The School of Diplomacy Announces
Guest Lecture: Women Mediators and Civil Society Peacebuilders in Syria
Rajaa Altalli, Syrian Civil Society Leader
Sept 28, 11.30-12.30, Stafford Hall 08 (basement)
The Syrian crisis has developed from a set of popular peaceful uprisings in 2011 to a protracted and violent civil war involving multiple internal and regional actors. Over the seven years since the initial uprisings, approximately 450,000 people have been killed, more than 1 million have been injured and about 12 million people – or approximately half the population – have been displaced internally or have left the country as refugees. The crisis has also torn at the fabric of society, increasing tensions between religious and ethnic groups, and creating a pervasive atmosphere of mistrust and fear.
To date the UN mediated peace process has proved unable to manage these tensions and reduce levels of violence. Instead a range of track 1.5, 2 and 3 mediation processes have proved essential for managing the impact of the violence on society and for negotiating practical agreements that could provide momentum for stability. At the heart of these actions are women and civil society.
In this talk, Syrian women and civil society leader, Rajaa Altalli, will: (1) unpack the experience of women mediators and civil society peacebuilders in Syria; (2) vision for how peace can be achieved in Syria building from their work; and (3) identify lessons for the role of women and civil society in other conflict contexts.
Ms. Rajaa Altalli is the Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Center for Civil Society and Democracy (CCSD), a Syrian NGO working to strengthen civil society and democracy. Ms. Altalli has documented human rights abuses in Syria, trained countless civil society activists in leadership and advocacy among other things, acted as a liaison between grassroots networks and international decision-makers, and conducted research to shine a light on, among other topics, the challenges of unarmed resistance in Syria, with a focus on women activists. She is currently serving as one of the 12 Syrian women appointed by the UN Office of the Special Envoy to the Women’s Advisory Board.