Democratic transformations, Kurdish women and regional conflict
Democratic transformations, Kurdish women and regional conflict:
Lessons from Rojava and beyond
The Greenwich Political Economy Research Centre of the University of Greenwich and Peace in Kurdistan – Women's Alliance for Kurdistan, Iraq and Syria, would like to invite you to a workshop, exhibition and roundtable discussion on "Democratic transformations, Kurdish women and regional conflict: lessons from Rojava and beyond".
Against a background of conflict and repression in the Middle East, Kurds in four countries (Iraq, Iran, Syrian and Turkey) are asserting their political and cultural rights; and transforming both themselves and the countries they live in. They pursue a democratic, secular and gender-equal political project in which women play a crucial role. The aim of this workshop and roundtable discussion is to discuss the unfolding experience; and its achievements and challenges with respect to participatory democracy, human rights, gender equality and security in Kurdistan and beyond.
The event brings together well-researched and novel findings from academics, journalists and activists from different backgrounds and disciplines – who are well placed to bridge the knowledge gap on the Kurdish political movement, its achievements and challenges, and its engagement with global democracy, gender equality and security.
9:30- 9:55 am Arrival, registration, tea/coffee
9:55- 10:40 am Welcome and introduction (Mehmet Ugur, University of Greenwich; Melanie Gingell, Peace in Kurdistan Women Alliance for Kurdistan, Iraq and Syria)
- Keynote speech: Kurdish women and their achievements in a regional and international context
- Margaret Owen (OBE), Director of Widows for Peace through Democracy; Patron of Peace in Kurdistan; UK barrister and an international women’s human rights activist.
10:40- 12:15 pm Session 1: Institution building under conflict: What do we learn from Kurdish praxis?
- Thomas Schmidinger, University of Vienna. Rojava: Autonomy in the borderlands of civil war
- Zaid Nasution, University of Leeds. ‘Recallable’: Delegates accountability in democratic confederalism
- Ercan Ayboga and Michel Knapp, Authors of Revolution in Rojava (VSA Verlag). Development of the political system of Rojava
12:15- 12:45 pm Photography exhibition: Thomas Schmidinger (University of Vienna) Photo exhibition on Rojava. Thomas will comment and answer questions on his photography (already exhibited at the European Parliament)
12:45- 1:50 pm Lunch break
1:50- 3:30 pm Session 2: Kurdish women: A gender revolution from below?
- Isabel Käser, SOAS. From Gendered violence to gendered resistance: Jineology and other women's voices
- Necla Acik (University of Manchester) and Umut Erel (Open University). Gender and multilayered citizenship: Kurdish women’s politics and agency in Turkey/ North Kurdistan
- Jo Magpie, Freelance journalist and writer. A women's revolution from the roots
- Houzan Mahmoud, Kurdish women’s rights campaigner. Kurdish women fighters: the case for new feminist theorising on women in armed struggles
3:30- 4:45 pm Session 3: The Kurdish political movement: Regional context and implications
- Cengiz Gunes, Open University. The Kurdish resurgence and its regional impact
- Seevan Saeed, Author of Kurdish Politics in Turkey (Routledge). Kurdish national movement in the North: From state building to nation building
- Yagmur Savran (University of Bradford). Political intersections, porous borders, and new directions: How Syria’s Kurdish resistance became Turkey’s de facto Kurdish problem (2011-2016)
4:45- 5:00 pm Coffee/tea break
5:00- 6:00 pm Roundtable discussion: Democratic transformations in Kurdistan – Implications for global democracy, human rights and security
- Arianne Shahvisi, Lecturer in Ethics and Medical Humanities, Brighton & Sussex Medical School
- Veli Yadirgi, Post-Doctoral Research Associate, Department of Development Studies, SOAS
- Thomas Schmidinger, Institute for Political Science, University of Vienna
- Houzan Mahmoud, Kurdish women’s rights campaigner
6:15- 6:40 pm Keçê Kurdan (Kurdish Girl) – Video clip- Şivan Perwer’s song, rendered by Aynur Doğan, Ibrahim Keivo and Morgenland Chamber Orchestra.
6:40- 6:45 pm Closing remarks
Kurdish women shout slogans during the funeral of a YPG (People’s Protection Units) fighter in the town of Suruc, Sanliurfa province, on October 14, 2014. AFP PHOTO / ARIS MESSINISARIS; ESSINIS/AFP/Getty Images.
Date and Time
University of Greenwich
Old Royal Naval College, 30 Park Row
King William Court, Room KW002