TAPS International at Geneva Peace Week
Panel Discussion: "Turning War Grief Into Positive Peace"
Everyone is brought to Geneva Peace Week not only because of peace, but because of war. While war is waged by nations, it is fought by individuals, it pulls apart families, and it takes place in communities. While the politics of war have convinced us that war is inherently political, the losses of war teaches us that war is in fact, about people. After examining the research on how best to recover from trauma and conflict, it is our belief that the people who are living in, and have lived through, conflict and the losses of war can best teach us how to turn the devastation of war into the global peace we are all seeking. For it is the bereaved, the widows, the orphans, the veterans, and the refugees who have witnessed the very best and the very worst of humanity and have been forced to rebuild not only their countries, but their very identities. Although every culture and country has constructed monuments and created rituals for how best to honor those who served and sacrificed for the freedom of their countries, very few have given a voice to their loved ones who are left behind, grieving their deaths and making meaning from their loss.
As stated by the International Working Group of Organizations Caring for Families of Military Deceased, "We the families of those who have died in the cause of freedom, stand together in the light of justice against all those threatening the peace of our world. We unite with great purpose and with pride in our heroes’ selfless service. We pledge to continue as their living legacies in honor of their sacrifice to heal our hearts and raise future generations in peace, freedom, and stability. The families of our deceased military are hereby united as a global community interdependent upon one another. We commit to go beyond our borders, rise above political or religious differences, transcend language barriers and unite with one voice in hope and healing. We stand together in our acknowledgment of the universality of grief, our respect for all who have served and died, and our dedication to peace. In honor of our fallen heroes, our military deceased, and our martyrs, we will raise our voices as one global community, representing the families of all those who have given their lives in the cause of freedom."
Ms Annika Hilding Norberg joined the Geneva Centre for Security Policy in 2017 where she is head of peace operations and peacebuilding with a specific focus on dialogue, research and policy development, and education and training. Annika serves on the Geneva Peacebuilding Platform Management Committee. Prior to joining the GCSP, she was the director of the Challenges Forum (CF) aimed at strengthening the planning, conduct and evaluation of UN peace operations. As an undergraduate when serving as chairman of the Intl. Relations Society of the London School of Economics (LSE), Annika realized the promise and impact of bringing together diverse perspectives to solve common problems. In 1996, when she returned to LSE for research studies, Annika founded the Challenges Forum, which she coordinated for 21 years based at the LSE, then Swedish National Defence College and then Folke Bernadotte Academy, an agency of the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs. Annika is main editor of more than 80 Forum and other reports, policy briefs and articles. She oversaw CF contributions to the Principles and Guidelines for United Nations Peacekeeping Operations (UN PKO), the Strategic Guidance Framework for Intl. Police PKO, and the Considerations for Mission Leaders in UN PKO Study. Annika has served as a director on the Peace Operations Training Institute Board and as a Reviewer for the United Nations Office of Internal Oversight Services (UN OIOS). She has a BSc in Econ (IR) from LSE, an MA in Intl. Politics from ULB, and Languages Certificates from Moscow State University and Universidad del Pais Vasco. In 2008, Annika was awarded the Silver Medal of the Swedish Royal Academy of Military Science for her contributions to strengthening UN peacekeeping.
Bonnie Carroll is the widow of an Army general who died along with seven other soldiers in an Army plane crash in 1992. Out of that loss, she founded the Tragedy Assistance Program for survivors, which is today the recognized American program providing comfort and care for all who are grieving the death of a military loved one. Ms. Carroll also served her country, retiring as a Major in the Air Force Reserves. In her civilian career, she has worked for three Presidents in the White House, and served in various other government capacities including as the White House Liaison to the Department of Veterans Affairs. She also served as a Department of the Army civilian in Baghdad, Iraq in 2003 to 2004 as the Deputy Senior Advisor to the Ministry of Communications and continues working internationally to bring stability to families of military deceased in areas of conflict around the world. She holds a degree in Political Science and Public Administration from American University and has attended Harvard University's Executive Leadership course in International Conflict Resolution. In 2015, Ms. Carroll was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in recognition of her work with surviving military families. She is the author of Healing Your Grieving Heart After a Military Death.
Fatma Megrahi was born In Istanbul, and is half Libyan and half Turkish. She is the daughter of a retired Brigadier General from the Libyan Army and a Diplomat who served as the Libyan Consul in Turkey, Algeria and the United Nations in America in 2009 to 2011. She is from the Megrahi’s Tribe, the second largest Tribe of Libya. Fatma grew up in various countries due to her father's postings. During the Libyan Civil War, she lived in between Istanbul and Libya while her parents and brothers were stuck in the War, Fatma Joined TAPS in 2017 after the loss of her hundreds of family members in the Libyan Civil War. She has worked in several NGO’s as a Volunteer and Project Manager with the Syrian refugees all around Turkey. With TAPS, Fatma has helped launch efforts in Ukraine, Turkey, Iraq, Yemen and Libya. She spent her time in several War Zone countries in the Middle East. She currently lives in Istanbul with her family, and speaks Arabic, Turkish, and English. ‘’I’m thankful for where I am standing today, thru all the past years the War has changed my and my family’s life completely. We have lost many of our family members, our friends, our dreams, our hope and our memories.. But Today I have gained many people where I consider as Family, Friends and I have new dreams, new memories and HOPE! Today I have TAPS Family. I’m honoured to be part of this work and bringing Hope and healing all around the world.’’
Reverend David Eubanks received his B.A. in Political Science from Texas A&M. He was a member of Company I-1, Ross Volunteer, and Brigade Commander. Upon graduation he was commissioned into the U.S. Army and served in Special Forces and as an Army Ranger. Eubanks is the founder of Free Burma Rangers (FBR), a humanitarian service movement for oppressed ethnic minorities of all races and religions in Burma, Iraq, Kurdistan, Syria, and Sudan war zones. His personal mission is to help free people from oppression. Eubank is joined on missions by his wife Karen and three children—Sahale, Suuzanne, and Peter—who work alongside the ethnic FBR relief teams giving help, hope, and love. The Eubank family started the Global Day of Prayer for Burma and the Good Life Club family outreach program.
Justine is Chief Strategy Officer at AMS, a company supporting complex missions in austere environments through innovation, technology, and people solutions. AMS has 4000 employees comprised of 40 nationalities, working in 60 nations. Justine brings unparalleled understanding of stability and peace operations, with more than 25 years of experience in development, advising in post-conflict countries, and oversight of multimillion-dollar DOS, USAID, World Bank, and UN projects. Her thought leadership and unremitting advocacy for good governance, gender equality, and human rights has earned her respect/recognition throughout the international community. She has advised and managed teams working for legal reforms in Rwanda, Afghanistan, South Sudan and other developing countries while helping to place justice and equality for women at the forefront of national politics. "Advancing Peace around the world is very dear to my heart. I have lived the experience of instability and later worked in countries where women, men, and children die before they can realize their God-given potential due to conflicts, civil wars, and genocides." Following the genocide in Rwanda, Justine was pivotal in establishing a National constitution, bringing justice to victims, and creating peace. Justine holds a BA from Western Ontario University, an International Law degree from American University, and an Executive Leadership Certification from Harvard. She serves on the Board of Governors of Keyano College. In 2012, she authored, "This is your Time, Rwanda" which details the heartfelt journey of the Rwandan people from the horrors of genocide to a brilliant national renaissance.
Salma Seraj is a descendant of nine Kings of Afghanistan. She is the granddaughter of King Habibullah (1901 to 1919), and niece of the late King Amanullah (1919 to 1929), and former rulers of Afghanistan. She received her education in Afghanistan and in Great Britain. During the communist invasion, she went into exile to Germany and while there, she worked closely with the U.S. Embassy Consulate section in Frankfurt and the International Rescue Committee in Munich to assist those Afghans who had escaped the war. After the defeat of the Taliban and Al Qaida, she returned to her homeland and was offered the position of Special Assistant, Executive Protocol to the U.S. Ambassador and Special Presidential Envoy, at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul. From January 2007 to January 2010, Salma was the Chief of Staff to the National Security Advisor (NSA) of the National Security Council at the Presidential Palace in Kabul. Her final position in Kabul was as the Program Manager for the International Association of Women Judges, (IAWJ) a non-profit, non-government organization to support the Afghan Women Judges Association. Since returning to the United States, Salma has led the Afghanistan programs for TAPS, bringing hope and healing to the widows and orphans of the Afghan National Security and Defense Forces.
Janessa Gans Wilder is a former CIA officer turned peacebuilder, social entrepreneur, and nonprofit executive. She is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of The Euphrates Institute, a grassroots peacebuilding organization. She founded Euphrates after five years at the CIA focused on the Middle East, including serving 21 months in Iraq from 2003 to 2005. Janessa is a frequent speaker in interfaith, community, government, international, and educational settings. She has written dozens of articles and been interviewed by major news outlets, including CBS, CNN, Los Angeles Times, Christian Science Monitor, Democracy Now, and many more. For over a decade, Janessa has provided the vision and leadership to grow Euphrates Institute into a global network of peacebuilders and changemakers, now comprising over 30 Chapters in 15 countries. She created and leads transformative Travel Study programs to Israel, Palestinian Territories, and Jordan, focused on listening to the ‘Other’. She conceived of the Visionary of the Year program to honor, support, and increase the visibility of groundbreaking changemakers.Previously, Janessa taught political science at her undergraduate alma mater, Principia College, and was a consultant to the State Department. She has a Master’s degree in International Policy Studies from Stanford University and a bachelor’s in International Relations from Principia College.
Dr. Nada Ibrahim is the founder and president of The Iraqi Organization for Woman and Future (IOWAF), an NGO that works to promote the rights of women by defending and empowering them. She has lived all her life in Iraq, caring for her people and serving in her government. She is a former Member of the Iraqi Council of Representatives, having served for eight years. She is a member of the Advisory Group on Women reporting to the Secretary General of the United Nations in Iraq. Dr. Nada holds a Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree from the College of Medicine Al Mustansiriya.
- Turning War Grief into Positive Peace; By Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), TAPS International
- Beyond Borders: Bringing Together the Global Community of Survivors; Published by the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), TAPS Magazine, Winter 2018, Pages 22-23
- A Model for Supporting Grief Recovery Following Traumatic Loss: The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS); Published by Military Medicine, Volume 184, Issue 7-8, July-August 2019, Pages 166–170
- Screening for Complicated Grief in a Military Mental Health Clinic; Published by Military Medicine, Volume 182, Issue 9-10, September 2017, Pages e1751–e1756
- When Parent is Injured or Killed in Combat; By Holmes, Allison & Rauch, Paula & Cozza, Stephen. (2016).
2nd Annual International Working Group
The 2nd Annual International Working Group will be held on November 6 and 7, the last 2 days of Geneva Peace Week. For more information, please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. More information can also be found under the delegation sign up section.