Editor’s note: This is Part 3 of a blog series by Muzna on the role of Syrian women in peace activism. Part 1 outlines women’s role in peacebuilding and politics over the last five decades. Part 2 highlights how Syrian women are currently working for peace. Part 1 can be found here and Part 2 can be found here.
Syrian women in Syria—and those living in exile—are incredible peacemakers. These nine women are boldly standing up and speaking out for peace.
Majd Chourbaji is a founder of Enab Baladi Newspapers, and participated in civil activism in the Syrian Revolution since its outbreak in March 2011. She started the ‘Women Now’ centre in Lebanon in January 2014. Afterwards, she became a representative of the organization ‘Women for Development’ which opened 5 centres in Syria and neighbouring countries. She is the director of public relations in the organization. Majd was awarded the International Women of Courage Award from the U.S. State Department in March 2015.
Syrian journalist Kholoud Waleed is one of the founders of Enab Baladi Newspaper. She was awarded the RAW in WAR’s Anna Politkovskaya award in 2015 for her hard work in conveying the truth of what is happening in Syria. She has a master degree in simultaneous translation from Damascus University in 2010.
Razan Zaitouneh, lawyer and civil society activist, was kidnapped from her office in Eastern Ghouta on 9th of December 2013 along with her colleagues in the violation documentation centre. Razan was awarded the Anna Politkovskaya Award and the Sakharov Prize and has been recognized by the Ibn Rushd Fund and Vital Voices Organization. She is still being held by an anonymous group in Syria. Her abduction still looms on peaceful work in Syria.
Suad Nufal is a teacher from the city of Raqqa who has risked her life protesting against the human rights violations of the Assad regime since the outbreak of the revolution. She continued standing up for human rights against ISIS and was awarded the Prize Homo Homini by the Czech human rights organization People in Need in 2014.
Journalist Zeina Erhaim trains media activists living in conflict torn countries and countries under transition to develop and refine their skills — and has trained around 100 citizen journalist inside of Syria, including 30 women. She helped found independent newspapers and magazines in the Syrian north. She was awarded the Peter Makler prize in 2015 for her journalistic work and her courage in training staff in regime-free areas.
Samar Yazbek is a writer, novelist, journalist and activist who fights for women’s rights and freedom. She opposed the Assad regime even though she is from the Alwaite sect to which al-Assad also belongs. She had to flee Syria a year after the start of the revolution. She was awarded the Swedish Tucholsky Prize in 2012 for placing the truth before her personal safety in her reports on the Syrian Revolution.
Hanadi Zahlout became involved in the political opposition of the Assad regime in 2004 when she started writing stories with political content in opposition websites. Later on, she joined ‘Syrian Women’ Observatory along with Samar Yazbek and Rima Falihan. She won the US State Department’s Human Rights Defenders Award in 2012 for her work to reform Syrian society and build a democratic and tolerant country.
Suhair Atasi founded the General Board of the Syrian Revolution when protests started against Assad regime. Suhair Atasi was director of the coordination unit related to the Syrian National Coalition before she resigned in 2015. Oula Ramadan works as an activist in human rights and is a member in the Committee of Syrian Women Initiative for peace and democracy. The international organization ‘No Peace without Justice’ which is based in Rome granted its awards to activists Suhair Atasi and Oula Ramadan as a recognition for their efforts in advocating for human rights, and civil and political freedoms.
Read Part 1 of Muzna’s blog series here.
Read Part 2 of Muzna’s blog series here.