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May 2022 Karuna Connectors—Women's Peace Leadership: Creating Change in Iraq, Nigeria, and Beyond
Please join us for a discussion with our colleagues Dr. Fatima Akilu, Executive Director of Neem Foundation in Nigeria, and Suzan Aref, Founder and Director of Women Empowerment Organization in Iraq!


FATIMA AKILU is the Executive Director of Neem Foundation, which co-leads the Protecting Our Communities Initiative with Karuna Center in Nigeria. Dr. Akilu’s work focuses on promoting resilience by building communities’ ability to manage conflict and be truly inclusive, and supporting psychological healing in conflict-affected areas. Dr. Akilu’s well-rounded career includes a background as a psychologist, educator, and author. Prior to establishing Neem Foundation, she designed and implemented Nigeria’s national Countering Violent Extremism Strategy as a director within the Office of the National Security Advisor.

SUZAN AREF is the founder and director of Women Empowerment Organization in Iraq, which Karuna Center worked with in 2018-2019. Ms. Aref also coordinates the Alliance 1325—a large group of Iraqi civil society organizations focused on implementing UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (UNSCR 1325) on Women, Peace, and Security. Ms. Aref has worked with the Federal Government of Iraq and Kurdistan Regional Government to lead the development of UNSCR 1325 National Action Plans to support women’s full participation in peacebuilding, all aspects of security policy, and post-conflict reconstruction. She represented Iraq to the UN Security Council in 2018 and 2019, where she presented on Iraq’s National Action Plan—which was the first in the Middle East and North Africa region.

May 25, 2022 03:00 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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