TAPS International at Geneva Peace Week
Live Sesssion Through GPW2020: "The Economic Transformation of Women in Post-Conflict Communities"
This session will showcase women who have survived conflict in their own community and have taken action to bring hope, healing, community and peace through the economic empowerment of women. Attendees will hear from women who have survived conflict grief and identify how they empowered women by creating critical economic opportunity and through entrepreneurship, created community and opportunity; share key insights from these leaders on practical ways to ensure these opportunities become sustainable; and explore the impact on the surviving family unit of rebuilding trust, creating economic stability, and accessing global networks of opportunity.
Women have been an integral voice in the development of peacebuilding and economic transformation. Though cultural implications are often considered when discussing women as actors of economic transformation, the impact of conflict-related grief and loss on a woman's ability to achieve financial security is often overlooked. Women are marginalized before the conflict and stand to be further marginalized following a conflict, especially if their freedom is dependent on a male relative who was killed. In this session, women from around the world will discuss the programs they have built to empower women impacted by death and conflict.
In addition to rebuilding trust, a key goal of GWP20 is to highlight trends in peacebuilding. Women have a critical role to play in the economic, institutional, and human security aspects of positive peacebuilding. To rebuild trust, communities must heal their grief and find stability and security, only possible through economic opportunity. Additionally, in a time when the global community is faced with a wave of COVID related grief, it is important to focus on the ways in which death of a loved one increases the marginalization and risk factors for groups living in conflict-affected nations.
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.
Honey Al Sayed is an award-winning independent media expert and entrepreneur with more than 20 years of experience in the Middle East, North Africa, Europe, and the United States. An accomplished, bilingual professional, Honey brings a wealth of expertise in radio communications, people management, marketing, public relations, media, art, culture, public speaking, coaching, and training. After breaking new ground in Syria's media scene with the #1 rated morning show "Good Morning Syria" for 6 years with 7 million listeners, Honey co-founded an online radio called SouriaLi that reached 500,000 listeners in Syria and in the diaspora. Honey founded MAP – Media and Arts for Peace – a company that gets to the heart of conflict. Honey shares this experience with the next generation through a course at Georgetown University School of Foreign Service, as well as through an online course she developed for the Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP) and the U.S. Institute of Peace. Regularly invited as a keynote speaker and commentator on women's empowerment and the role of media in social change, Honey has appeared at the UN General Assembly, United Nations Foundation, GCSP, U.S. National Press Corps, Foreign Service Institute, U.S. Institute of Peace, among many others. Honey is an Associate Fellow at the GCSP and she holds a Master of Arts in International Affairs from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University and a Bachelor of Science in Communication Media from the Lebanese American University.
Zubeida Alawi grew up living between the Middle East and America, provided the experience of direct culture, networking, and proficiency in the Arabic language. Zubeida holds a degree in Intercultural Communication - Arabic studies from NVCC; a Bachelor's degree in Visual Communication Advertising; and a Master's in Design & Innovation Management from Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD). In 2012 she launched a boutique strategic design firm working on intercultural and strategic communication projects. Her firm focuses on user engagement, cultural outreach, market analysis, and digital design audits/critique, with consideration of the current social and geopolitical dynamics. Her current research is in innovative IoT tech platforms that streamline processes and engage the user experience, while actively developing a patent-pending software platform for social inclusion and sensory disturbances.
Lily Thapa is the founder of Women for Human Rights, which brings together Nepalese widows, many of whom were the young wives of men killed in Nepal’s eleven-year insurgency, out of isolation and dependency in their husbands' homes and connects them with each other in groups that help build their economic and political strength. The groups give the widows, or “single women” as Lily prefers to use instead of the heavily symbolic “widow,” a chance to grieve together and to learn how to speak out and deal with the social and economic barriers that they face.
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.
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).