A native of North Darfur, Niemat Ahmadi serves as serves as Founder and President of Darfur Women Action Group. She previously worked as the Director of Global Partnerships for United to End Genocide, which involved promoting greater outreach to civil society organizations worldwide, particularly those that represent the communities affected by genocide and mass atrocities from the regions that UEG is working to address.
Ms. Ahmadi previously worked for the Save Darfur Coalition as a member of the coalition’s policy and government relation team for four years, during which she also promoted the collaboration between the coalition and the Sudanese diaspora within the United States and abroad to empower and amplify their voices. She is a founding member of the Darfuri Leaders Network, a coalition of over twenty U.S.-based Darfuri organizations working to promote peace and security in Darfur. She served as an advisor at the seventh round of inter-Sudanese Darfur peace talks in Abuja, Nigeria 2006.
A veteran human rights advocate, Ms. Ahmadi worked with NGO’s in various fields of emergency and development with a focus on women’s empowerment and capacity-building while in Sudan including Oxfam Great Britain, Intermediate Technology Development Group (the current Practical Action) and the United Nation’s World Food Program. She also served as an executive member of the Darfur Assessment Mission, a consortium of six Sudanese non-governmental organizations in Khartoum – Sudan working on documenting human rights violations in Darfur at the time of the crises. Ms. Ahmadi led the Darfur Diaspora Association of East Africa in Kenya. She also participated in many regional forums, included but not limited to African women conference for peace and security, and Sudanese women forum for peace.
While in college, Niemat established Darfur call for private education that seeks scholarship and raise funds to support the education of poor Darfurian students. She was also a founding member of the Darfur Student Association at Ahfad University which seeks to secure scholarships and helps students from Darfur to be granted tuition waivers. Ms. Ahmadi earned an M.S. in Sustainable Development and a B.A. in Psychology and Pre-school Education, from Ahfad University for Women in Khartoum. She received the Ford Motor Company international fellowship for leadership course, at Columbia University, NY and the American University summer Professional Program on Women, Peace and Security.
Because of her role in helping the victims and being vocal about massive human rights abuses and the genocide in Darfur, she was forced to leave the country after two attempts on her life. She stayed in Kenya for two years then arrived to the U.S. in March 2007.
In her advocacy work, Niemat testified about the use of rape as weapon of war before UN SC in NY, UN Human rights council UNHRC in Geneva and many other testimonies, and collaborated with the Coalition for the ICC presenting victim’s perspective for Justice in Darfur. She also addressed the UN Security Council, on June 17, 2008 to testify on the escalation of violence against Darfuris in Darfur and Khartoum following May 10th attack. On the 17th of July, 2008 she addressed the UNSC presenting the Darfuri victims perspective for justice in Darfur. She also testified on the use of rape in Darfur as weapon of war before the senate foreign relations committee on 13th of may 2009.
As a Darfuri expert, she participated with Physicians for Human Rights in developing principles and guidelines for the reparations of Darfurian victims. Beside her work with the Coalition, she is working on mobilizing the Sudanese Diaspora to organize, network and encourage them to create their own organizations and provide them with advice and facilitation so that they can be able to contribute to the lasting and peaceful settlement of the Darfur conflict and Sudan’s multiple crises conflict.
She has been recognized by former President George W. Bush as one of the 8 global human rights fighters for freedom of their people of the year, along with representative from other 7 countries on July 24th 2008, in a meeting before his freedom speech.
Norrie was born in Brooklyn, NY in 1943 during World War II. Her family moved to a small resort town in upstate NY when she was 12. After receiving her Masters degree, Norrie worked as a speech pathologist in a school for neurologically impaired youngsters and subsequently as an audiologist for 20 years at Manhattan Eye, Ear & Throat Hospital in NYC.
In 1989, eighteen months after the adoption of her 7 year old son from South Korea, her husband passed away. Norrie became a single parent and changed careers to become a data research analyst of institutional investors of fixed income, work that ended in August 2010 as her work was transferred to the Philippines.
From an early age, my family was active in social and economic justice issues. My earliest memories were collecting funds for the newly formed state of Israel, specifically for Hadassah Hospital when I was 6. Then in 1949, we learned of cousins who had survived the Holocaust. My parents searched for them, sponsored them, and they came to live with us for almost two years, until they could independently support themselves. During the two years that these cousins lived with us, every night after I went to bed I would listen to them as they recounted the horrors they had endured in Auschwitz. I cried myself to sleep for those two years – but those stories of horror and subsequent human resiliency and survival shaped my entire life’s perspectives, philosophy, and personality. They imbued in me a fire for social and economic justice for victims of human injustice.
As a young adult, I was active in the civil rights movement of the ‘50s and early ‘60s – followed by marches in Washington, DC in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s in protest of US involvement in Vietnam.
In 1999, I participated in the first of many 3-day 60 mile walks against breast cancer as a walker and later as a crew member. And starting in 2005, I added crewing in the annual Braking the Cycle event, a 3-day 275 mile bike ride that supports services for people with AIDS/HIV. In November, 2010, I did another 1-day 20 mile walk in San Antonio, TX supporting Prevent Child Abuse Texas and in 2011 participated as Co-Crew Captain.
But it is the genocide in Darfur that touched a unique place in my heart from the moment I learned of it. I joined a local faith-based group (the Summit Darfur Genocide Rescue Committee) that responded to the genocide with outreach, political action and resettlement resource activity. Initially, I was Chair of the resettlement sub-committee and subsequently became Chair of the entire group. (Sadly, the group disbanded subsequent to the loss of the Interfaith Clergy Council involvement and support.)
I am so honored and privileged to be a member of DWAG and grateful to Niemat Ahmadi for her friendship, her courage and her doggedness in her attempts to help the people of Darfur.
Fatima M. Haroun
Fatima M. Haroun is one of the leading advocates on behalf of the people of Darfur. She is a native of Jebel Marra, a beautiful area of Western Darfur that has been destroyed by the Janjaweed militias in recent years. A graduate of Khartoum University, she has an extensive background in rural development in her homeland.
Prior to the current genocide she helped establish women’s training centers that taught rural women handicrafts and marketing skills as well as providing health and literacy education. Mrs Haroun has served as the president for the NY based Darfur Rehabilitation project and as the Vice President of the Darfur Alert Coaltion Based in Philadelphia, PA.
Ms. Haroun is a social worker for the city’s department of human Services in Philadelphia. As part of her Darfur advocacy she has testified at U.S. congressional hearings, been a featured speaker at numerous demonstrations and rallies and has given many TV and newspaper interviews.
Fatima continues to be one of the strong anti genocide voices for Justice and peace for the Darfur People and for a permenant settlement for the long standing crises in Sudan. Mrs. Haroun has a BA of Art from Khartoum University and currently she is working on her MSC in social work.
Hawa Mohamed Abdalla
Hawa Abdallah Mohammed Salih is a Sudanese activist. She was born in North Darfur but had to leave due to fighting between government forces and Darfuri rebels. She moved to Abu Shouk internally displaced persons camp, where she worked with United Nations officials and the American NGO IRC to spread information and awareness about the conditions in the camp.
For her work she was arrested three times, and kidnapped twice by National Security and detained, including a time in 2011 when she was held for two months and tortured and raped in a state prison in Khartoum. She had to flee Sudan in 2011. She received a 2012 International Women of Courage award.
An experienced feature film Producer, Emmanuel Itier directed the thriller “Tell me no Lies” (2000) and the horror film “Scarecrow” (2002). He just completed the Peace documentary “The Invocation” narrated by Sharon Stone and with Desmond Tutu, HH The Dalai Lama, Deepak Chopra and many other worldwide peace activists. Emmanuel also produced the films “Wildflower” (1999) and “Scarecrow Slayers” (2003) among other pictures. He also acted as a co-producer and financing consultant: “Johnny Mnemonic”, “Another 9 1/2 weeks”, “Shattered Image” (1998), “The Dentist” (1996), and “Progeny” (1999).
Emmanuel Itier has also been a successful Music and Film journalist for both Rock Magazines, French TV networks and the internet for the last twenty years. Finally Itier has been a buyer for various French Film distribution companies for the last fifteen years. He was on the board of directors of the Santa Barbara Film Festival for a decade and writes poetry. He is also very involved with charities and the political world. He grew up in France and moved in the US twenty five years ago. He resides in Santa Barbara, California with his wife and two sons.
Emmanuel Itier is currently completing another inspiring documentary celebrating women around the planet: “FEMME-Women Healing the World”. He will then produce and direct three other documentaries in order to keep making Peace, one movie at a time.
Maria Bello is an internationally renowned actress, women’s rights activist, DWAG Board Member and the co-founder of We Advance, a women’s movement and NGO based in Cité Soleil, Haiti, that advocates for women throughout the country to have full political, economic, and social participation. In conjunction with the movement, she also founded the website We Advance University to connect and empower women in Haiti and throughout the world.
With Golden Globes and years of experience with human rights issues, Bello founded her first NGO, The DreamYard Drama Project, in 1997 and travelled around the world to Bosnia, Kenya, Botswana, Bhutan, Nepal, and many other countries. Bello began her career as an activist at Villanova University, where she majored in peace and justice education and worked at the Women’s Law Project in Philadelphia.
Mrs. Woods is the Global Client Principal for Social Impact Programs at ThoughtWorks, a technology firm committed to social and economic justice. From 2003 to 2014, Mrs. Woods has served as co-director of Foreign Policy In Focus at the Institute for Policy Studies, and as an expert on U.S. foreign policy with a special emphasis on Africa and the developing world.
She was program manager for the Committee on Development Policy and Practice at InterAction, serving as a principal staff contact for advocacy at the UN, the international financial institutions, USAID and Treasury. Previous to that, she served as a program officer of Oxfam America’s Africa program. Woods completed her undergraduate studies at Columbia University and her graduate studies at Harvard.
Ms. Moix served as serves as as an Atrocities Prevention Fellow with USAID’s Office of Conflict Management and Mitigation. As part of USAID’s atrocities prevention team, she has helped to develop new tools and resources, advance learning, support country engagements, and improve the agency’s capacities to prevent and respond to mass atrocities.
Moix brings experience at the national and international levels working to advance a range of peacebuilding and violent conflict prevention issues to the DWAG community. She has worked with the Friends Committee on National Legislation, the American Friends Service Committee, the Quaker United Nations Office, Oxfam America, and the Quaker Peace Centre in South Africa.
Moix received her Masters in International Affairs from Columbia University and is currently pursuing her PhD at George Mason University’s School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, where she also serves as Cumbie Fellow with the Genocide Prevention Program.
Well renowned actress, human rights activist, Mia Farrow holds Golden Globes amongst other awards and years of humanitarian activism. She first became UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in 2000. Working closely with Darfurian and Sudanese refugees, Farrow co-founded the Olympic Dream for Darfur campaign which drew attention to China’s support for the government of Sudan.
She also helped bring the tragedies of Darfur to worldwide attention with her documentary Darfur: On Our Watch and by protesting in many forms in unity with the Sudanese and Darfurian people. She continues to work to stop the atrocities in Darfur and Sudan, today.
Professor Kapila is an Indian born and British national. He was a whistle blower during the early stages of the Darfur Genocide. While stationed in Sudan, he was outspoken in his condemnation of the human rights abuses being committed in the western region of Darfur. His activism began after a Darfuri woman came to his office to tell him how she, her daughter and 200 other women in the village of Tawilla had been gang-raped and mostly murdered by government soldiers and paramilitaries.
Professor Kapila has extensive experience in the policy and practice of international development, humanitarian affairs, human rights and diplomacy, with particular expertise in tackling crimes against humanity, disaster and conflict management, and in global public health. His memoir “Against a Tide of Evil”, published in 2013, was nominated for the Best Nonfiction Book of that year. He is also Professor of Global Health and Humanitarian Affairs at the University of Manchester.
Professor Kaplia is also a Special Representative of the Aegis Trust for the prevention of crimes against humanity, and Chair of the Minority Rights Group International. While he was Under Secretary General at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, he served the United Nations in different roles as Special Adviser to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva and then Special Adviser at the UN Mission in Afghanistan.
Dr. Bama Athreya
Mrs. Atherya currently serves as Senior Specialist, Labor and Employment Rights at USAID. And is the former served and the Executive Director of United to End Genocide. With 20 years’ experience in nonprofit leadership, with issue expertise on human rights, trade and development, and social justice issues, Dr. Athreya has a life-long commitment to human rights and ending genocide and human rights atrocities.
With policy analysis and program management skills she has effectively contributed to policy advocacy and human rights. She holds a B.A. in Comparative Literature from the University of Pennsylvania and received her Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Michigan.
Nick Cabrejos: Outreach Intern
Adeena Eisen: Campaign Intern
Mary Sorenson: Development Intern
Anastassiya Chervinskaya: Program Intern/Symposium Coordinator