Our Story

Women without Borders (WwB), an international nonprofit organisation headquartered in Vienna, was founded by Edit Schlaffer in 2001. WwB focuses on Female Leadership, Capacity Building, Gender Based Violence, Intercultural Dialogue, and Preventing Violent Extremism. We commit and apply ourselves to …

  • Working from the bottom up and empowering the female leaders of tomorrow at the individual, community, and global levels
  • Supporting and inspiring women in the process of moving from victimhood towards agency
  • Advocating for a future without fear, suppression, and violence against women
  • Introducing and normalising the idea of mothers as the first line of defence against extremism in their homes and communities
  • Bringing the voices of impactful local leaders to the attention of the world

20 Years

We have been bringing local women's leadership to the attention of the world since 2001

40 Countries

We have worked across some forty countries and in numerous communities, both urban and remote

80+ Projects

We have translated research into action through eighty projects to date

Philosophy

Women without Borders (WwB) puts research into practice through community-based strategies that combine theory and grassroots fieldwork. Responding to the threat of radicalisation by sensitising women to their roles and responsibilities in building community resilience, WwB initiated the world’s first female PVE platform in 2008: the Sisters Against Violent Extremism (SAVE) network. WwB pioneered and continues to lead the effort of harnessing the potential of Mothers Preventing Violent Extremism (MPVE) through its ‘MotherSchools: Parenting for Peace’ Model. While addressing extremism is a priority among the range of distinct but interrelated WwB capacity building projects, this approach reflects our organisation’s longstanding, broader governing philosophy: translating research into action and empowering women to move from victimhood towards agency, the world over.

Focus Areas

Women's Leadership

Empowering the female talent pool of today and tomorrow

Gender Based Violence

Challenging structures and dynamics that enable violence against women

Empowering Dialogue

Uniting generations across boundaries and divides

Capacity Building

Providing knowledge and tools to stengthen community resilience, trust, and confidence

Preventing Violent Extremism

Positioning civil society as the first line of defence

Board

Dr. Edit Schlaffer

Founder and Chair

Xenia Hausner

Board Member

Claudia von Monbart

Board Member

Team

Elisabeth Kasbauer

Director of DACH Region Programming

Laura Kropiunigg

Executive Director

Dr. Rafael Kropiunigg

Director of Research

Maria Ory

Project Manager

Michelle Farrand

Project Manager

Ursula Schafler

Head of Accounting

Georgina Nitzsche

MotherSchools Trainer

Professor Ulrich Kropiunigg

Senior Research Fellow

Advisory Board

Richard Barrett, CMG OBE

Director at The Global Strategy Network; Senior Advisor at the Soufan Group; Adjunct Professor at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland

Dr. Iman Bibars

Vice President of Ashoka Global and Regional Director of Ashoka Arab World

Professor Mia Bloom

Professor, Georgia State University; Fellow, New America

Dr. May Chidiac

President and founder of May Chidiac Foundation-Media Institute (MCF-MI); Head of GROUND-0 Beirut Relief Committee; former Lebanese Minister of State for Administrative Reform

Dr. Christine L Corton

Author

Ben Emmerson, QC

International lawyer; Queen's Counsel; Barrister; British judge on the Residual Mechanism of the ICTs for Rwanda and the Former Yugoslavia

Carla Goldstein, JD

President of Omega Institute and co-founder of the Omega Women’s Leadership Center

Georgia Holmer

Peace and security expert, writer, artist

H.E. Shadya Karume

Founder and Chair at ZAYEDESA; First Lady of Zanzibar (2000–2010)

Pat Mitchell

Chair at Women’s Media Center and Sundance Institute Board

Farah Pandith

Author of How We Win; former Senior U.S. Diplomat

Anita Pratap

Journalist, writer, and documentary filmmaker

Marie Ringler

European Leader of Ashoka, Ashoka Europe Director for Central and Eastern Europe, and Founder Ashoka Austria

Eric Rosand

President, PVE Solutions; Senior Associate Fellow, RUSI

Professor Danilo Türk

Third President of the Republic of Slovenia (2007–2012); Professor Emeritus of International Law

Professor Maria Luise Wagner

Professor Emerita of International Development and History at Georgetown University

Thomas Wuchte

Executive Secretary at International Institute for Justice and the Rule of Law (IIJ)

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