March — April Peacemakers in Action Network Media Update

Greetings from Tanenbaum! Please enjoy the latest compilation of news about the Peacemakers in Action.

Warm regards,
Michael, Janie, Liz, and Casey                                                 

  1. Network News

    Dr.-Sakena Yacoobi | Afghan Institute of Learning – Creating Hope International-Facebook

    1. Jacky Visits Ivo!
    2. Program Advisory Council Member Scott Appleby Honored with Religion and International Studies Distinguished Scholar Award
    3. Voices of SDG16+: Stories for Global Action
  2. Peacemaker News
    1. Dr. Sakena Yacoobi, Afghanistan
    2. Rabbi Menachem Froman, Israel/Palestine
    3. Hind Kabawat, Syria
    4. Betty Bigombe, Uganda
    5. Jamila Afghani, Afghanistan
    6. Friar Ivo Markovic, Bosnia
    7. Dr. Ephraim Isaac, Ethiopia
    8. Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge, South Africa
    9. Dr. Yehezkel Landau, Israel/Palestine
  1. Jacky and Ivo!

    Network News

    1. Jacky Visits Ivo!

In mid-March, Peacemaker Rev. Jacky Manuputty traveled to Bosnia and had the chance to visit Peacemaker Friar Ivo Markovic while in Sarajevo! Jacky said of their time together:

“Although we had a short time, I am grateful to meet Father Ivo and his wonderful choir in Sarajevo.”

  1. Program Advisory Council Member Scott Appleby Honored with Religion and International Studies Distinguished Scholar Award

Scott Appleby, Conflict Resolution & Peacebuilding Program Advisory Council member, is the recipient of the 2019 Religion and International Studies Distinguished Scholar Award. He was honored at the annual International Studies Association convention in Toronto, where a roundtable discussion took place surrounding Scott’s work on interreligious dialogue and his contributions to the field of international studies.

Upon presenting the award, the committee from the ISA Religion and International Relations Section said:

“Scott Appleby’s work has brought religion to the attention of academic audiences and clarified how religion matters in the world… His research has inspired and will continue to inspire debate and scholarship across multiple disciplines.”

Congratulations, Scott!

  1. Voices of SDG16+: Stories for Global Action

Gay Rosenblum-Kumar, a representative for both Non-Violent Peace Force and Peace Direct at the United Nations, recently reached out to Tanenbaum regarding a video initiative focused on Sustainable Development Goal 16+.  The initiative is asking people and partners around the world how they are supporting local-level work to advance SDG16+ in their community or country.

If interested, the initiative asks that you submit a short video of your work in action here:  The video can be filmed with your cell phone, and can be in any of the UN official languages.  More specific information about the initiative can be found by following the link.

Peace Direct will showcase all the submitted videos on a dedicated web platform leading up to the 2019 High-Level Political Forum, and then at an event during the forum itself.  They will also select a few individuals and/or organizations to attend the HLPF to present their stories in person.  If you are interested in being sponsored to attend the HLPF event, your video must be submitted by May 15.  Otherwise, it can be submitted up until the event, which will take place in early July.

  1. Peacemaker News

    Dr. Sakena Yacoobi | Afghan Institute of Learning Creating Hope International Facebook

    1. Dr. Sakena Yacoobi, Afghanistan

A recent Darpan article discusses the impact of the Afghan Institute for Learning on women and youth of Afghanistan since the 1990 Taliban-imposed ban on formal education for females. Over time, AIL’s services have expanded beyond education and health to also include human rights programs, leadership training courses, and free legal counseling.

The article profiles Sakena as well, describing her as having “redefined the fate and future of women across Afghanistan.” In a media interview, Sakena says:

“I have dedicated my life to promoting the importance of education because I really believe it is the only way to bring peace… Conflict is the result of ignorance.  International governments spend billions of dollars on weapons – just think what that money could do if it went towards education.”

  1. Rabbi Menachem Froman, Israel/Palestine

At the end of March, a special event was held in memory of Rabbi Menachem Froman. Friends, family, and colleagues of many religious backgrounds gathered to honor his memory and influence as a promoter of interfaith dialogue.

Russ McDougall, the director of the Tantur Ecumenical Institute in Jerusalem and a colleague of Rabbi Froman’s, spoke of his legacy:

“I have a lot of respect for the family, especially for the way their daughter-in-law responded to being stabbed a couple of years ago with a renewed commitment to seeking dialogue with others. That’s why I’m here, to help celebrate his life, and to give thanks for his life and what he has contributed to bringing people together and building bridges between communities.”

Phil Saunders, the founder of the ‘Path of Hope and Peace’ organization, called Rabbi Froman “a very special man” and “an inspiration in his town, but also the entire area.”

  1. Hind Kabawat, Syria

In light of International Women’s Day on March 8th, the Wilson Center’s Middle East Women’s Initiative asked Hind to write for their publication Enheduanna. The blog is named after the world’s first known female author and poet, the daughter of the Mesopotamian King of Assad. The mission of the publication is to carry on Enheduanna’s legacy, giving women in the Middle East a place to voice their thoughts, express ideas, and navigate regional issues.

She wrote a blog post titled “Syrian Women Dream and Get Organized,” in which she discusses how the participation of women in Syrian conflict resolution has evolved. She explains that “in times of armed conflict, the presence of women often ebbs and as the violence escalates, they become hardly visible.” Hind’s discussion recounts the establishment of a minimum quota of 30% for female participation on the High Negotiations Committee in 2016 and 2017, which then set the foundation for the Syrian Women’s Political Movement. Over the last three years, the political involvement of Syrian women has increased significantly, across many backgrounds and occupations.

In Hind’s own words:

“After eight years of war, with millions of refugees, more than half million people dead, 250 thousand detainees, and a lost generation with no education, Syrian women continue to fight the good fight. They still have their peaceful boots on the ground and are still dreaming of having a new democratic Syria that we all aspire to create together.”

  1. Betty Bigombe | Credit: Foreign Policy

    Betty Bigombe, Uganda

Also in light of International Women’s Day, Betty’s name appeared in several media outlets. As a woman who has played a pivotal role in Ugandan conflict resolution over the past few decades, a timeline of Betty’s work was recounted in a recent Face2Face Africa article. It specifically focuses on her negotiations with Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army beginning in the 1990s.

Another article features responses from several female Ugandan leaders to a series of questions:

What kind of innovations should Uganda adopt to empower women in order to achieve inclusiveness and sustainable development? In your view, what is the most significant achievement of the women empowerment initiatives and gender equality campaigns?

Betty was mentioned in the response of Provia Nangobi, Senior Public Relations Officer at Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB), as a figure of empowerment who has already paved the way for more women to hold more numerous and higher leadership positions in Uganda.

  1. Jamila Afghani, Afghanistan

    Newly announced Aurora Forum Goodwill Ambassadors

On March 10th, Jamila was announced as an Aurora Forum Goodwill Ambassador. The Aurora Forum announced the names of 111 individuals from political, academic, entertainment, and business backgrounds who have been heavy influencers in addressing urgent global challenges.

The very first Aurora Forum will be held in Armenia from October 14th to 21st, 2019. Global leaders in the sectors of health, technology, education, arts, ecology, humanitarianism, and beyond will assemble to facilitate important conversations and begin the foundation for an international network.

Congratulations, Jamila!

  1. Friar Ivo Markovic, Bosnia

George Mason University will hold a seminar called Post-Conflict Peacebuilding in Bosnia and Herzegovina from May 27th to June 2nd, 2019. Students will go abroad for the duration of the seminar, where they will have the opportunity to engage in conversations with organizations, institutions, and individuals involved in conflict resolution and interfaith peacebuilding.  Friar Ivo is on the list of individuals who will act as a learning resource for students.

In light of Easter, Friar Ivo was interviewed by Anadolu Agency regarding reconciliation efforts in Bosnia. The interview can be found here:

(English translation)


  1. Dr. Ephraim Isaac, Ethiopia

Ephraim was one of several scholars and priests invited to Princeton University to share knowledge and expertise on ancient Ethiopian literature.  The event, titled “Remorseless Cannibals and Loving Scribes: Samples and Highlights from Princeton University’s Collections of Ethiopian Manuscripts (1500s-1900s),” took place on March 12th.  As a former visiting professor at Princeton and one of the first cataloguers of the University’s Ethiopian Collection, Ephraim gave a presentation on the cataloguing process of the collection.

  1. Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge, South Africa

From April 2nd to April 5th, Nozizwe attended the 3rd World Congress against the sexual exploitation of women and girls in Mainz, Germany. Alongside Mickey Meji, a Cape Town survivor of abuse in the sex trade, Nozizwe spoke out against legislation that would fully decriminalize prostitution in South Africa.  Alternatively, the women hope the nation will adopt a law under which sex workers would not be criminalized, but those profiting from the trade still would be.

At the end of March, gender and housing activist Ayanda Denge was found dead in her room at the Helen Bowden Nurses Home in Green Point, Cape Town. Denge identified as a trans woman, and was a dedicated activist for sex workers. She was the former chairperson of the Sex Worker Education and Advocacy Taskforce (Sweat), and a member of a group at the organization called SistazHood, which aims to support transgender sex workers and prioritize their health and human rights. No arrests have been made thus far, and her death remains under investigation.

Nozizwe commented on the legacy of Denge’s activism, saying:

We will continue with her (Denge’s) struggle for the rights of transgender people and all others exploited by the system of prostitution.”

  1. Dr. Yehezkel Landau, Israel/Palestine

Yehezkel recently wrote a thoughtful reflection on the heels of the Israeli election. Click here to read the reflection.