On Saturday, October 28 (8am to 4pm), and Sunday, October 29 (9am to 4pm), Darfur Women Action Group (DWAG) and partners will present a unique forum where hundreds of anti-genocide activists, women's rights advocates, artists, survivors from various crises, experts, and concerned leaders will come together to address the forgotten genocide in Darfur, analyze its impact on women, and define effective strategies for prevention and sustainable change. On Monday, October 30, a group of citizens will be heading to Capitol Hill to express their concern to representatives and demand that they make Darfur and Sudan a priority for the US government.
The symposium is organized by DWAG in partnership with Jewish World Watch and the George Washington University's African Student Association, and co-sponsored by the Institute for African Studies, Women Thrive Alliance, George Mason University's Genocide Prevention Program, and Genocide Watch.
The event will feature outstanding speakers and keynote addresses, among them former United States Ambassador-at-Large for Global Criminal Justice Stephen Rapp, who has exceptional expertise in International Justice and is a leading figure in formulating US policy toward prevention and accountability for mass atrocities and genocide. Also, Mukesh Kapila, one of the first whistleblowers on brutal crimes committed against civilians in Darfur. Additionally, Aicha Elbasri, the former spokesperson for the United Nations/African Union's Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), who broke the silence about UNAMID's deliberate and systematic cover-up and the lack of reporting of crimes against humanity committed by the Sudanese government.
Other speakers include distinguished genocide scholars and experts from the academic communities, such as Professor Greg Stanton, author of "The 8 Stages of Genocide", Elisa von Joeden-Forgey and Dr. Daniel Rothbart, who have both written extensively on the topic of genocide and Darfur, and Dr. Douglas Irvin-Erickson, who recently wrote a biography on Raphael Lemkin. In its core, the symposium will give a platform for women survivors of genocide and mass atrocities to share testimonies on their first-hand experiences, resilience, and leadership.
"Our symposium is unique in its scope and context. It's the only forum where survivors and policy makers talk face to face with experts, activists, advocates, and students; where they can passionately deliberate, debate and develop strategies for effective approaches to empower affected communities, confront genocide and mass atrocities, and end violence against women. It has been an incredible journey for the last six years; a great movement of committed individuals and an effort DWAG has tirelessly worked to sustain," said Niemat Ahmadi, founder of the symposium and a veteran human rights advocate who suffered several attempts on her life for speaking up against the genocide in Darfur.
Ms. Ahmadi founded DWAG in 2009 and hosted the first Annual Symposium on Women and Genocide Symposium in the 21st Century in 2012. Since then, the event has taken place every year in October, and attracted speakers and participants from diverse backgrounds from all over the world. The goal is to ensure that genocide and the use of rape as a weapon of war are not ignored. Through the event, DWAG has expanded its partnership to educate and empower ordinary citizens to speak up and hold leaders accountable. We believe that with our collective effort abolishing genocide in the 21st century is possible.
During the symposium, speakers, advocates, and survivors will be available for media interviews. For more a detailed list of speakers, please check here.
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