We are thrilled to welcome four women’s rights activists to Ottawa for the 2016 Sister-to-Sister Mentorship Program!
Muzna Dureid (Syria), Diana García Salamanca (Colombia), Hay Mann Zaw (Burma) and Maryam Shafipour (Iran) will work alongside the Nobel Women’s Initiative team to bring their advocacy work from a local and national level to the international stage. They will participate in intensive training from women’s rights activists, professionals and other activists and leaders in the Ottawa area. The three women are all actively engaged at the grassroots level to promote women’s rights, peace and justice.
The Sister-to-Sister Mentorship Program began in 2012 in response to needs identified by partner organizations for increased advocacy training and hands-on skill building for young women’s rights activists within an international setting. Activists from Palestine, Sudan, South Sudan, Mexico, Liberia, Burma and Guatemala have participated in the program, and returned to their countries as stronger activists.
Meet the 2016 Sister-to-Sister Participants
Muzna Dureid (Syria)
Muzna works as a Project Coordinator for the Badael Foundation, a non-governmental organization (NGO) committed to the development and strengthening of civil society groups in Syria. Also the Founder and Co-ordinator of Women Refugees not Captives (Lajiaat la Sabaya), Muzna is passionate about ending the practice of forced child marriages in Syria and the region. Examples of her work include undertaking a systematic review of progress on gender mainstreaming following the 1995 Beijing Platform for Action, collecting sex-disaggregated data for effective policy formulation, and the active promotion of non-violence. As an activist in and for Syria, she comes to the Sister-to-Sister Mentorship Program with intimate knowledge of the impacts of conflict and absolute necessity of holding perpetrators of violence to account. Muzna is concerned about a diversity of issues including international development, support for children and youth living in conflict and post-conflict zones, ending violence against refugees, and the realization of women’s rights in Syria and the Middle East. Muzna enjoys yoga, watching films, playing the violin and is fluent in French.
Diana García Salamanca, Colombia
Diana is an Associate Researcher with CIASE (Corporación de Investigación y Acción Social y Económica). CIASE is committed to the creation of just, equitable and democratic societies in the context of Colombia’s ethnic and cultural diversity, and reality of internal armed conflict. With a perspective rooted in sharp analyses of race, class, gender, sexuality and indigeneity, Diana’s expertise lies in the intersection between feminist methodologies, the arts and human rights. Diana is an advocate of using personal narrative as a foundation to sustainable, and long-lasting peace and has provided advice on the incorporation of a gender lens in the construction of Colombia’s National Museum of Memory. Diana enjoys running, dancing, writing and reading. Her greatest assets are a sense of curiosity and a healthy reservoir of energy.
Hay Mann Zaw, Burma
Hay Mann works for the Migrants Assistance Program (MAP) Foundation that supports and empowers migrant communities from Burma living in Thailand. The MAP Foundation was founded in 1996 by local activists who saw a notable gap in supports available for migrant workers living in Chiang Mai. The MAP Foundation’s unwavering belief is that no human can be considered illegal. As a Feminist Researcher focusing on living wages for migrant women, HayMann was attracted to the work of the MAP Foundation after witnessing the positive impact of their work on women, children and youth. A proud feminist, she is eager to give back what she can to MAP and her home community. Hay Mann loves traveling, meeting new people and especially learning from others. Her greatest strength is a hope and belief that more can be done for Burmese migrants in Thailand.
Maryam ‘Mary’ Shafipour (Iran)
A prominent journalist and life-long activist in Iran, Mary’s avowed commitment to change in her home country is firmly entrenched in the ideal and practice of peace. She played a key role in the One Million Signatures Campaign for Equality, a movement launched in 2006, which demanded an end to legalized sex discrimination in Iran. With an acute appreciation for the institutional barriers that women face, Mary wishes to learn more about mechanisms to promote human rights at the national and international level. She plans to apply skills and knowledge gained in Ottawa to the Centre for Supporters of Human Rights (CSHR) in Iran. Founded by 2003 Nobel Laureate Shirin Ebadi, CSHR works towards progress in education and awareness of human rights across the Middle East, particularly in Iran. Mary brings to the table an outlook derived from pragmatic optimism for the future.
Follow along with Diana, Hay Mann & Maryam on the 2016 Sister-to-Sister blog, and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @nobelwomen #S2S