Women's Activism NYC

Widad Akrawi

1969 - Today

By: Fanta Kaba | Date Added:

Widad Akreyi (also known as Dr Widad and Widad Akrawi) (born 1969) is a Danish health expert and human rights activist of Kurdish ancestry. In 2007, she co-founded the Norway-based human rights organization Defend International and since then has been the organization's president. She is the author of several books about both health issues and human rights.Akreyi holds a master's degree in genetics and a PhD in international health and epidemiology. Violations of human rights that occurred during the Iraqi government offensive against the Kurds in 1974, as well as during the Al-Anfal Campaign are thought to have shaped her life. It is said that by focusing on the end goals and holding on to her principles she could overcome the hardships she had endured.She has been listed as one of the winners of the Fellowship of Reconciliation peace awards, where she was called "outspoken peace activist" and the "first young woman of Middle Eastern descent" to engage in advocacy relating to illicit trade of small arms and light weapons, gender-based violence, chemical and biological disarmament, conventional disarmament and international security.In 2013, Akreyi was awarded the "Special Prize for bridging the gap between civilisations" by the National Organisation for Future Generations for making valuable contributions to humanity through the creation of a culture of coexistence. When she received the International Pfeffer Peace Award in 2014, she dedicated it to the residents of Kobane and Sinjar and the persecuted Christians in the Middle East. Akreyi's passion for human rights started many years ago when she advocated for her classmates at her school. As she grew up, she helped to establish a secret working group against torture in Iraq, dedicated to collecting evidence of torture and other human rights abuses. In 1987, she was secretly interviewing the victims and their families. She raised awareness about the impacts of torture and other violations of human rights on civilians. In 1990, she was engaged in advocating for gender equality and women’s empowerment in the Middle East and North Africa region. She then co-founded a regional Women’s Working Group and organised programs to enhance women’s participation in peace-building and post-conflict reconstruction.

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