WLP to Hold Parallel Events on Syrian Refugees, Human Rights Poetry for CSW61


Women’s Learning Partnership will be hosting two parallel events during the 61st Session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women in New York City. Both events are free and open to the public. Click here to download the events flyer.


Empowering Syrian Women Refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey
March 14, 2017, 2:30-4:30 p.m. 
Church Center for the United Nations, 10th floor
Hosted by WLP Lebanon/Collective for Research & Training on Development – Action (CRTD-A) and WLP Jordan/Sisterhood is Global Institute-Jordan (SIGI-J).

Currently, there are an estimated 4.5 million registered Syrian refugees in Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey, the three main countries where Syrian refugees have taken refuge. Women refugees bear the brunt of the displacement and the panel will discuss how NGOs in the region can support and empower them through leadership trainings and skills building. Expert panelists will draw on their experiences working with refugees and grassroots women in these countries.


Lina Abou-Habib (Lebanon)
Executive Director of Women’s Learning Partnership and Executive Director of Collective for Research & Training on Development-Action.

Yakin Ertürk (Turkey)
Former UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women and former Director of the International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (INSTRAW).

Soraida Hussein (Palestine)
General Director of Women’s Affairs Technical Committee (WATC).

Asma Khader (Jordan)
Founder of Sisterhood is Global Institute-Jordan (SIGI-J), former Senator in the Parliament of Jordan, and former Secretary General of the Jordanian National Commission for Women.



Lifelines: The Poetry of Human Rights
March 17, 2017, 10:30 a.m.–12:00 p.m.
Church Center for the United Nations, Hardin Room
Hosted by Women’s Learning Partnership.

This event features readings by leading women poets. Poetry can weave lifelines connecting the listener to testimonies that inspire and call for solidarity. They are women’s voices cast across divides to convey understanding and appreciation for the pain of exile, torture, violence and war, and the possibility of starting fresh, of healing, safety, and peace. 


Opening Remarks:

Karima Bennoune (Algeria/USA) 
Karima Bennoune is the UN Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights and a professor of international law at the University of California–Davis School of Law. She is the author of Your Fatwa Does Not Apply Here: Untold Stories from the Fight Against Muslim Fundamentalism which won the Dayton Literary Peace Prize in 2014. The TED talk based on the book, "When People of Muslim Heritage Challenge Fundamentalism" has been viewed more than 1.3 million times.  Bennoune has appeared regularly as a commentator on CNN, MSNBC, NPR, and BBC radio, and has written for the New York Times and Reuters. 

Featured Poets:


Abena Busia (Ghana/USA) (Moderator)
Abena Busia is Chair of the Department of Women's and Gender Studies and member of the Executive Board of the Center for African Studies at Rutgers University. She is the current Board Chair of AWDF-USA, the sister organization to the African Women's Development Fund.  An internationally celebrated poet, she is the author of two collections, Testimonies of Exile (1990) and Traces of a Life (2008).

Tsitsi Jaji (Zimbabwe/USA) 
Tsitsi Jaji was born at Nyadire Mission and raised in Harare, Zimbabwe. After completing her A-levels on a scholarship at Arundel, she moved to the U.S. to study piano and literature at Oberlin College. She earned a Ph.D. in comparative literature from Cornell University. She now teaches at Duke University.  Many of her poems are inspired by music and the experience of living in the diaspora. Jaji is the author of Carnaval from the collection Seven New Generation African Poets (African Poetry Book Fund/Slapering Hol, 2014) and Africa in Stereo: Music, Modernism and Pan-African Solidarity (Oxford University Press, 2014). Her poetry has appeared in Prairie Schooner, Boston Review, Bitter Oleander, Runes Review, InTensions, Munyori Literary Journal, and the Center for Book Arts Broadside Poetry Series and elsewhere.  Her first full-length collection, Beating the Graves, was just published by UNL Press through African Poetry Book Fund.Ladan Osman (Zimbabwe) Poet and author of the chapbook Ordinary Heaven.


Ladan Osman (Somalia/USA)
Ladan Osman was born in Somalia. She earned a BA at Otterbein College and an MFA at the University of Texas at Austin’s Michener Center for Writers. Her chapbook, Ordinary Heaven, appears in Seven New Generation African Poets (Slapering Hol Press, 2014). Her full-length collection The Kitchen-Dweller’s Testimony (University of Nebraska Press, 2015) won the Sillerman First Book Prize. Her work has appeared in Apogee, The Normal School, Prairie Schooner, Transition Magazine, and Waxwing. Osman has received fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center, Cave Canem, and the Michener Center. She is a contributing editor at The Offing and lives in Chicago.


S:SSO to Sakai