Reflections on 2011

Dear Women without Borders, dear SAVE sisters, dear friends,

Seasonís Greetings from Women without Borders and SAVE!

During this season people often take time to reflect on both their personal lives and their perspectives on the events that are shaking our world. 2011 has been a year of economic and political upheaval; in a world of chaos sometimes all we can do is ensure that we as individuals go out into the world secure in the values and responsibilities we hold.

Over the past year, we have witnessed an unprecedented growth of female power. Women in patriarchal societies across the Middle East have risen up to challenge social norms. They have courageously taken to the streets alongside their male counterparts, risking their lives to demand democratic change, peace and dignity.

It is particularly striking how women have taken the lead across the globe, demonstrating the power of a new generation to shake up the system. We are living in a time of unique opportunities for women. They are taking the lead at the helm of government organizations as well as international bodies. Christine Lagarde took over the IMF when the global economy was on the brink of collapse; US Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton has been proactive in ensuring that the vital role of women is placed at the core of international security and development strategies; and three women won the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize for shaking up their gender imbalanced societies.

We have been honored to have hosted outstanding examples of these change makers in Vienna over the past two weeks. Hanan Ibrahim, MBE, from Mogadishu, Somalia, came along with her SAVE Sister, Samira Abdulle, who fled to Sweden after a very personal, close encounter with terrorism. SAVE looks forward to working with Hanan in partnership with the AIWA Forum to launch SAVE Somalia in the new year. A short film is available of Hananís trip to Vienna, during which she shared her hope that the global community will not forget the women and children of Somalia.

We also had the privilege of hosting Dr. Bilqis Jubari, co-founder and director of the Family Counseling and Development Foundation in Sanaía, Yemen, and our partner on the ground. She is a courageous advocate for women in a country ranked as one of the worst in the world for womenís rights. She was accompanied by her husband, Dr. Mohammed Al Maitami, a leading Yemeni economist and expert advisor. They are an exemplary team working for advancement of the young generation in Yemen. Our short film explores their take on the current challenges in Yemen.

On November 8th, WwB-SAVE had the great pleasure of bringing Aicha el-Wafi and Imam Abdul Haqq Baker to New York for a panel discussion entitled ĎCan Mothers Stop Terrorism?í organized in collaboration with the Paley Center for Media, and moderated by the Centerís president, Pat Mitchell. Aicha el-Wafi is the mother of Zacarias Moussaoui, the only person ever tried in a US court on charges of involvement in plotting the 9/11 attacks. The New York event brought her face-to-face for the first time with Abdul Haqq Baker, the Imam of the Brixton Mosque in London which Zacarias frequently attended while pursuing a masterís degree in London, during which time his religious ideologies first took a radical shift. In this short film Aicha and Imam Haqq Baker present their thoughts on the role mothers can play in combating the ideologies of violent extremism.

We want to start 2012 with a renewed push to boost our social media presence. So if you havenít already liked our Facebook page and followed us on Twitter @SAVEalerts, connect with us now and invite your online contacts to do the same!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from Vienna,


Edit Schlaffer and the Women without Borders-SAVE Team


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