captured as sex slaves for Japanese soldiers during World War II.

    Tanya’s reading will be followed by screenings of three short films from Women’s Voices Now’s first film festival,Women’s Voices from the Muslim World:

    “Male and Female” (Egypt)
    “Again Life” (Afghanistan)
    “Thorns and Silk” (West Bank)

    Breaking_the_Silence__Raising_Awareness_of_Gender_Based_Violence_1.jpg

    WVN Executive Director Heidi Basch-Harod will facilitate the Q&A session following the reading and screenings.

    Kindly invite your friends and colleagues to join us!

    Please RSVP by Nov. 5 to:
    Soolgi Hong, Community Outreach Organizer
    soolgi@womensvoicesnow.org.

    For questions regarding Women’s Voices Now,
    please contact Heidi Basch-Harod by e-mail:
    heidi@womensvoicesnow.org or mobile: 310.748.1929.

    Refreshments generously donated by Monster Energy Company and Hansen’s Natural Soda.

    Breaking_the_Silence__Raising_Awareness_of_Gender_Based_Violence_3.jpg Breaking_the_Silence__Raising_Awareness_of_Gender_Based_Violence_4.jpeg

  • Women in Film: 40th Anniversary Celebration

    Friday, November 01, 2013 at 07:00 PM
    Paris-Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi, Al Reem Island in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

    Women’s Voices Now is delighted to participate in:

    Women in Film - 40th Anniversary Celebration
    Paris-Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi, Al Reem Island
    Under the Patronage of H.E. Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak al Nahyan,
    the UAE Ministry of Culture, Youth, and Social Development

    Nov. 1-2, 2013

    To celebrate 40 years of women in the industry, the WIFT UAE Chapter (the only one in the Middle East) is co-hosting along with the Paris Sorbonne, Abu Dhabi a public 2-day conference of screenings, lectures, performances, and workshops.

    A variety of topics relating to media will be covered, including: introductions to both film-making and directing, legal aspects such as copyright law and film finance, and e-book publishing, as well as an acting workshop and a short, live theatre performance. To view a full schedule visit the Women in Film - 40th Anniversary Celebration Facebook Event Page.

    On Friday afternoon at 4:30 p.m., the “Middle East Award Winning Short Films” segment of the weekend-long program will include For Soghand (Mostafa Shaban/Iran) and Half-Value Life (Alka Sadat, Afghanistan), two short-documentary films chosen for WVN’s first festival, Women’s Voices from the Muslim World.

    Throughout the weekend, several other films and documentaries - written, produced and filmed by women, and including many issues faced by women in this region - will be screened.

    This event is free and open to the public.

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  • Women’s Voices From Turkey: Redefining honor and demanding justice from the Turkish state

    Wednesday, September 25, 2013 at 06:00 PM
    Marmara University, Göztepe Kampüsü Göztepe in İstanbul, Turkey

    Turkey_Event_2.jpg

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

    Women’s rights conference to foster dialogue in Istanbul

    Women’s Voices From Turkey: Redefining honor and demanding justice from the Turkish state

    Istanbul, Turkey, Sept. 16, 2013—Los Angeles-based nonprofit Women’s Voices Now (WVN) will hold a four-day Istanbul conference from Sept. 25-28 as part of its 2013 Global Tour to raise awareness on women’s issues in the Middle East. Two of the events, one on Sept. 25 and the other on Sept. 28, are free and open to the public. They will take place at Marmara University’s Göztepe campus and Sabancı University’s Minerva Palace in Karaköy, respectively, and will feature lectures by well known academics and activists on Turkish women’s issues, such as Dr. Zeynep Beşpınar and Professor Ayşe Durakbaşa, who will speak after the screening of two short films, “In the Morning” and “Saturday Mothers of Turkey.”

    The Istanbul conference, Women’s Voices From Turkey, with cooperation from Marmara University, Sabancı University’s Gender Forum and the Saturday Mothers Foundation, will focus on the theme of “redefining honor and demanding justice from the Turkish state.” WVN will also be meeting with local NGOs and holding a cocktail reception between the two lecture events.

    WVN kicked off its 2013 global tour in Jerusalem to network with women’s groups in the region and to cultivate local discussion on the films submitted to its first film festival in 2011, Women’s Voices from the Muslim World. The summer included subsequent events in Israel, the West Bank and Morocco. WVN’s conference in Istanbul will feature two short films from its 2011 festival, with the lecture and panel discussion series taking place on Sept. 25 and 28. “We will use the films to talk about important factors that affect women, such as the role of the citizen and the concept of honor—who defines it, how it affects male/female relationships and the development of society, etc.,” says WVN Executive Director Heidi Basch-Harod.
    About Women’s Voices Now

    Women’s Voices Now is a nonprofit organization seeking to empower women living in Muslim-majority societies by promoting free expression through film and discussion. “We want to provide a connection point between women who are working and making changes in the public sphere and women who could potentially become those women. We want women to meet and become role models who will influence and educate their daughters and sons to see women in positions of authority and change-making, ” says Basch-Harod. By organizing festivals showcasing short, independent films that depict women’s everyday lives and struggles, and by creating panel discussions focusing on the themes presented in these films, Women’s Voices Now provides a platform for connection and conversation for women to become their own advocates.

    “In the Morning,” a film on honor killings in Turkey that will be screened during the Istanbul-leg of the Global Tour, has won nine film festival awards and received honorable mention at WVN’s 2011 festival. It was also screened before members of the US Congress and again before members of the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM).

    Contact

    Şevin Sağniç, Global Tour Coordinator
    Mobile: 0553.258.09.20
    sevin@womensvoicesnow.org
    http://www.womensvoicesnow.org
    @WomensVoicesNow

    ###

    Diyalog Geliştirmek İçin İstanbul’da Kadın Hakları Konferansı

    İstanbul, Türkiye. Eylül. 16, 2013 —Los Angeles merkezli bir sivil toplum örgütü olan Women’s Voices Now (WVN), Orta Doğu’da kadın sorunları hakkında bilinç kazandırmak üzere başlatmış olduğu Küresel Tur’un bir parçası olarak, İstanbul’da 25 ve 28 Eylül tarihlerinde, sırasıyla Marmara Üniversitesi Göztepe Kampüsü ve Sabancı Üniversitesi’nin Karaköy’deki Minerva Hanında iki günlük halka açık ve ücretsiz bir konferans dizisi düzenleyecektir. Konferanslar Prof. Dr. Ayşe Durakbaşa, Yrd. Doç. Dr. Aylin Akpınar ve Dr. Zeynep Beşpınar gibi Türkiye’de Kadın Çalışmaları konusunda önde gelen akademisyen ve aktivistler tarafından verilecektir. Konuşmaların öncesinde ” Sabah” ve “Cumartesi Anneleri” adlı iki kısa film gösterimi yapılacaktır.

    İstanbul’daki konferans, Türkiye Kadınlarının Sesleri, Marmara Üniversitesi, Sabancı Üniversitesi Toplumsal Cinsiyetler ve Kadın Çalışmaları Forumu ve Cumartesi Anneleri ile işbirliği içinde, “namusu yeniden tanımlamak ve Türkiye Devleti’nden adalet talebinde bulunmak” temaları üzerine odaklanacaktır. WVN aynı zamanda yerel STK’lar ile buluşma organize edecek ve iki konferans günü arasında bir kokteyl resepsiyonu verecektir.

    WVN, 2013 dünya turuna, 2011 senesinde düzenlediği ilk film festivali olan “Müslüman Dünyasından Kadınların Sesleri”ne gönderilen filmler üzerine Kudüs’te yerel tartışmalar geliştirerek başlamıştır. Bunu takiben İsrail, Batı Şeria ve Fas’ta organizasyonlar düzenlemiştir. WVN’nin İstanbul’daki konferansında 2011’de düzenlenen festivalden iki film sunulacaktır, üç konuşma verilecektir ve her iki gün de panel tartışması yer alacaktır. WVN Direktörü Heidi Basch-Harod şunları söylüyor: ‘‘Bu filmleri, kadınları etkileyen önemli faktörleri konuşmak için kullanacağız, mesela vatandaşın rolü ve namus konsepti—bunları kim tanımlıyor, bu nasıl kadın/erkek ilişkilerini ve toplumun gelişmesini etkiliyor, vb..”

    Women’s Voices Now Hakkında

    Women’s Voices Now kar amacı gütmeyen bir kuruluş olarak çoğunluğu Müslüman olan toplumlarda, film ve tartışmalar aracılığıyla kadınları ifade özgürlüğüne teşvik ederek onları güçlendirmeyi hedefler. “Bizim istediğimiz kamusal alanda çalışan ve değişim yaratan kadınlar ve değişim yaratma potansiyeli taşıyan kadınlar arasında bir bağlantı noktası kurmak. Biz kadınların tanışmalarını ve birbirlerine iyi örnek olmalarını, kızlarını ve oğullarını iyi eğiterek kadınları karar verme ve karar alma pozisyonlarına layık görmelerini istiyoruz.” diyor Basch-Harod. WVN bağımsız kısa film festivalleri, kadınların gündelik hayat ve mücadelelerini resmederek ve filmlerde sunulan temalar üzerinde panel tartışmaları oluşturarak, kadınların kendilerinin savunucuları olmaları, bağlantı ve diyalog kurmaları için bir platform oluşturuyor. 

    Küresel Tur’un İstanbul ayağında gösterilecek olan “Sabah” filmi Türkiye’de gerçekleşen namus cinayetlerini konu alır, dokuz film festivalinde ödül alan ve WVN’nin 2011 festivalinde şeref ödülüne layık görülen film hem ABD Kongre üyeleri ve daha sonra Birleşik Milletler Kadın Gelişimi Fonu (UNIFEM)  üyelerine izletilmiştir.

    İletişim

    Şevin Sağniç, Global Tur Koordinatörü
    Cep: 0553.258.09.20
    sevin@womensvoicesnow.org

  • “Finding Your Power and Keeping It”: an afternoon with Global Girl Media, Los Angeles, CA

    Tuesday, July 16, 2013 at 01:00 PM
    Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools in Los Angeles, CA

    Finding_Your_Power_and_Keeping_It__Global_Girl_Media__LA__CA_1.JPGOn July 16, 2013, WVN Executive Director Heidi Basch-Harod met with the 2013 Global Girl Media (GGM) Summer Academy at the RFK Community Schools in Los Angeles, California. Global Girl Media is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to empowering high school age girls from under-served communities around the world through media, leadership, and journalistic training to have a voice in the global media universe and their own futures. According to the GGM’s website, the organization “grew out of a coalition of women broadcasters and journalists who recognized that mainstream reporting focuses on violence, celebrity or disaster, while the everyday experience and voice of the invisible majority, particularly young women, passes silently under the radar. With the explosion of social media networking and user-generated content on the web, the fact remains that this media is only open to those who have access to these technologies, leaving many youth, especially young girls in at-risk or impoverished communities, falling hard into the digital divide.”

    Global Girl Media addresses this disparity by supplying the equipment, education, and support necessary to help young women become digital and blog journalists, bringing their own unique perspective on their lives, their communities, and world events to the global web and social media community. GGM firmly believes that working with young women around the world to find and share their authentic voice is an investment in our global future. Women’s Voices Now absolutely agrees!

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    Basch-Harod led a discussion called, “Finding Your Power and Keeping It,” which focused on the definition of power, how it is used – in positive and negative ways, and the necessity of obtaining some measure of power in order to stay true to one’s path. In the case of the GGM girls, the path of being heard and using 21st century technology to help their voices influence their communities is the kind of power they are aiming to gain. Taking it one step further, Basch-Harod and the GGM girls discussed the importance of cultivating the confidence and belief in oneself, as well as gathering the necessary tools to keep that power in the face of adversity, challenge, or a general lack of support.

    As part of the presentation, Basch-Harod screened a short-documentary film, The Path to Follow(Afghanistan, 2010), by Nazifa Zakizadu, from the 2011 WVN film festival, Women’s Voices from the Muslim World. In this 11-minute documentary, Zakizadu follows a group of Afghani teenage girls to and from their Tae Kwon Do class, which they started just prior to the fall of the Taliban. In the film, the girls talk about the familial and societal challenges to their unconventional choice of hobby, which brings some of them to other countries for international Tae Kwon Do competitions. From the film the audience witnesses the power these girls gain from learning martial arts, as well as the support they give to each other to keep showing up to practice. For the GGM girls, the parallels to their lives were only too obvious, as some of them have to deal with and navigate the family pressures or other teenage temptations that may steer them away from the focused paths they have chosen as students in the Global Girl Media Summer Academy.

    Finding_Your_Power_and_Keeping_It__Global_Girl_Media__LA__CA_5.JPGWomen’s Voices Now is grateful to have had the opportunity to meet and interact with these inspiring young women of Los Angeles, and hope that they find and keep their power, and stay true to their work and their aspirations!

  • “Women and Power”: A panel discussion of Palestine-Israel Journal’s 2011 Issue, Tel Aviv

    Monday, July 01, 2013 at 04:00 PM
    Tel Aviv in Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel

    Women_and_Power__A_panel_discussion_of_PalestineIsrael_Journals_2011_Issue_1.jpgOn July 1, Women’s Voices Now attended a panel discussion in Tel Aviv inspiredby Palestine-Israel Journal’s 2011 “Women and Power” issue, in which WVN Executive Director Heidi Basch-Harod published the article, “Women of the Middle East: The Jihad Within.” The event was hosted by the Heinrich Böll Foundation, whose support along with the Samuel Rubin Foundation in New York made the publication of the “Women and Power” issue possible.

    Romy Shapira of the Heinrich Böll Foundation opened the panel with a penetrating introduction to the framework of women’s rights and the terminology that encompasses it. Inspired by the 2000 adoption of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325, which mandates the involvement of women in political processes and the quest for peace and security throughout the world, the title “Women and Power” reflects the ideological consensus that women are not merely victims of conflict and oppressive societies but active agents in their own liberation. Issue coordinators Galia Golan and Lucy Nusseibeh contend that the original title, “Women’s Empowerment,” implies a lack of power among women who are waiting for someone to hand it to them. Rather than reinforce a disenfranchising rhetoric, they hoped to acknowledge the work that women are already doing, and the accomplishments they have already achieved, as well as debate the nature of what remains to be done.

    Four panelists presented the contents of their articles published in the issue. Anat Saragusti, who stepped in for Galia Golan, discussed her own ideas on the dilemmas facing the implementation of a National Action Plan for UNSCR 1Women_and_Power__A_panel_discussion_of_PalestineIsrael_Journals_2011_Issue_2.jpg325 by Israel, thefirst UN member to implement this resolution as law. As a country involved in violent conflict, Israeli national discourse centers on security. This creates two dilemmas wherein we must define what security means to various groups of people and then address the gender imbalance in the preexisting security apparatus. When we think of security, we often think of militaristic security for the state, but Saragusti contends that this model excludes the personal and economic concerns of women. This exclusion is further underlined by the general lack of female security experts in Israel. Women do not rise to the highest ranks in the army, thereby denied the know-how and lacking the confidence to speak on matters of state security. Consequently, women’s needs are not considered when state security decisions are made. Saragusti affirms that women need to join the conversation alongside men and help make the decisions.

    Sonia Najjar spoke next about the factors oppressing women under occupation. Externally, she cites Israel as the architect of the occupation and the resultant oppression of Palestinian women, identifying the international community as complicit by failing to adhere to the mandates of international law. Internally, the Palestinian local governing structure lacks the framework to support women under occupation. Najjar ended her presentation questioning whether it was currently possible for Israeli and Palestinian women to participate equally in peace efforts, considering the inherent imbalance between one woman as part of an occupying army and another as part of the occupied.

    Women_and_Power__A_panel_discussion_of_PalestineIsrael_Journals_2011_Issue_3.jpgDalia Scheindlin followed with an investigation into the potential differences in the ways men and women in the general public think about the conflict and peace efforts, concluding that attitudes toward gender equality were greater predictors of attitudes toward peace efforts than gender itself. In other words, a man who supported gender equality was more likely to support peace-building efforts than a man who did not support gender equality. Research conducted before and during Operation Cast Lead revealed that women were more supportive than men of conciliatory democratic efforts by a negligible amount, and somewhat less supportive of provocative Jewish settlement in the West Bank, again by a negligible amount. From these and other findings mentioned in her presentation, Scheindlin concluded that differences between men and women in the general public were small and inconsistent. To further the cause of gender equality for all women, including Palestinian women, education toward feminist values was paramount.

    Lucy Nusseibeh concluded the panel by identifying increasing fragmentation in society and pointing to the need to establish human security to halt this process. Human security, Nusseibeh says, is a focus on the security needs of the individual and a movement away from the state-centric security discourse that Saragusti previously discussed. Human security primarily affirms the need to honor human dignity, an aim that can never be accomplished with the buildup of weapons. A military, Nusseibeh contends, perpetuates the cycle of violence and is ultimately the opposite of security. By focusing on the security needs of the individual, we can shift the paradigm of security discourse from militaristic to humanistic.Women_and_Power__A_panel_discussion_of_PalestineIsrael_Journals_2011_Issue_4.jpg

    During the question and answer session that followed, several in the audience asked what practical steps we as a society can take to ensure equal participation of all men and women in all levels of society. “Education” was the resounding answer from the panel. While this was generally affirmed by the audience as a means to advance gender equality, one woman in the audience pointed out that in order to ensure equality between Palestinian and Israeli women in particular, mutual understanding must be built through consistent, sustained contact between people. Though several programs exist that bring together Palestinian and Israeli children for a day, consistent exposure to each other’s cultures, preferably through shared education, is the sustainable way to enhance mutual cultural understanding.

  • Tomorrow’s Youth Organization, Nablus

    Sunday, June 30, 2013 at 01:00 PM
    Tomorrow's Youth Organization (Nablus) in Nablus, Palestinian Territory, Occupied

    Nablus_1.jpgOn June 30, Women’s Voices Now was generously hosted by Tomorrow’s Youth Organization in Nablus. Located in the northern West Bank, TYO provides all-encompassing support programs to children, youth, and parents of the local communities to enable them to live healthy and empowered lives. The organization is especially groundbreaking in the entrepreneurial, mental health, and fitness programs provided for women. By providing a safe space where women can come to learn, grow, and challenge the accepted social norms within which they live, TYO aims to help women realize their personal potential and thereby further enrich their communities.

    Four films were screened focusing on the relationship patterns between men and women, moving from a light-hearted take on the persistent pressure on women to bear a son (“Male and Female”), to the social isolation teenage girls often experience and the friendship a man can offer (“Laila and the Garbage Man”), to the effectiveness of women in the working world in the both the absence and presence of men (“Thorns and Silk”), and ending with the devastating effect of rape on a woman’s social standing and her perception of herself (“A Call at Night”). Animated discussions in Arabic followed the screening of each film, led by Psychosocial Program Manager Suhad Jabi and translated by Program Assistant Inas Badawi. While the full film of the discussions with English subtitles will be available online shortly, the following is a summary of the women’s reactions.

    Nablus_2.jpgNablus_3.jpg The women, who had been laughing while watching the animated short “Male and Female,” launched into an impassioned and lengthy discussion on the pressure they feel from their husbands and families to bear sons. When asked if they felt they could stop having children if they had not yet borne a son, each woman said it was her husband’s decision—the man has the right to dictate the number of children a woman bears; a woman’s “no” is not an option. In spite of the pressure these women said they felt, they did not vocalize a desire to change this dynamic.

    “Laila and the Garbage Man” proved a more controversial film for the women to watch. Several of the women tutted when the elderly garbage man first befriended teenaged Laila, and when asked about this reaction during the follow-up discussion, six of them said they feared the man would violate her. Though this does not occur in the film, the women maintained that the platonic relationship between a man and a girl was inappropriate. Despite their sympathy for Laila’s loneliness, most women did not support the fulfillment Laila gained from the garbage man’s friendship because he held a position in society not widely respected. During a brief break following this discussion, Suhad expressed her frustration that the women could identify the sources of their unhappiness and oppression but would not let themselves imagine new ways of being, of interacting with their husbands and children to affirm their roles as individuals rather than as mere support for their families.

    Suhad chose “Thorns and Silk” next, wanting to provide positive role models of working women for those present and trigger changes in the way they thought of themselves. The documentary focuses on four women in the West Bank who reflect on their experiences of working in male-dominated arenas. Two minutes into the documentary, when a woman who films brides during weddings is being interviewed, Suhad leaned over to me and whispers, “This woman makes me angry.” When I asked why, she explained that the woman, before accepting work as a filmmaker, had asked her local mufti for his opinion and acquiesced too much to the demands of her husband. Later, as the film focused on a self-possessed Arab woman fearlessly driving a cab in Jerusalem, Suhad threw me a conspiratorial smile and, “I like this woman.”

    Nablus_4.jpgThe most emotionally wrought film of the day, “A Call at Night,” was saved for last. A general pall seemed to fall on the room as we listened to an anonymous woman from Gaza describe how she was raped by her boyfriend after getting into his car, then was forced to marry him. The documentary ends with her chilling, resigned claim that she would be better off dead. While much of the discussion was beyond our limited skills in Arabic to ascertain, Inas made sure we understood one particular fact while she translated: eleven women thought the victim was to blame for the rape—she should have known better than to get in the car.

    In follow-up discussions with the workers at Tomorrow’s Youth Organization (interviews available online soon), an intriguing reality was made apparent: a sharp divide exists between women of the First Intifada (1987-1993) generation and those of the Second Intifada (2000-2005). Women who grew up during the First Intifada tend to be more education-focused and affirming of the collective power of women in society. On the other hand, those women who experienced the economic recession and difficult circumstances that followed the Second Intifada have gravitated toward the superficial allure of the internet, learning to value physical beauty and male affirmation above intellect and independence.

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    Why fight for the empowerment of women? Because they raise the next generation of movers and shakers in society. Because they reinvest 90% of their education and income into their families and communities. Because they internalize the victim monologue and perpetuate their own oppression and unhappiness. Or my favorite reason—because they are people.

    By: Molly Lower

  • Journees de la Femme Muslim, Mennouni Cultural Center, Meknes, Morocco

    Wednesday, June 19, 2013 at 05:30 PM
    Mennouni Cultural Center in Meknes, Morocco

    Journees_de_la_Femme_Muslim__Mennouni_Cultural_Center__Meknes__Morocco.pngJournees de la Femme Muslim,” 
    June 19-20, 2013.

    Women’s Voices Now

    Program itinerary

    19 June, Wednesday

    Exposition: Protection of the Moroccan family (8 Rue Ferhat Hachad, next to the French Institute)

    16:30 - 17:30 Reception exhibition embroidery, clothing and decoration

    Performances

    17:30 - student artists vocal showcase

    Film showing

    18:00 - “You Can Dream…” by: Cortney Healy. To be followed by a panel discussion addressing themes within the film.

    Speakers

    19:00 - Amal Chakrouni, president of the association IPDFM (Initiatives pour la Promotion de Droits des Femmes Marocaines) – their role in the fight against domestic violence.

    19:30 - Professeur Zohra Lhioui “La femme Marocaine et le syndicalisme”

    Speakers

    20:00 - Maitre Abla Bouzekri:“l’analyse de l’article 49 du code de la famille”

    20:30 - Maitre Bignach – Experience as a law consultant at the IPDFM

    End 21:00

    20 June, Thursday

    Speakers

    18:00 - Ouafae Bouzekri - Protection of the Moroccan Family

    18:30 - Majda Alaoui, Clinic Meknes

    Film showing

    19:00-20:30 - “Deux femmes sur la route (Trek Layalat)” directed by Farida Bourquia. To be followed by a panel discussion addressing themes within the film.

    End 21:00

    DAY ONE

    On Wednesday the 19th of June, ISA’s volunteer and intern program ELAP paired with Women’s Voices Now to host the event: Journees de la Femme Muslim which addressed how to improve the treatment, challenges, and conditions that Moroccan women face. The event opened with ELAP’s own Kelly Blake singing a beautiful women’s tribal song called Freyo in the Haitian language, Creole. This invoked the attention of the intimate crowd and coerced them all into a joint clap, enjoying a song that all the English, French, and Darija speakers could equally enjoy. Following Blake’s song WVN’s Elyse Whitehead eloquently introduced the event in all three of the languages required by the crowd. She spoke briefly on the object of WVN’s current world tour and set the stage for both the film and the speakers that were to come. The film, You Can Dream: Stories of Moroccan Women Who Do, made by Courtney Healy showed the lives of six Moroccan women who overcame their personal obstacles in pursuit of their dreams to make Date coffee, teach within their community, and sew clothes. The film was powerful especially for the Moroccan men and women in the crowd who fully understand the struggles that the women in the film face.

    Following the film speakers Amal Chakrouni, Abla Bouzekri and Souhra Lhioui came to the stage along with translator for the evening Ouafae Bouzekri. Amal Chakrouni, president of the Initiatives pour la Promotion de Droits des Femmes Morcaines (IPDFM), spoke first on the organizations role in fighting domestic violence. The IPDFM has a myriad of ways in which it tackles this goal including listening centers, informing women on their rights under the Moudawana and having roundtable discussions on those rights, and providing a lawyer for women whose rights have been violated or women who need help with divorce. Chakrouni also spoke of her goals to establish listening centers at high schools and universitities to better reach the youth population of Morocco. Chakrouni’s informative speech was followed by Maitre Abla Bouzekri who adressed and educated the crowd on Article 49 of the family code, which leaves many women with nothing after divorce. Wives’ contributions in the house are often ignored because she is not bringing in a paycheck. Bouzekri implored that their is an imbalance in the value of labor and that women’s work in the home should be recognized as a valid contribution and thereby a means to recieve equal assets in the case of divorce.Bouzekri spoke of her efforts to raise awareness on this issue and invoke social change. Closing the speeches for the evening was Professor Zohra Lhioui who fights for higher representation of women in unions. She spoke to the obstaces women face in this arena such as; women’s inability to be on union boards due to time constraints as many women are double burdened with housework and their jobs, union meetings are on a man’s schedule and are therefore often hosted very late when women have to be home with the children, and furthermore the important decisions are made at the end of meetings when even the more persistent women truly can no longer be present. Lhioui spoke of her desire to change the social mentality and invoke political and union gender equality whilst stressing that women must band together to make this happen.

    Closing out the night was a short question and answer session where the women struck a tone of empowerment along with their answers. The questions from the crowd begged the women to implore how these things can be conquered and what is most important in helping these goals be realized. The most shocking and powerful answer came from the translator for the evening and president of the Protection of the Moroccan Family org., Ouafae Bouzekri, who demanded the women in the crowd to empower themselves. She instructed women to never allow a man to demean her, to stick up for herself and her rights always, and to treat her children equally (hinting at women in Morocco treating their sons as Kings). Other powerful thoughts amongst the Q and A portion of the evening were that women have a special ability to go strongly and unyieldingly in the direction of their passions and that if the women in Morocco decide together to believe in a cause fully and band together behind it, then they cannot be stopped. The evening provided many wonderfully powerful moments as well as much information for the women and men alike in attendance. It was a successful first night of the event which continued on Thursday where there was a shortened version of the night with speakers Oufae Bouzekri and Majda Alaoui as well as a film, Deux femmes sur la route, directed by Farida Bourquia.

    By: Liz Vaughn

  • Women’s Bodies in Public and Private Spaces

    Sunday, June 16, 2013 at 12:00 PM
    Tel Aviv University, Gilman Building in Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel

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    On June 16, Women’s Voices Now and the Moshe Dayan Center of Tel Aviv University co-hosted a film screening and lecture by Samir Ben-Layashi at Tel Aviv University. The two films screened, “You Can Dream: Stories of Moroccan Women Who Do” and “Thorns and Silk,” focused on the successes of women in Morocco and the West Bank, respectively, highlighting themes of persistence in the face of adversity and emphasizing the importance of education in first identifying and then achieving personal and communal goals. The lecture centered around the effect of the Arab Spring on perceptions of women’s bodies in public and private spaces, focusing on Morocco and Egypt.

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    A lively discussion followed Samir’s lecture that drew together several themes within the discourse of feminism and sexual revolution. In Muslim-majority societies where there is a sharp divide between the private and the public space, Samir identified that women can be sexually repressed by other women even in the private sphere. To illustrate this point, he showed the nude picture that Aliaa Elmahdy famously published on her blog in October 2011 to challenge the social structures in Egypt that contribute to the oppression of women. In the photo (pictured below), aside from her immediately apparent nudity, she notably stands with one leg up on a stool. She apparently chose this posture after absentmindedly holding the same pose, clothed, in front of a religious woman who criticized her for its inherent provocation. To break the barrier of shame imposed in the public sphere and perpetuated in the private sphere by other women, Samir advocated the addition of shock value to any enterprise women undertake to liberate themselves. He also identified how the discourse on women’s rights is often framed in terms of national or religious responsibility, and suggested that not until this connection was severed would there be a truly free space to discuss women’s rights.

    Among the questions raised were what are the goals of the women’s liberation movement, and should such goals be overtly articulated at the risk of interfering with an organic process? What happens when the revolution is won, and what is considered a victory, since equality in legislation does not necessarily mean equality in society?

    A video of the lecture will be available on the website soon. We hope you will contribute your thoughts in the comments section!

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  • Women’s Rights and Self Expression in Muslim-majority Societies, Tel Aviv University

    Thursday, June 06, 2013 at 12:00 PM
    Tel Aviv University in Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel

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    On June 6, WVN Executive Director Heidi Basch-Harod spoke to an audience at Tel Aviv University the importance of supporting women in Muslim-majority societies from a place of understanding and unity.

    Today, women throughout the world continue to suffer from violence, persecution for their gender, and inaccess to economic opportunities, to name a few difficulties they face. In spite of these challenges, it is clear that women in these societies are stepping up to the challenges they face and they are asking the world to stand side-by-side by them as they demand their human rights.

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    According to Basch-Harod, the most important thing to do is find out how we as the international community can be of service. We do this by listening to their voices and understanding their societies, histories, and traditions. Through the films received by WVN, we also learn about their hopes and dreams, and see if we can contribute something to their struggle that women throughout the world, in fact, share.

    Continue to follow us on the WVN Global Tour 2013! Click here to view our travel blog.

  • Women’s Voices from the Muslim World at SOAS, University of London

    Tuesday, May 07, 2013 at 01:00 PM
    School of Oriental and African Studies in London, United Kingdom

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    On May 7, 2013, WVN Intern Kelsey Cherland will screen many of the prize-winning films from WVN’s inaugural film festival - Women’s Voices from the Muslim World: A Short-Film Festival, in the Student Union of SOAS, University of London. Screenings will take place from 1-3 pm and are open to anyone interested in viewing these powerful and unique films.

    Join Kelsey and learn more about the work of Women’s Voices Now, Tuesday, May 7, 2013, 1-3pm at theStudent Union. If you have any questions, you can reach Kelsey by e-mail: kelsey@womensvoicesnow.org.

    To RSVP on Facebook, join the event Women’s Voices Now Short Film Screening.

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    Screening Program:

    1700% Project: Mistaken for Muslim by Anida Yoeu Ali (USA) - A poet, dancer, angel and prisoner converge with community to intervene against racial profiling and hate crimes. Narratives collide with music, poetry and politics to create a complex and layered experience. Featured portraits represent real American Muslims in Chicago. All unite as people who refuse to end in violence.

    Breaking the Silence by Ammar Basha (Yemen)- The video chronicles the lives and injustices against the Akhdam women in Yemen. The ‘Akhdam’ , singular Khadem, meaning “servant” in Arabic, are a social group in Yemen, distinct from the majority by their darker skin and African descent.

    The Unveiledby Ola Diab (Qatar)- Some Muslims believe that women are required to wear it in Islam whereas other believe that it is a choice and not a requirement in Islam. This ambiguity is a result of different interpretations of a Quran verse which is about women covering their bodies.

    Francais Langue Etrangere by Kartik Singh (France) - In a ‘French for foreigners’ course, a heated debate arises between two Muslim women over the right to wear a veil during class.

    Half Value Life by Alka Sadat (Afghanistan) - Marya Bashir, an Afghan female public prosecutor from Heart province, deals with criminals. Bashir is the first female Afghan-Hindo women’s rights activist and she focuses on eliminating violence against women. The film highlights several of Bashir’s cases in families where the bride is still a child.

    Jazbaa (A Strong Will) by Rama Barhat (India) - Manju Khatri is no ordinary woman. She’s taken on a male dominated society the only way she knows –driving an autorickshaw in Udaipur. The only female rickshaw drivier, she has a faithful following, especially among children going to school.

    Basita by Laila Hotait Salas (Lebanon) - The film recreates what Laila Salas’s family never talks about: the suicide of a young woman.

    Male and Female (Anonymous, Egypt) - An old fashion thinking leads to bad decisions in an amusing cartoon.

  • Women’s Voices Now Guest Lecture at VCU School of World Studies

    Friday, April 19, 2013 at 06:00 PM
    Virginia Commonwealth School of World Studies in Richmond, VA

    On April 29, 2013, WVN Executive Director Heidi Basch-Harod delivered a guest lecture to a course on Arab Cinema at the Virginia Commonwealth School (VCU) of World Studies.

    At the invitation of Asst. Prof. Salwa Sheibany, Basch-Harod addressed the classroom on the basic tenets ofWomen’s Voices Now and its promotion of free expression through film, writing, and the arts. The undergraduate course learns about Arab culture, history, geography, politics, and gender issues through film and discussion. Basch-Harod emphasized that with knowledge comes power and responsibility, and that when we learn about different cultures and peoples in the world, we need to make smart decisions as to what we intend to do with that information. Especially, if we see ourselves as global citizens of the world, who are interconnected and influential each in his or her own right, knowledge and understanding needs to inform the involvement and activism we may pursue in our careers or personal interactions. This is particularly true when it comes to the complicated and worthy cause of women’s rights in Muslim-majority societies.

    If you are interested in inviting a member of WVN’s staff to your university class, via skype or in person, please e-mail heidi@womensvoicesnow.org.

  • Let Our Voices Emerge: Narratives by Olga Stamatiou, Charleston, SC

    Saturday, March 23, 2013 at 05:00 PM
    City Gallery at Waterfront Park in Charleston, SC

    Let_Our_Voices_Emerge__Narratives_by_Olga_Stamatiou__Charleston__SC_1.jpg

    LET OUR VOICES EMERGE: NARRATIVES BY OLGA STAMATIOU
    at City Gallery at Waterfront Park, Charleston, South Carolina
    March 23-April 28, 2013

    Opening Reception: Saturday, March 23, from 5:00 PM until 7:00 PM.

    Let Our Voices Emerge is an exhibition that combines oil paintings by Olga Stamatiou with curated videos from the Women’s Voices Now film festival - Women’s Voices from the Muslim World. The exhibition examines sensitive social issues such as gender equality, ethnic and religious tolerance, and human rights. Utilizing thought-provoking imagery and strong symbols, Stamatiou uses art to convey a message about women’s invisibility worldwide.

    Events:
    Olga Stamatiou will lecture on her artwork April 14th at 3:00 PM.
    Dr. Helen Delfeld, assistant professor at the College of Charleston, will give a lecture on April 7th at 3:00 PM.

    Let_Our_Voices_Emerge__Narratives_by_Olga_Stamatiou__Charleston__SC_2.jpg

  • Muslima: Muslim Women’s Art and Voices

    Monday, March 11, 2013 at 06:00 PM
    Online

    Muslima__Muslim_Womens_Art_and_Voices.pngWomen’s Voices Now is a proud partner of Muslima: Muslim Women’s Art & Voices, a groundbreaking online exhibition launched by the International Museum of Women (IMOW). Part exhibit, part call to action—the site features a constantly evolving roster of artists, writers, musicians, and other women from all over the world who are defining their own identities and defying negative stereotypes.

    Muslima: Muslim Women’s Art & Voices features WVN Film Festival 1st Prize Winner Alka Sadat’s Half-Value Life, and includes an exclusive interview between IMOW, Alka Sadat, and Maria Bashir.

    Do you have a story to tell? Share it with the world—the International Museum of Women is now accepting submissions for Muslima: Muslim Women’s Art & Voices. Submit by April 15!

    We hope you will take this amazing opportunity to discover Muslim women’s art & stories, meet Muslim women from all over the world and promote understanding, diversity, and dialogue.

    Help us spread the word about the SPEAK UP! LISTEN UP! campaign to support the empowerment of Muslim women worldwide and encourage diverse global dialogue. Help IMOW reach its goal to collect 15,000 signatures by clicking here.

  • United We Stand to End Violence and Discrimination Against Women

    Sunday, March 10, 2013 at 01:30 PM
    Santa Monica Public Library Martin Luther King Jr. Auditorium in Santa Monica, CA

    UNITED WE STAND TO END VIOLENCE AND DISCRIMINATION AGAINST WOMEN
    In celebration of International Women’s Day

    A collaboration of Afghans, Iranians, and American organizations in Southern California.

    Sunday March 10, 2013
    1:30 pm to 5:00 pm
    Santa Monica Public Library
    Martin Luther King Jr. Auditorium
    601 Santa Monica Blvd.
    Santa Monica, Ca. 90401
    View map here

    Keynote Speaker:

    Ms. Fazlia Seraj, Afghan Women’s Association of Southern California

    Guest Speakers:

    Dr. Nayereh Tohidi, Professor and former Chair at the Department of G&WS CSUN
    Ms. Raihana Niazi, JD, Attorney-At-Law
    Dr. Nilab Mobarez, MD, United Nation Spokesperson
    Ms. Maliha Sarwari, Afghan Women’s Association of Southern California
    Ms. Heidi Basch-Harod, Executive Director Women’s Voices Now

    Music by: Shahrzad Sepanlou & Fared Shafinury
    Poem by: Partow Nooriala

    Band group: “The KI” by Roxie Sakura from UN Women
    Video on Stoning by Soraya Fallah
    Information desk and sign in table in support of Women political prisoners in Iran.

    Event Moderators: Fazlia Seraj and Soraya Fallah

    Co-Sponsored by:

    Afghan Women’s Association of Southern California (AWASC)
    Supporters of ” Laleh Park Mothers “/ Los Angeles - Valley
    Society for Human Rights in Iran - Southern California
    Society for Democracy in Iran - Southern California
    Union for Advancement of Secular Democracy in Iran

    Supported by:

    UNA-USA / San Fernando Valley
    UN-Women/ the Greater Los Angeles Chapter
    Kurdish-American Committee for Democracy and Human rights in Iran
    International Health & Epidemiology Research Center

    Parking is available in the library’s parking lot, click here for details.

    The event is free and open to the public.

  • March for a Life Free From Violence Against Women and Girls

    Friday, March 08, 2013 at 10:00 AM
    Dag Hammarskjold Plaza in New York, NY

    Women’s Voices Now is a proud co-sponsor of the AWID-initiated “March for a Life Free From Violence Against Women and Girls,” taking place on March 8, 2013, International Women’s Day, in New York, New York.

    For more details, visit the Call for Participation.

    March_for_a_Life_Free_From_Violence_Against_Women_and_Girls_1.jpg

  • Profiles in Courage: Human Rights Defenders and the Struggle to End Violence Against Women

    Monday, March 04, 2013 at 10:30 AM
    Armenian Convention Center in New York, NY

    Women’s Voices Now Director, Dr.Qanta Ahmed will participate in the UN Watch event:

    Profiles in Courage: Human Rights Defenders and the Struggle to End Violence Against Women,”March 4, 2013.
    This is an official NGO side event for the 57th Session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women.

    Profiles_in_Courage__Human_Rights_Defenders_and_the_Struggle_to_End_Violence_Against_Women_1.jpg“The Situation of Women’s Rights in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.”
    Dr. Qanta Ahmed

    Human rights activist, associate professor of Medicine at the State University of New York (Stony Brook).
    Author of In the Land of Invisible Women: A Female Doctor’s Journey in the Saudi Kingdom.

    Courage__Human_Rights_Defenders_and_the_Struggle_to_End_Violence_Against_Women_2.jpg“The Situation of Women’s Rights in Iran.”
    Roya Hakakian

    Author, Farsi poet, founding member of the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center, producer for CBS 60 Minutes and other programs. Her most recent book,Assassins of the Turquoise Palace, about Iran’s terror campaign against exiled Iranian dissidents in Western Europe, was named a Notable Book of 2011 by theNew York Times Book Review.

    Courage__Human_Rights_Defenders_and_the_Struggle_to_End_Violence_Against_Women_3.jpg“Violence Against Women in the Syrian Struggle for Freedom.”
    Hadeel Kouki

    A student human rights activist from Syria, Ms. Kouki has testified before the United Nations Human Rights Council and headlined the 2012 Geneva Summit for Human Rights.

    This event will be moderated by Celia Michonik, Chair of International Outreach, UN Watch.

    Date: Monday, March 4, 2013
    When: 10:30 AM
    Where: V-Hall Armenian Convention Center
    Address: 630 2nd Avenue, New York, NY 10016

    Co-Sponsors: Darfur Peace and Development Centre, Directorio Democratico Cubano, Gram Bharati Samiti, Initiatives for China, International Council of Jewish Women, Inter-African Committee on Traditional Practices, Solidarity House International Foundation, South Panafrican International, United Nations Watch, World Uyghur Congress

  • Women’s Art Now, An Exhibition Benefiting WVN

    Saturday, January 19, 2013 at 04:00 PM
    LESLIE SACKS FINE ART (Brentwood) in Los Angeles, CA

    W O M E N ’ S A R T N O W
    an Exhibition Benefiting
    Women’s Voices Now
    Jan. 19 - Feb. 25, 2013

    Kelly Berg Pat Berger Cheryl Ekstrom Helen Frankenthaler Carole Freeman
    Zhenya Gershman Nancy Graves Bay Hallowell JD Hansen Minjung Kim
    Samella Lewis Jamie Oxman Elizabeth Peyton Beverly Pepper Judy Pfaff
    Susanna Schultan Julie Brown Smith Pat Steir

    info@lesliesacks.com www.lesliesacks.com

    Reception for the artists: Saturday, January 19, 4-7 PM
    Installation photo opportunity 3:30 PM

    Keynote Speaker, Judy L. Larson
    Former Director, National Museum for Women in the Arts
    Director, Ridley-Tree Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, California

    Women’s_Art_Now__An_Exhibition_Benefiting_WVN_1.jpg

    Samella Lewis, b. 1923;
    Woman in the Field, 1995;
    oil on canvas, 44x35 inches

    WOMEN’S ART NOW shines a vivid light on what’s long been missing from the socio-cultural and socio-political equations at work in much of the world today: that missing factor being equal input from women.
    Thus all the works in this exhibition, though not necessarily about women, are by women.

    The only other criteria for the selection of artworks is that they be masterfully executed, authentic expressions of the artists’ identities and consequent points of view. The field from which the artists were selected was defined in an equally simple manner - the artists have either crossed paths with the gallery and/or the gallery has collected their work.

    Having cast this modest curatorial net absent of an aesthetic agenda other than artistry and authenticity, this show nevertheless exhibits a broad cross-section from the canons of modernism, post-modernism, feminism and post-feminism. Styles range from literal to abstract, geometric to expressionist; media range from traditional painting, graphics and sculpture to conceptual and other “avant-garde” forms.

    ALL PROCEEDS FROM WOMEN’S ART NOW WILL BE DIRECTLY CONTRIBUTED TO WOMEN’S VOICES NOW.

  • Absorbing the Inferno: A Voice Against Acid Attacks, Nov. 30, 2012

    Friday, November 30, 2012 at 07:00 PM
    USC- Taper Hall in Los Angeles, CA

    Absorbing the Inferno: A Voice Against Acid Attacks
    Commemorating November 25th, International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

    Ifrah Sheikh is a junior at the University of Southern California (USC). A petite, caramel-skinned, hijab-wearing young woman whose family emigrated from Pakistan, Ifrah often spends time in front of a camera, using film to work through her thoughts, aspirations, and uncertainties. Recently her videos have been about the injustice of women in Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, whose lives are devastated the moment acid is thrown into their faces, leaving scars of shame and embarrassment for the rest of their days. Around 1,500 acid attacks are reported globally each year, but this number is far from representative of the true number of victims because most attacks are never reported (Survivors Trust International 2012).

    WVN took the opportunity to get to know Ifrah Sheikh, who will speak at our event commemorating the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (November 25). On Friday, November 30th, at Taper Hall, Room #102 on the USC campus, Ifrah will share her research and her hopes for a project she plans to take to the places where acid attacks occur. To further inform the public on the global issue of violence against women, two films from Women’s Voices from the Muslim World: A Short Film Festival (2011) will also be screened at the event.

    Absorbing_the_Inferno__A_Voice_Against_Acid_Attacks.jpgA Few Moments with Ifrah –

    HBH for WVN: Tell me a bit about who you are, where you grew up and how you got to the point you are at today.

    IS:My ethnic roots tie back to South Asia mostly. My mother was born in Pakistan and my father was born in Saudi Arabia but is ethnically from Pakistan as well. After they got married they both came to United States, eventually settling in Portland, Oregon, which is where I grew up and consider home.

    I was always a creative child, but I think I really delved into my artistic practice as a means of escape and expression right before I hit high school. I had a rough time in my adolescent years and art was one of the few things in my life that was empowering and comforting.

    I struggled most of my life with reconciling my various identities. I am a first generation American, the daughter of immigrants, a Muslim woman, an artist, a person of color and an individual living a life as a minority within a minority.

    It was only when I realized my struggle came from the negativity I was receiving from others did I become comfortable in my own skin. All my identities compliment each other beautifully in my mind and heart. I never felt an internal clash, I just had to learn not to care what people think and do what is best for myself. At this point I am at peace with who I am, which is a relatively new but wonderful feeling.

    *****

    “Pain is fuel. It reminds me of what is important and who is important. It reminds me of my ultimate goal to make God proud. And it keeps the fire burning inside.”

    *****

    HBH for WVN: Who has inspired you and your work most in your life?

    IS:Each person in my family - my mother, my father, my brother and my sister - inspire me to be the best version of myself without having to say a word. They are fiercely and uniquely compassionate people and they have never given up on me.

    The second group of people who have significantly inspired me are all the people who have hurt me in the past. The strength I have gotten from people who have told me I am not enough in one way or another is honestly the most empowering drive I have ever experienced. Pain is fuel. It reminds me of what is important and who is important. It reminds me of my ultimate goal to make God proud. And it keeps the fire burning inside.

    *****

    HBH for WVN:You approached WVN to help you spread the word about your research and concern for acid attack victims in Central and South Asia. Why does this particular act of violence against women move you to do something?

    IS:My devotion to this issue stems from my general concern for human rights, justice, and gender equality issues. I having been focusing on such ideas in my art since I hit college, which is also the time I became very involved in social and political activism and community work.

    But if I look at this deeper, I think the reason I am putting in this much time and effort is because it is a very personal situation to explore. If by chance I had been born into a life without the opportunities I have been blessed with, I realize any one of those women could have been me. We have the same skin, the same dark hair and eyes, the same cultural reference. There is a familiarity that I cannot ignore, and it has captivated me. My focus is on women in Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka. I am creating paintings, sketches, video and photography work from my interpretation of this epidemic.

    *****

    “If by chance I had been born into a life without the opportunities I have been blessed with, I realize any one of those women could have been me.”

    *****

    HBH for WVN: What do you hope to gain by carrying out these projects? What do you hope to contribute by carrying out your work?

    IS: I gain something every time I approach this project. It is hard to sort out my emotions and thoughts at this point because they are so complex and raw, but I think it definitely relates to figuring out my place within this project.

    I have never experienced the physical situation these women are dealing with. But I have interacted with people who think they are inherently superior, a thought that is in the mind of every person who has attacked a woman with acid. I have felt what it is like to be stripped of my power and dignity, and I know how it rips you apart. So I hope to find a way to heal my own wounds as I continue this project.

    My main goal is to bring awareness to this issue. It is so horrific, but at the same time it is foreign to most people. My strategy in accomplishing this goal is putting in time, dedication, sincerity and compassion. If I can maintain those things, I know I will be satisfied.

    *****

    “My main goal is to bring awareness to this issue.”

    *****

    HBH for WVN: What are acid attacks? Why and where do they occur? Who are the victims?

    IS: Acid attacks are a form of violence, most commonly against women in third world countries. It is the premeditated surprise attack of throwing acid on someone. Hydrochloric or sulfuric acids are the most common types of acid used during an attack. The acid is so strong it begins to eat away at the flesh immediately and inflicts quick and permanent damage, often causing blindness and destruction of bone and cartilage. Since most of the victims are of low economic standing, the medical attention they receive is limited. Once the initial burns begin to heal, they rarely get secondary, reconstructive medical work done because of the cost and availability of such treatment.

    The reason why this is such an effective form of violence against women is because it destroys their entire lives. Most victims live in a society where deformity is taboo and people with physical abnormalities are marginalized, belittled, mocked, and blamed.

    *****

    HBH for WVN: Is this violence more prominent in one society or another? What are some of the institutions that uphold/enable acid attacks to occur/continue? What, if any, measures are being taken to prevent this form of violence against women?

    IS: The reason why this is occurring differs from country to country. In Afghanistan, individuals who do not want women to get an education aim attacks at girls going to school. In Pakistan, marital disputes, problems between family members, or monetary conflicts spur such violence. Attacks in Bangladesh are occurring for the same reasons, but the patriarchal mindset there is definitely more severe and women in general are treated and regarded in an even more derogatory way than in Pakistan, which is why attacks happen a lot between unmarried, unrelated individuals. The idea of putting a women in her place is very rampant in India and the concept of revenge is a very strong motive for such attacks. India’s lingering caste system and internal racism does not help the situation either.

    Corrupt governments, bribery, extensive sexism, poverty and a patriarchal ideology are only some examples of both the concrete and intangible institutes that uphold the acid attack epidemic. Unfortunately, this is happening in places where unrelated catastrophes are occurring on a daily basis as well. Many people look at this problem as just another bullet point on a long list of societal issues. People are becoming indifferent and desensitized, and there is a sense of apathy regarding this form of violence. In my opinion this is one of the most pressing concerns of this whole situation.

    From the research I have done and what I understand of the issue, it is a multinational problem, religion is not a main component in terms of violence justification. Acid attacks stem from a common gender ideology that is based in culture. Women of all faiths have been victimized. It is more of a cultural phenomenon rather than a situation that is linked to specific religions. If there is one country where religion is brought into the picture more, it would have to be Afghanistan. In Afghanistan the Taliban takes large responsibility for throwing acid on girls walking to school because they don’t want women to be educated. However I would say that even there, the justification is mixed with historical and cultural traditions and terror ideology.

    *****

    “Many people look at this problem as just another bullet point on a long list of societal issues. People are becoming indifferent and desensitized, and there is a sense of apathy regarding this form of violence.”

    *****

    HBH for WVN: Do you have any sympathy for the men who carry out these attacks? Could you explain why men use this method to attain whatever it is their ultimate aims are?

    IS: I think in general, regardless of the specifics of why men do this, it is ultimately about a common way of thinking. Most of these men honestly believe they have a right to do what they are doing. They have all, in some manner or another, been told they are superior to women intellectually, physically, spiritually, etc. It is an idea they have been taught and have adapted.

    I am not excusing them for what they are doing. There is no excuse for this situation. There is no excuse for violence, disparagement, humiliation or power play, whether is manifests in the form of acid attacks or verbal abuse.

    This is a difficult question for me to answer. In general, I always try to look for the reason people do horrific things. I have a hard time accepting that they are simply horrific people. I don’t want to believe it is simply evil at the root of this epidemic. I rather think that if things had been different for such individuals, they would never commit such heinous acts. But I might just be too idealistic, too altruistic. I have that tendency.

    *****

    HBH for WVN: Do you think there is a global responsibility to prevent acid attacks? Or should this be dealt with internally, within each community?

    IS: Forget talking about prevention. Before you can prevent anything from happening, you have to care. I think that on every scale, it is an obligation to be concerned with the wellbeing of others. That is why I am personally involved in so much activism and community service work. It is not because it is easy. It is much easier to turn a blind eye to the atrocities of this world. Ignorance is bliss. I do it because there is no question in my mind that is my responsibility as a human being. If we don’t look after one another, we will turn against one another.

    *****

    To learn more about a title="Ifrah Sheikh " href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PX3TuQk8gTg&feature=youtu.be">Ifrah Sheikh  and Women’s Voices Now, please join us, Friday, November 30, from 7-9pm in Room #102 of the Mark Taper Hall, USC, Los Angeles, California. Please click here for a map. For questions, please write Heidi Basch-Harod at heidi@womensvoicesnow.org.

    Donations are greatly appreciated, proceeds will directly benefit the work of Acid Survivors Foundation andWomen’s Voices Now, a registered 501(c)3 not-for-profit enterprise.

    The event is graciously co-sponsored by Ansar Service Partnership (ASP), USC Muslim Student Union (MSU),Desis Instigating Social and Historical Opportunities En Masse (DISHOOM), DESI Projects (Defining and Exploring South Asian Issues), the USC Center for Men and Women, and the USC Interfaith Council.

  • WVN Co-Sponsors Screening of The Light In Her Eyes at Scripps College

    Thursday, October 25, 2012 at 06:00 PM
    Scripps College- Betty Cree Edwards Humanities Auditorium in Claremont, CA

    WVN_Co-Sponsors_Screening_of_The_Light_In_Her_Eyes_at_Scripps_College.jpegHeld at the Edwards Humanities Auditorium of Scripps College in Claremont, California, WVN co-hosted a screening of The Light in Her Eyes, a documentary that tells the story of Houda al-Habash, a conservative Muslim preacher who founded a Qur’an school for girls in Damascus, 30 years ago.

    Following the screening, students from the Claremont College Consortium met with Julia Meltzer and Laura Nix (directors and producers) to ask questions inspired by this fascinating film. Touching on issues of women’s rights within the Qur’an and interpretations of Islamic law, the role of women in society, and the meanings of feminism, Meltzer and Nix shared stories and adventures from filming on site in Damascus, and from their encounters with the women who participate in al-Habash’s summer Qur’an reading course.

  • WVN at Women, Action, Media Conference in LA

    Sunday, March 25, 2012 at 07:00 PM
    Santa Monica College in Santa Monica, CA

    WVN_at_WAM_Conference_in_LA.jpgI was invited to present on WVN’s work at the annual Women Action Media conference held by the L.A. chapter of the organization. The theme of the conference was The Feminist Possibilities of Documentary Film. My co-presenters were Jennifer Lee, director of the upcoming film “Feminist: Stories from the Women’s Liberation” and Janice Rosenthal Littlejohn, journalist and director of “…but can she play?” along with contemporary jazz trumpeter and songwriter, Crystal J. Torres. I presented on WVN’s Global Tour programs in the U.A.E and Jordan. The stories from our programs were woven into a discussion about women’s issues in the Arab world, previous feminist movements and the growing Islamic Feminist movements. We discussed women as agents of change and men’s roles in improving the status and lives of women. The audience, largely made up of students, academics and some folks from the public, watched our Festival film “Feminin Masculin” by Sadaf Foroughi from Iran. A woman approached me after the presentation to tell me that she identified with the woman in the film and with some of the stories from our Jordan program. She was Mexican-American and had gone against the grain in her community to marry the man of her choice, have children at a young age and finish her college degree while still earning money to help support her family. It goes to show that a woman’s spirit and desires for her life crosses all cultural and physical boundaries.

    Suzie Abdou
    Director of Global Programs

  • WVN Lectures at Santa Monica College

    Tuesday, March 20, 2012 at 01:00 PM
    Santa Monica College in Los Angeles, CA

    WVN_Lectures_at_Santa_Monica_College.jpgI was once again invited to lecture to one of Professor Melanie Klein’s classes. This time I presented to her Women’s Studies class at Santa Monica College. The class was comprised of female students with only three male students. These young people had not had a lecture or presentation on women’s issues in the Arab world. So I began with a background on the region and the women’s movement including the newly developing Islamic feminist movement. I continued with stories from our screenings in the UAE earlier that month and in Jordan from October 2011. There were several women in our various screenings which had shared their experiences as leaders in their communities or going against the grain in their families or villages with regards to their career choice. The students watched Festival film “Male and Female” by a director from Egypt. The first question that I received was “I heard women wear the hijab because they want to protect themselves from rape, is that right?”. Another question was how women’s rights in Pakistan have been affected after the assassination of President Benazir Bhutto. That was really an opportunity to talk about how women’s rights would be affected by the recent revolutions in the Middle East and the rise of theocratic governments. My favorite question was, “how could you go into these countries and even have these kinds of discussions given the political climate? It just sounds like a suicide mission!” The only comment given by a male student was pointing me to the controversy around M.I.A’s “Bad Girls” music video which addresses Saudi women’s fight for the right to drive.

    Suzie Abdou
    Director of Global Programs

  • JORDAN Schedule

    Sunday, October 09, 2011 at 07:00 PM
    Makan Art Space in Jabal Al-Weibdeh, Amman, Jordan

    JORDAN_Schedule.jpg

    Dear Friends, Supporters and Filmmakers,

    Women’s Voices Now is pleased to announce that this October we will be traveling Women’s Voices from the Muslim World: A Short-Film Festival around Jordan! 

    Please join us as we present film screenings, panels of speakers including local experts and filmmakers, and even a DJ/VJ party at our following events:

    AMMAN

    The Visceral Experience 
    Date & Time: October 9 @ 7pm
    Location: Makan Art Space
    Building number 21, Nadim Al-Mallah St.
    Jabal Al-Weibdeh, Amman

    The Woman Warrior
    Date & Time: October 11 @ 11am
    Location: University of Jordan, Amman 11942

    Love, Sex & Other Dangerous Pursuits 
    Date & Time: October 18 @ 8pm
    Location: Royal Film Commission
    1st Circle, Jabal Amman 5 Omar Bin Al Khattab Street
    (off Rainbow Street) Amman 22110

    The Warrior & The Slave
    Date & Time: October 19 @ 8pm
    Location: Royal Film Commission
    1st Circle, Jabal Amman 5 Omar Bin Al Khattab Street
    (off Rainbow Street) Amman 22110

    Reception and VJ/DJ Party
    Date & Time: October 23 @ 7pm
    Location: Jordan National Gallery Of Fine Art
    (hosted by Makan Art Space)
    Jabal Al-Weibdeh, Amman

    ZARQA

    Girls In The Muslim World
    Date & Time: October 12 @ 12 pm
    Location: Hashemite University, Zarqa
    *Students here come from mostly underprivileged villages in the north

    IRBID

    The Woman Warrior
    Date & Time: October 13 @ 10am
    Location: Jordan University of Science & Technology, Irbid 22110
    *Private event for grad students in nursing and medicine

    MADABA

    The Warrior & The Slave
    Date & Time: October 20 @ 8pm
    Location: Women’s Center, Madaba
    (hosted by Royal Film Commission)

    AQABA

    Screening: Festival Winners
    Date & Time: October 21 @ 7pm
    Location: Red Sea Institute of Cinematic Arts
    RSICA Building, Al Rashid Street, Aqaba

  • A Focus on Afghanistan

    Saturday, May 21, 2011 at 12:00 PM
    Rubin Museum of Art in New York, NY

    Presenting a one day festival featuring a selection of Afghan films from Women’s Voices Now from The Muslim World: A Short-Film Festival, followed by panel discussions.

    Rubin_Museum_of_Art__16_May_2011.jpg

    May 21, 2011 at 12 - 6pm

    • $20 Day Pass
    • 10% discount for members
    • $5 Student Day Pass

    Note: All programs are subject to change


    Part 1

    Voices of Afghanistan

    2009, Documentary by Heather Metcalfe / Afghanistan, 13 minutes

    Four Afghan women talk about their experiences living through war and oppression, finding independence, and contributing to the rebuilding of their country. Voices of Afghanistan, a video short shot by Heather Metcalfe, Artfully Unforgotten’s Founder and Executive Director, during her trip to Mazar-e Sharif, Afghanistan in June 2009. These stories are made up of glimpses into the lives of Rangila, Dr. Nadjia, Alima and Ferishta, 4 of the Afghan women Heather had the pleasure of meeting while there.

    Half Value Life

    2009, Documentary by Alka Sadat / Afghanistan, 25 minutes

    Marya Bashir, an Afghan female public prosecutor from Herat province, deals with criminals, Mafia bands and narcotics smugglers. At one point, Bashir’s house is blasted by one of the many enemies she makes through her job. Bashir is the first female Afghan-Hindo women’s rights activist and she focuses on eliminating violence against women. The film highlights several of Bashir’s domestic violence and rape cases in families where the bride is still a child.

    Sunglasses

    2009, Fiction by Mustafa Kia / Afghanistan, 3 minutes
    A young Afghan woman’s desire to buy sunglasses despite the conflict between traditional Afghan customs and western values.

    A Path to Follow

    2010, Documentary by Nazifa Zakizadu / Afghanistan, 12 minutes
    Young Afghan girls gain confidence through a local Tae Kwon Do class.

    Somaye

    2009, Experimental by Mostafa Heravi / Netherlands, 3 minutes
    Women and freedom.

    Part 2

    Again Life
    2009, Fiction by Hassan Fazeli / Afghanistan, 15 minutes
    An Afghan woman who has husband and a kid loses her leg in mine explosion. After this incident her husband leaves her and their kid. She has to stand on her feet to continue her life and…

    The Sound of the Footstep
    2010, Documentary by Mariam Nabil Kamal / Afghanistan, 25 minutes
    Ali Abad Rehabilitation Centre is a unique experience. Here, disabled people make artificial limbs for other disabled. Through their struggle to adapt and their life stories, we discover how many Afghan people have suffered from the war and its consequences.

    A, B, C ...
    Documentary by Mahbooba Ibrahimi / Afghanistan, 21 minutes
    A 15-year old disabled girl in Afghanistan has a burning desire to learn. Education is not readily available to her and she faces many challenges before her mother and an aid agency finally arrange for a private teacher to teach her at home.

    Part 3

    Oppression of Hazaras in Afghanistan
    2008, Documentary by Zareen Taj / Afghanistan, 13 minutes
    The story of the Taliban’s ethnic cleansing of the Hazara people in Afghanistan has remained mostly untold. This movie is dedicated to all the Hazara men, women and children living around the world. My purpose for this movie is to tell the world about the Hazara people: their history, their culture, and their suffering…past and present. This movie will be dedicated to raising and maintaining an awareness of the Hazara ethnic group. I intend for this movie to serve as a beacon of hope and a shining light for the future of all Hazaras, especially Hazara women. I also intend for it to serve as a reminder of the history of darkness under which many Hazaras have suffered and died over the last two centuries because of their ethnicity and religion. I hope to educate those who have never heard of the Hazaras and to provide historical and cultural information to those who wish to learn more. My main focus will be to examine Hazara women lives, struggles and oppression. I wish to specifically educate the world about the dual oppression of Hazara women, and their dual identities.

    Beyond Belief
    2006, Documentary by Beth Murphy / Afghanistan,18 minutes
    Susan Retik and Patti Quigley, two American women who lost their husbands on September 11th, find a way to overcome their grief by reaching out to other war widows half way across the world. On their journey to Afghanistan, the immediate connection forged between these widows from separate corners of the globe clarifies that “a woman is a woman is a woman” and “a mother is a mother is a mother”. Through the contrasted experience of Susan and Patti’s grief and that of Afghan women, the hardship of life as a widow in Afghanistan is revealed.

    Alauddin’s Girls
    2009, Documentary by Mahbooba Ibrahimi / Afghanistan, 24 minutes
    Zainab is a 15 year old girl who has been living in a Kabul orphanage since she was 8. Eid-e-fetr is on the way. They are preparing to celebrate it and enjoy their Eid. The film highlights the preparations and life in the orphanage.

    We Are Postmodern
    Fiction by Alka Sadat / Afghanistan, 6 minutes
    A 14-years-old girl begs for money on the street with her mother. A boy about the same age gives them a coin every day he passes by, pushing his bicycle. Days are passing by, all the same, the call of the mosque scans time. One day the mother dies. The girl now begs alone for money and wears her mother’s burka. The young boy passing by this time gives the girl a flower instead of a coin.

    Part 4

    Siah Gerd
    2010, Documentary by Nadia Hossaini / Afghanistan, 14 minutes
    Residents of a village in Afghanistan speak out about their addiction to Opium. In particular, the women use opium as a pain reliever and as a sedative for their children. With their husbands away at war, they need their children to sleep in order to do their work.

    Value of Women?
    Documentary by S. Ali Mousavi Azad & S. Es’haq Husseini / Afghanistan, 34 minutes
    Women living in the Islamic society of Afghanistan are not content with their situation and lack of freedom. They believe some Islamic laws prevent them from doing the things they want like choosing a spouse, seeking an education and working outside the home.

    The Sweet Melody of Politics
    2009, Documentary by Mona Haidari / Afghanistan, 20 minutes
    A short documentary about the life of a female Afghan singer who wants to participate in the Provincial Council Election in Kabul. The film shows this young Afghan lady thinking out of box in a male dominated society after the fall of Taliban.

    Speakers’ bio

    Masha Hamilton is the author of four acclaimed novels, most recently 31 Hours, which the Washington Post called one of the best novels of 2009 and independent bookstores named an Indie choice. She also founded two world literacy projects, the Camel Book Drive and the Afghan Women’s Writing Project. She is the winner of the 2010 Women’s National Book Association award, presented to a woman who has “done meritorious work in the world of books beyond the duties or responsibilities of her profession or occupation.”

    Wazhmah Osman is a filmmaker and PhD candidate at NYU’s Department of Media, Culture, and Communication. With support from the SSRC, she is conducting research on the politics of representation and visual culture on the so-called War on Terror and Afghan women. Osman’s research draws on extensive ethnographic fieldwork in Afghanistan as well as theoretical analysis relating to gender studies and media studies. She is currently working on her dissertation titled, Thinking Outside the Box: Television and Gender in the Afghan Culture Wars. Her critically acclaimed documentary, Postcards from Tora Bora, has been featured at leading film festivals, including Tribeca.

    Rina Amiri currently serves as a senior advisor to the Special Representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan (SRAP). Rina has been intricately involved in peace efforts in Afghanistan for over a decade. From 2002 to 2006, she worked with the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan and served as a member of the Special Representative of the Secretary General’s team responsible for the implementation of the Bonn Peace Accords. As a senior research associate at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School, she worked with activists from conflict-ridden countries, highlighting the role of women and local leaders in formulating a bottom-up approach to peace-building. Before joining SRAP, Rina served as the director of the Open Society Institute’s Afghanistan Pakistan Regional Policy Initiative. She has provided analysis and commentary on Afghanistan and the region at major institutions, news publications and radio and television programs.

    Anita Anastacio has been Senior Technical Advisor for Education for the International Rescue Committee (IRC) since August 2009. Prior to IRC, Anita worked for CARE as the Chief of Party for the Partnership for Advancing Community Based Education in Afghanistan (PACE-A). She has worked in Afghanistan for over a decade in a variety of roles and for a range of organizations, including Country Representative for Mercy Corps and a Training Manager for Germany’s Technical Cooperation (GTZ) on the National Solidarity Project. Anita has a Master’s in International Education from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and has been an integral member to the Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE).

    Sunita Viswanath is founder and board member of Women for Afghan Women, which operates Family Guidance Centers and women’s shelters in five (soon to be eight) provinces in Afghanistan as well as a Children’s Support Center in Kabul and an Afghan Community Center in Queens, NY. Sunita is editor of Women for Afghan Women: Shattering Myths and Claiming the Future (Palgrave/St. Martins Press, October 2002). She is Development Director of MADRE, a global women’s rights organization.

    Vikram Parekh is a Policy Officer in the United Nations Peace-building Support Office. He worked in Afghanistan from 2002-9, serving in turn as Senior Analyst for the International Crisis Group, Political Affairs Officer with the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), and Head of the UNAMA Southeast Regional Office. He earlier worked for Human Rights Watch (1997-2002) and the Committee to Protect Journalists (1993-7). He holds a Juris Doctor from Rutgers Law School in New Jersey and a B.A. in Politics from the University of California, Santa Cruz.

  • A Focus on Afghanistan at the Rubin Musuem of Art

    Friday, May 20, 2011 at 06:00 PM
    The Rubin Museum of Art

    On May 20th, The Rubin Museum of Art with Women’s Voices Now presented a one day Festival, where various films were screened from the WVN collection of short films from Women’s Voices from the Muslim World: A Short-Film Festival.

    With the WVN Executive Director Catinca Tabacaru and Director Miriam Wakim moderating, additional panelists provided context to the films, and information about the current situation in Afghanistan.

    A_Focus_on_Afghanistan_at_the_Rubin_Museum_of_Art_6_June_2011.jpg

    They included writer Masha Hamilton, filmmaker Wazhmah Osman and Rina Amiri, senior advisor to the Special Representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Sunita Viswanath of Women for Afghan Women, writer and filmmaker Siba Shakib, and Vikram Parekh, a Policy Officer in the United Nations Peace-building Support Office.

    The Rubin Museum audience voted for their favorite films, and awarded Alauddin’s Girls about an orphanage in Kabul, as the winner of A Focus on Afghanistan. Runners up were The Sound of the Footstep, about a unique rehabilitation center, and Oppression of Hazaras in Afghanistan, dedicated to raising and maintaining an awareness of the Hazara people, who have been targeted by the Taliban.

    rubin_museum_of_art__6_June_2011.jpg

  • WVN Travels to Antioch University Los Angeles

    Monday, May 16, 2011 at 06:00 PM
    Antioch University in Culver City, CA

    On May 16th, Women’s Voices Now traveled to Antioch University Los Angeles for a night of screenings and a discussion led by panelists Suzie Abdou, (WVN Director of Global Programs), Ferial Masry (Saudi Arabian Politician and Activist), Maha Awad (Egyptian-Palestinian Journalist), and Susana Casares Domingo (WVN Filmmaker and director of Avant Propos). The event, which included Middle Eastern refreshments, was free and open to the public.

    WVN_Travels_to_Antioch_University_Los_Angeles_1.jpg WVN_Travels_to_Antioch_University_Los_Angeles_2.jpg

    Pictured (L to R): Suzie Abdou, Maha Awad, Susana Casares Domingo, Ferial Masry, and Zari Hedayat

    The evening was organized by Adjunct Faculty Zari Hedayat, Ph.D., who stated “I am so grateful for the radio program that clued me into your organization[Women’s Voices Now] and very pleased that I contacted you. I think you did an extraordinary job all around; starting with explaining your program and helping me formulate my purpose for the introductory lecture on Islam. You did a wonderful job of helping me access and sort through some of the movies. I am impressed by how quickly you were able to pull together three panelists who turned out to be wonderful, lively and very informative. And you did it all while also providing the food, a photographer and flawless organizational skills! What can I say? If ever I had an organization, I would want you to be running it.”

  • The Paley Center for Media Hosts Women’s Voices Now

    Monday, May 09, 2011 at 06:00 PM
    The Paley Center for Media

    They_Paley_Center_for_Media__5_June_2011_2.jpgThe_Paley_Center_for_Media__5_June_2011.jpg

    On May 9th, The Paley Center for Media hosted Women’s Voices Now to examine how women in the Muslim world are using media to illuminate their personal and cultural environments, as well as how women are using all types of media to attain civil, economic, and political rights, especially as related to the recent uprisings in the Middle East.

    Following a thirty minute program of screenings, the WVN panelists exchanged ideas about these urgent topics with Paley Center President Pat Mitchell. The impassioned discussion ranged from honor killings to the ubiquitously hot topic of the veil, and the empowerment of gaining independence through driving, exemplified in the WVN film Jazbaa(A Strong Will).  Danielle discussed her upcoming feature film Fortunate Sons, a follow-up based on her WVN Film In The Morning, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2005.

    As an encore, the entire Film Festival program that premiered in March 2011 at the Los Angeles Film School in Hollywood, California, was screened throughout the weekend.

    Panelists

    • Catinca Tabacaru, WVN Executive Director
    • Danielle Lurie, WVN filmmaker
    • Qanta Ahmed, Associate Professor of Medicine, SUNY-Stony Brook; Author, In the Land of Invisible Women
    • Maha Awad, International Television Host and Producer
    • Negar Mottahedeh, Associate Professor of Literature at Duke University
  • The Role of Women in Saudi Arabian Society

    Thursday, April 28, 2011 at 01:00 PM
    Radio

    The_Role_of_Women_in_Saudi_Arabian_Society.jpgDr. Qanta Ahmed, on the WVN Board of Directors and Author of In the Land of Invisible Women: A Female Doctor’s Journey in the Saudi Kingdom, is interviewed by Western Radio about the role of women in Saudi Arabian society. Listen to internet radio with Western Word Radio on Blog Talk Radio.

  • Call for New Media Artists/Filmmakers/Videographers

    Thursday, March 31, 2011 at 06:00 PM
    Online

    “Water, Water Everywhere“ – a traveling exhibition

    Jennifer Heath, a curator, writer, and editor in the United States, is seeking films and new media for a traveling exhibition on the subject of water.

    Water is the world’s most sacred commodity and the basis for all earthly life. Its preservation and protection may be our greatest environmental challenge. The global water crisis affects everyone, from those lacking enough to those experiencing uncontrollable floods that wipe away homes and land and wildlife.

    This exhibition is seeking movies (film and video transferred onto DVD) 3 to 30 minutes long from artists worldwide about water.

    Films/videos might be artistic artistic or documentary, experimental or traditional, humorous or solemn; animated or acted; any other genre.

    In addition, interactive new media will be considered.

    Possible topics might include the beauty of water; water dreams; the politics of water; water wars; water autobiographies, allegories and fairy tales; polluted and toxic waters; water-borne diseases; rain and snow; rivers, oceans, ponds, lakes, canals, creeks, irrigation ditches; dams; farms; lack of water; floods; sweat; fog; ice; water as a source and home of life; consequences; solutions; revolutions and grassroots movements; wasting water; desalination plants; climate change (cold, heat, drying earth, drought, melting glaciers, flooding, tsunamis…); children and water; corporate water grabs (privatizations); bottled water; Coca Cola-izations, etc.; water flora and fauna; all animals in need of water; swimming pools; and many more from the artists’ imagination, experience and knowledge.

    DVDs must be compatible with broadcast formats used in the United States.

    Contact Jennifer Heath at baksunarts@aol.com, with synopsis, bio and running time, or with questions. Submissions may be posted on Vimeo.

    Deadline for submissions is 05 June 2011.

    “Water, Water Everywhere” (working title) is not a film festival. DVDs will travel, in some cases for long-term exhibitions, in other cases for short-term screenings.

    Jennifer Heath is an independent scholar, curator, award-winning activist and cultural journalist, and the author or editor of nine books of fiction and non-fiction, including three recent anthologies, The Veil: Women Writers on Its History, Lore, and Politics (2008) and – co-edited with Ashraf Zahedi—Land of the Unconquerable: The Lives of Contemporary Afghan Women (forthcoming Spring 2011), both from the University of California Press and Primal Picnics: Writers Invent Creation Myths for their Favorite Foods, from Whole World Press. Her numerous art exhibitions include the acclaimed national touring shows, The Veil: Visible and Invisible Spaces and Black Velvet: The Art We Love to Hate (catalogue from Pomegranate Art Books, 1994) and most recently, a “locavore” trash-art exhibition, Resurrections: ECO-logy & ECO-nomy. She currently lives in Colorado, in the United States, but grew up in Australia, Japan, Bolivia, Afghanistan and Europe.

    Baksun Books & Arts
    baksunarts@aol.com
    www.theveilbook.com

  • Recap of Festival Schedule

    Wednesday, March 16, 2011 at 07:00 PM
    Greater Los Angeles

    Women’s Voices from the Muslim World: A Short-Film Festival

    Official Schedule

    —————————————————————-

    WEDNESDAY 3.16.2011

    —————————————————————-
    7-9pm Kickoff Cocktails at Leslie Sacks Fine Art with Artist Shane Guffogg, 11640 San Vicente
    Blvd, Brentwood
    *Leslie Sacks is WVN’s Founder and principal supporter. Please join us as he welcomes us to
    Los Angeles for what promises to be the most exciting Film Festival of the Year!

    —————————————————————-

    THURSDAY 3.17.2011

    —————————————————————-
    7:30-9:30pm THE WOMAN WARRIOR Opening Screening followed by
    Roundtable Discussion with
    -Claire Naber Matalqa, Head of Institutional Development at The Red Sea Institute of Cinematic Arts in Jordan and U.S. Liaison Officer for the Royal Film Commission of Jordan in Los Angeles.
    -Roxana Saberi, author of Between Two Worlds: My Life and Imprisonment in Iran
    -Mostafa Heravi, Festival filmmaker and director of It Is Written and Somaye
    -Christina Asquith, author of Sisters in War
    -Catinca Tabacaru, WVN Executive Director (Moderator)

    9:30-11 Opening Reception at the Los Angeles Film School hosted by Christina Asquith
    *This evening is a Tribute to Women Warriors”- Lara Logan and the Egyptian women who saved her, Neda Agha-Soltan and Roxana Saberi
    *This evening will include an address from Oscar Nominated Shoreh Agdashloo.

    —————————————————————-

    FRIDAY 3.18.2011

    —————————————————————-
    4:30-6:30pm CROSSROADS: THE INTERSECTION OF CULTURAL AND RELIGIOUS NORMS
    Roundtable Discussion with
    -Hasan Mahmud, Director of Sharia Law at the Muslim Canadian Congress in Toronto
    -Susana Casares, Festival filmmaker and director of Avant Propos
    -Alysse Stepanian, Festival filmmaker and director of Roghieh
    -Ola Diab, Festival filmmaker and director of The Unveiled
    -Sheerena Qazi, Festival filmmaker and director of The Unveiled
    -Miriam Wakim, WVN Director (Moderator)


    6:30-7:00 Book Reading and Signing with Christina Asquith, author of Sisters in War

    7:00-7:30 Musical Performance with Jef Stott on the oud and mixing

    7:30-9:30 AFGHANISTAN: FILMS IN A SUITCASE
    Roundtable Discussion with
    -Christina Asquith, author of Sisters in War
    -Alka Sadat, Festival filmmaker and director of Half Value Life and We Are Postmodern
    -Nushin Arbabzadah, Research Scholar at the UCLA Center for the Study of Women
    -Catinca Tabacaru, WVN Executive Director (Moderator)

    10:00-12:00 LOVE, SEX AND OTHER DANGEROUS PURSUITS
    Roundtable Discussion with
    -Laila Hotait, Festival filmmakers and director of Basita and Absent Spaces
    -Mostafa Heravi, Festival filmmaker and director of It Is Written and Somaye
    -Jeff Kaufman, Documentarian and director of Free Shane and Josh: An Urgent Plea for Compassion
    -Miriam Wakim, WVN Director (Moderator)

    —————————————————————-

    SATURDAY 3.19.2011

    —————————————————————-
    11am-12:30pm GIRLS IN THE MUSLIM WORLD
    Roundtable Discussion with
    -Ferial Masry, Democratic candidate for California’s 37th Assembly District in 2010
    -Brooke Goldstein, Founder of Children’s Rights Institute
    -Qanta Ahmed, WVN Board of Directors member and author of The Land of Invisible Women: A Female Doctor’s Journey in the Saudi Kingdom
    -Catinca Tabacaru, WVN Executive Director (Moderator)

    *This program is co-presented with the Children’s Rights Institute

    1:00-3:00 HEALTH TABOOS
    Roundtable Discussion with
    -Taraneh R. Salke, Director of Family Health Alliance
    -Qanta Ahmed, WVN Board of Directors member and author of The Land of Invisible Women: A Female Doctor’s Journey in the Saudi Kingdom
    -Zainab Sultan, Festival filmmaker and director of Breast Cancer in Qatar
    -Thouria Mahmoud, Festival filmmaker and director of Breast Cancer in Qatar
    -Shereena Qazi, Festival filmmaker and director of Women in a Refugee Camp in Pakistan
    -Miriam Wakim, WVN Director (Moderator)

    3:30-5:30 THE SLAVE
    Roundtable Discussion with 
    -Hasan Mahmud, Director of Sharia Law at the Muslim Canadian Congress in Toronto
    -Robert Adanto, Filmmaker of Peals on the Ocean Floor
    -Catinca Tabacaru, WVN Executive Director (Moderator)

    *This program is co-presented with imagineNative

    5:30-6:00 Book Reading and Signing with Qanta Ahmed, author of The Land of Invisible Women: A Female Doctor’s Journey in the Saudi Kingdom.

    6:00-8:00 WOMEN AT WORK Closing Screening followed by
    Roundtable Discussion with
    -Raya Meddine, actor and writer
    -Ann Slanton, writer, director, and producer
    -Tahereh Sheerazie, principal character in Festival film A Garden in Shigar
    -Maha Awad, Television Host and Broadcast Journalist
    -Miriam Wakim, WVN Director (Moderator)

    *This program is co-presented with the Levantine Cultural Center

    8:00-11:00 Awards Ceremony and Closing Benefit in the Brain Lounge at the Los Angeles Film
    School, 6363 Sunset Boulevard, West Hollywood

    —————————————————————-

    SUNDAY 3.20.2011

    —————————————————————-
    12-2pm Luncheon with the Filmmakers (by Invitation only)

  • WVN Launches Traveling University Program at UM-Deaborn

    Thursday, January 27, 2011 at 06:00 PM
    University of Michigan-Dearborn in Dearborn, MI

    WVN_Launches_Traveling_University_Program_at_UM-Deaborn.jpgOn January 27th, Women’s Voices Now traveled to the University of Michigan-Dearborn for a jam-packed and exciting day of lectures and screenings. Aligning with WVN’s mission to give voice to women of the world, Executive Director Catinca Tabacaru and Director of Festival Operations Cassandra Schaffa brought along a collection of Festival films to educate and inspire the university students and surrounding community.

    The films are truly engaging, and spurred discussion on key issues surrounding women’s lives in the Muslim world, how the women are represented, and how they represent themselves…Such films provide an essential bridge to facilitate understanding. Catinca and Cassandra are the perfect ambassadors for the project and great catalysts for discussion. - Prof. Rashmi Luthra

    The day began in Professor Rashmi Luthra’s Gender and Media Studies class. Having watched the Festival films, students came prepared with insightful commentary and thoughtful questions to follow up Catinca’s lecture. Shortly after, WVN visited Professor Jim Gilmore’s Photojournalism course. As part of their curriculum, students were asked to shoot a photo essay entitled “Women’s Voices Now: Daughters of Immigrants,” which they presented to Catinca and Cassandra for critical review.

    The big event of the day was the double feature screenings collectively curated by the university staff. The first screening, Collisions, focused on films of tension and conflict. The films inspired a heated round table discussion of the burka between the audience and a panel including Catinca, Cassandra and recent University of Michigan graduates an former student body president and vice president Shahad Atiya and Sarah Jaward. The second screening, Awakenings, focused on discovering one’s own identity and was followed by an equally fruitful dialogue.

    The films were very brilliantly received by the students, faculty and Dearborn community. The excitement was also aimed at WVN’s upcoming Festival in Los Angeles and a return of WVN to the UM-Dearborn campus for future events. Professor Luthra states, “We are thrilled to have hosted the Women’s Voices Now film festival at the Language, Culture and Communication department at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. The films are truly engaging, and spurred discussion on key issues surrounding women’s lives in the Muslim world, how the women are represented, and how they represent themselves. What really comes across in the films and discussion is the multiplicity of experiences and worldviews of women in the Muslim world, spanning a number of regions of the world. The films bust myths at every turn, at a time when it is essential to smash stereotypes and reject simple generalizations. Such films provide an essential bridge to facilitate understanding. Catinca and Cassandra are the perfect ambassadors for the project and great catalysts for discussion.”

    For information on booking WVN for guest lectures, screenings and events at your educational institution, please contact info@womensvoicesnow.org or call 904-377-0671.

  • Women’s Voices from the Muslim World - University of Michigan - Dearborn

    Thursday, January 27, 2011 at 04:00 PM
    University of Michigan-Dearborn in Dearborn, MI

    WVN_at_University_of_Michigan_Dearborn.jpgOn January 27, 2011 at 4pm, the University of Michigan - Dearborn will be hosting a Women’s Voices Now screening from the WVN Short-Film Festival. The evening will include two programs entitled “Collisions” and “Awakenings,” featuring films dealing with topics of tension, confrontation, and discovering one’s own identity. Each program will be followed by a discussion.

    Check out the story on Dearborn Patch here: Film Festival Brings Muslim Women’s Voices to Dearborn

    The event is free and open to the public.

  • Women’s Voices Now Winter White Benefit tickets are on sale!

    Saturday, December 18, 2010 at 08:00 PM
    White Box in New York, NY

    Women’s_Voices_Now_Winter_White_Benefit_tickets_are_on_sale.jpg

    WHITE ATTIRE encouraged (make it good looking!)

    This one night party event combines film, photography, poetry and music! Hosted by Women’s Voices Now, the evening will include a sneak peek at experimental films from Women’s Voices from the Muslim World: A Short-Film Festival; never-before seen works by artists Rachel Monosov, Majeed Beenteha and Negin Vaziri (exhibit curated by Catinca Tabacaru); and poetry/song performances by Jeanann Verlee, Corrina Bain, Valerie June and Samantha Thornhill (show curated by Emily Kegan Trenchard). To top it all off, several DJs will shake the house with electro-hybrid beats and more.

    OPEN BAR

    Schedule:
    8-9 Cocktails
    9-10 Poetry and live music
    10-midnight DJd PARTY

    $50 minimum donation
    (limited number of $35 tickets are available; please don’t purchase if you can afford full donation)
    ****Purchase your tickets online HERE!

    Join the movement! Help give voice to the global struggle for women’s civil, economic and political rights.

    SPONSORED BY LATIS IMPORTS
    http://www.latisimports.com

  • Winter White Benefit Recap

    Tuesday, December 14, 2010 at 06:00 PM
    New York, NY

    WVN_Winter_White_Benefit.jpg

    On December 14, 2010, WVN hosted a Winter White Benefit at White Box in NYC. Check out how much fun we had! The Winter White Benefit was sponsored by Palm Breweries and featured art, poetry, films, music and a whole lot of fun. The benefit raise just over $2,000, enough to sponsor one winning filmmaker to attend WVN’s Women’s Voices from the Muslim World: A Short-Film Festival in Los Angeles, March 17-29, 2011.

  • Highlights from Women in Conflict - DC event

    Friday, November 12, 2010 at 06:00 PM
    American University in Washington, D.C., DC

    On November 12, the Women in Conflict: Iraq & Afghanistan Book Tour was held at American University in Washington, DC. The event was presented by Women’s Voices Now along with Prosperity Candle and authors Manal Omar and Christina Asquith. Watch some highlights of the event here.

  • WVN is Looking for New Interns

    Tuesday, October 26, 2010 at 06:00 PM
    Online

    Women’s Voices Now (WVN) seeks two interns, one full-time and one part-time to assist in a variety of projects including Festival Operations, Press communications and Fundraising.

    Typical Intern duties:
    - researching potential partners and funders
    - previewing films and assisting in Festival administration
    - communications with press, educational institutions and partner organizations.
    - web research
    - event planning assistance
    - data entry and organization

    WVN is seeking an intern who is able to work independently and efficiently with minimal supervision.
    Must be a self starter and proactive.
    Internet research skills are a must.
    Proficiency in writing and communication is a must.
    Experience in event planning, promotions and fundraising is a plus.
    Film Festival experience is a plus.
    PR/Press experience is a plus.

    Part time expectations: 16 hours/week; Full time expectations 35 hours/week.

    Internship is through December with potential to stay on board.

    We are a young organization with a small, dedicated staff. This is not a coffee-getting/copy-making internship. You will be heavily involved in all aspects of WVN’s development.

    To apply, send a cover letter and resume to info@womensvoicesnow.org with the subject line “WVN Internship”

  • WVN Gift Shop

    Thursday, September 09, 2010 at 06:00 PM
    Online

    Welcome to the Women’s Voices Now Gift Shop!

    In the WVN Gift Shop, we offer a few specially-made items to treat friends, family, colleagues, and yourself - all the while making a generous contribution to WVN programs and events!

    We currently accept orders by check and by Paypal. (Credit cards accepted through PayPal.)

    If paying by check, please make checks payable to Women’s Voices Now and mail to:

    Women’s Voices Now
    46-E Peninsula Center
    Rolling Hills Estates, CA, 90274, USA.

    If paying via Paypal or credit card, in the info line, please make a note of the items in your purchase order, and please include your mailing address or the address to which your gifts need to be delivered.

    For any additional questions, or to have a gift note included with your purchase, please e-mail info@womensvoicesnow.org. In the subject line write: WVN GIFT SHOP PURCHASE ORDER.

    Please note the shipping costs listed are for the United States and Canada ONLY. For any other destination, shipping costs will differ and most likely be greater.

    WVN_Gift_Shop.jpgWVN Canvas Tote Bag

    A comfortable and sturdy small canvas tote bag, featuring the WVN logo, sits comfortably on the shoulder. It is roomy enough for groceries, work materials, or any other items you are grabbing on your way out the door at the last minute!

    Dimensions: 14"x14"x3”
    Care Instructions: Wash in cold water and air dry.

    $15 includes shipping.
    $10 without shipping.

    WVN_Gift_Shop_2.jpgWVN Scented Candle

    This ginger white tea scented, 4oz. soy wax blend candle was designed especially for Women’s Voices Now by a women’s empowerment organization called Prosperity Candle. The delicately fragrant candle comes in a custom-designed travel tin and burns for 80 hours. It is already gift-wrapped and makes for a beautiful and socially conscientious gift for friends, family, and colleagues.

    $25 includes shipping.
    $18 without shipping.

    WVN_Gift_Shop_3.pngThis engaging 3-disc set of winning documentary, fiction, and experimental films is from WVN’s first film festival,Women’s Voices from the Muslim World: A Short-Film Festival, which culminated with a community gathering, screenings, and panel discussions at the Los Angeles Film School in March 2011.

    $30 includes shipping in the U.S.
    $35 includes international shipping.
    $25 without shipping.

    Thanks for shopping in the WVN Gift Shop! Your purchases directly contribute to the continuation and expansion of our global programs and outreach. For any questions or to give suggestions on how to improve the WVN Gift Shop, please send an e-mail to info@womensvoicesnow.org.

  • ProjectFresh and WVN

    Tuesday, July 13, 2010 at 07:00 PM
    The Downtown Independent Theater in Los Angeles, CA

    ProjectFresh in partership with WVN presents 
    Crossroads: The Intersection of Cultural and Religious Norms

    Doors 7pm | Screening & Discussion 8pm - 9:30pm ProjectFresh_and_WVN.jpg

    * This is an all ages event | Proceeds will be going to WVN *
    Stay for rooftop drinks afterward!

    As Islamophobia is a problem in America today and mass “Arab Spring” migrants are left wandering, the world is at critical juncture: we must either unite based on our shared struggle, or face deep division based on our differences. Join Projectfresh, in partnership with Women’s Voices Now, for an evening of films whose goal it is to strip back the media veneer and cultivate a dialogue that reveals the true life conflicts between religion and politics; tradition and modernity.

    Following the short documentary films, which in particular focus on Islam, whose topics range from personal identity, sexuality, and the fight for individual rights, we will delve into a panel discussion with one of the film’s directors and an international media expert on this current tension and integration of cultures and ideals.

    Moderator:

    Suzie Abdou Director of Global Programs at Women’s Voices Now

    Guest speakers include:

    Maha Awad/ Broadcast Journalist & TV Producer

    Alysse Stepanian / Director of Roghieh

    Victoria Fine/ Director of Advancement & Outreach for Tiziano Project and Journalist & Editor for the Huffington Post Impact

    Films Include:
    1700% Project: Mistaken For Muslim, USA

    A poet, dancer, angel and prisoner converge with community to intervene against racial profiling and hate crimes. Narratives collide with music, poetry and politics to create a complex and layered experience. A collaboration between artist Anida Yoeu Ali and filmmaker Masahiro Sugano. Featured portraits represent real American Muslims in Chicago. All unite as people who refuse to end in violence.

    The Unveiled, Qatar

    My partner Shereena and I did this project about the controversy of wearing the veil in Muslim communities. The veil is the covering of the complete body with the exception to the eyes. Some Muslims believe that women are required to wear it in Islam whereas other believe that it is a choice and not a requirement in Islam. This ambiguity is a result of different interpretations of a Quran verse which is about women covering their bodies. This was a project for Northwestern University in Qatar in my sophomore year.

    Francaise Langue Etrangere, France

    In a ‘French for foreigners’ course, a heated debate arises between two Muslim women over the right to wear a veil during class.

    Roghieh, USA

    Iranian born Alysse Stepanian moved to the US shortly after the Iranian Revolution in 1979. This video is based on her early dream journal. “Roghieh” paints a surreal picture of the early stages of the Iranian Revolution, when it empowered the underprivileged, which had a significant role in the overthrow of an elitist regime. A cleaning lady’s broom becomes a weapon symbolizing a newfound strength. She jumps into the revolution from the wall-less bedroom of a young girl caught in the middle of great social changes and role reversals.

    Muslima Q, USA

    A young Muslim woman recounts her experience converting to Islam and coming out of the closet.

    Is this Honor?, Jordan

    Shedding light on the definition of “Family Honor” and how this controversial issue affects the lives of people, especially women, within the Jordanian society.

    Women Behind the Wheel, Iraq

    Driving is a relatively new liberty for women in Erbil. But many still face prejudices by men who believe they have no business being on the road.

    Avant Propos, Tunisia

    Avant Propos is a dialogue between two territories: the one of dreams and the one of real life, of fiction and of documentary. Through interviews with Tunisian women of different backgrounds, the film explores issues of identity and representation, of tradition and modernity, in order to build bridges between the Western countries and the Arab-Islamic world.

    A Land Called Paradise, USA

    In December 2007, over 2,000 Muslim Americans were asked what they would like to say to the world. This is what they said.

    SPEAKER BIOS

    Suzie Abdou /  Director of Global Programs at Women’s Voices Now

    Suzie is a policy analyst in the government sector. She holds a Masters degree in International Relations from the University of California Riverside. Her research focused on the role of Coptic women in the early Egyptian feminist movement. She has spoken on her research at conferences domestically and internationally. Her interests are in human rights, women’s rights, religious freedom and social movements. She has traveled extensively through out the Middle East region and lived in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Israel. Before joining Women’s Voices Now, she worked in the entertainment industry and was the publicist for the Arab Film Festival in Los Angeles.

    Maha Awad / Broadcast Journalist & TV Producer

    Maha Awad is an Egyptian Palestinian American broadcast journalist—a multicultural dynamic TV host and producer with over 14 years experience in front of and behind the camera in culturally diverse environments. She built her name through a unique blend of on-camera personality and proven production business savvy, in addition to an extensive knowledge of the Middle East entertainment industry. (Full bio here…)

    Alysse Stepanian / Director of Roghieh

    Alysse Stepanian is a multimedia and cross-disciplinary artist. Her videos, paintings, installations, and performances have been presented internationally, in nearly 150 shows in 22 countries. Stepanian is the creator and curator of Manipulated Image video screenings based in the US. For July 7, 2011 she curated a one night Kamikaze show of video art, paintings and photography at PØST in Los Angeles. For CologneOFF 2011 she curated videos by 9 Iranian artists which will travel the globe, and has made stops at the Arad Art Museum in Romania, Szczecin/Poland, and Galleria Rajatilla in Tampere/Finland. Most recent screenings of Stepanian’s videos include: Contemporary Museum in Baltimore, Maryland; Anthology Film Archives, New York City; Vasteras Konstmuseum, Sweden; Gaza International Festival For Video Art; Teatro Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Arte Cubano in Havana. Beijing’s City Weekend Magazine listed “Don’t be afraid, be ready”, her 2006 multimedia installation in China, as number one of the top 5 exhibits.

    Victoria Fine / Director of Advancement & Outreach for Tiziano Project and Journalist & Editor for the Huffington Post Impact

    Victoria Fine is a new media journalist and an editor for Huffington Post Impact. Her work has been featured both in the U.S. and abroad, including the Chicago Tribune, AOL.com, and L’Officiel, a fashion magazine based in Paris. She is also the managing editor of Modern Overland, a travel guidebook series dedicated to providing tech savvy travelers the information they need to make global exploration socially sustainable and ecofriendly. Fine has authored two books, including “Fundamental Talent,” a handbook on top-level management succession. She is a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and holds a master’s degree in new media storytelling.