Women Fighting for Peace in Iraq Event

Women Empowerment Organization
Washington, DC USA - 7 December 2011


From left: Raya Barzanchi “Director of USIP Programs”, The Ambassador Donald Steinberg, Deputy Administrator U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Ms. Manal Omar- Director of Iraq, Iran, and North Africa Programs, Suzan Aref “WEO Director” and Zainab Sadiq Jaafar – Al-Mustaqbal Center for Women in Basrah.


Ms. Manal Omar- Director of Iraq, Iran, and North Africa Programs listening to Ms. Aref “WEO Director”.
Ms. Suzan Aref, Director of the Women Empowerment Organization (WEO) in Erbil was recognized for her leading role in addressing women’s issues in Iraq with an invitation to the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) in Washington DC on December 6, 2011 to participate in a panel discussion on “Women Fighting for Peace in Iraq”. The USIP is the independent, nonpartisan conflict management center created by the US Congress to prevent and mitigate international conflict without resorting to violence.

Ms. Suzan discussed efforts to enhance women’s access to justice in Iraq as a pre-requisite to peace building in Iraq and focused on WEO’s achievements in combating violence against women and enhancing women’s access to justice. She shared with the audience a short animated film used by WEO titled “You don’t have to stand alone!” publicizing free legal help presented by the WEO, and funded by the UN Development Programme (UNDP). The animated film depicts a scene of domestic violence and the woman reaching out to the WEO program for support.


From left: Raya Barzanchi “Director of USIP Programs”, Kathleen Kuehnast, Suzan Aref “WEO Director” and Zainab Sadiq Jaafar – Al-Mustaqbal Center for Women in Basrah.

Following the event, Ms. Suzan also met with other donors and partners such as the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), Institute for International Law and Human Rights (IILHR), Vital Voices, members of the US Congress and representatives from the US Department of State.

Just before leaving the United States, Ms Suzan was interviewed by the Alhurra Iraq show “Eye on Democracy”.


From left: Ms. Manal Omar- Director of Iraq, Iran, and North Africa Programs, Suzan Aref “WEO Director", Muhammed Yahyai “Alhurra Presenter” & Zainab Sadiq Jaafar – Al-Mustaqbal Center for Women in Basrah.

Visit WEO’s website to know more about their activities: www.weoiraq.org.