In celebration of International Women’s Day 2003, Women without Borders (WwB), Reporters without Borders/Austria, and the Austrian UNESCO Commission organised a first-of-its-kind international conference focusing on women in war. The speakers from diverse countries shared their experiences of living in war zones: as civilians, as war reporters, as doctors, as social workers and, most importantly, as women who contribute substantially to rebuilding their countries’ structures and to reshaping their societies. Through this event, WwB aimed to provide a forum for women who know only too well what they are talking about when it comes to war and misery, and to generate discussion on the limits and dangers of communication and information networks both within and outside of the regions of crisis.

Speakers:

Noorie Haaqnazar, Director of the Gender Department in the Afghan Women’s Ministry.

Marie Roger Biloa, born in Yaounde, Cameroon, studied at the Universities of Abidjan (Côte d’Ivoire), Vienna & Paris, the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna, and holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in Political Science from University Paris-Sorbonne. She is a former German instructor in Côte d’Ivoire, a former consultant for UNIDO, Vienna and for UNESCO, Paris, and a former editor-in-chief for ‘Jeune Afrique’, Paris. Biloa currently is the editor of ‘Africa International’, and is Chair & CEO Media Group ‘Africa International Times’.

Parastou Forouhar, an artist based in Frankfurt. She moved to Frankfurt following the death of her parents in Iran. Her father was a reputable attorney in Teheran who was the victim of a political murder.

Dr. Rosina Fawzia al-Rawi, an Arabist, anthropologist, and ethnologist, author of ‘Tante Fatima kauft einen Teppich. Mein Leben im Morgenland der Frauen’
(Aunt Fatima Buys a Rug. My Life in the East of Women). She lives in Vienna and Jerusalem.

Dr. Tsvia Walden-Peres, a psycholinguist and lecturer at Beit Berl College in Israel. She is the initiator of many Israeli-Palestinian cultural projects and the author of ‘Die Sprache des Friedens. Meine israelische Geschichte.’ (The Language of Peace. My Israeli Story.)

Viola Raheb, an activist, author, and a member of the Network for Peace Education in the World Council of Churches and the Consultation Committee of the WCC for the Decade to Overcome Violence.

Mmabatho Ramagoshi, a women’s rights activist and Director for Gender Equity, Department of Education, Pretoria. She is the East and South Africa Coordinator of the International Alliance of Women, and is Chairperson of the National Council of African Women (NCAW) in Pretoria and of the Tiisanang Women´s Empowerment Group (TWEG).

Mandivavarira Maodzwa-Taruvinga, Manager of the Research and Development Unit at the Zimbabwe Human Rights Forum. She is also the manager of the Local Research and Education Institution, and is a founding member of the Education and Research Organisation of Zimbabwe.

Music/Vocals & Piano:

Leena Conquest, artist behind ‘Boundaries’ produced in Vienna together with Hip Hop Finger. She has recently released her CD ‘Come Fly Away’. Leena Conquest lives and works in New York City, New York.

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