Introduction to the Universal Peace Federation
Women’s Leadership in the Prevention of Radicalization
Written by David Wills
In efforts toward the prevention of violent extremism, women play a crucial role. As mothers and wives, they may detect early signs of radicalization in the family. As members of the community, they highly value family protection, education and well-being. As leaders in society, they prioritize connectivity, inclusiveness and peaceful solutions to conflict. In this session, panellists will offer their thoughts and perspectives on the role of women’s empowerment and leadership in countering extremism and resisting radicalisation.
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Moderator: Mrs. Carolyn Handschin, Vice President, Women’s Federation for World Peace International
Mrs. Handschin-Moser is overseeing the development of WFWP (www.wfwp.org) in Europe. Before becoming the Director of the UN Office for WFWPI, she led its advocacy team at the United Nations in Geneva for 19 years, focusing on peace and human rights through the empowerment of women and girls and protection of the family. Her concern for youth led her to found the WFWPI-UN Internship program in Geneva in 2005, where she is the Director. She has been the co-coordinator of the Middle East Women’s Conference Series for 12 years. Mrs. Handschin is also co-founder of the Geneva Interfaith Intercultural Alliance (www.giia.ch), a youth Model UN Interfaith Council Program. She has seven children, three granddaughters and a supportive husband who are a resource and inspiration for her work.
Hon. Alenka Jeraj, Vice President, Slovenian Democratic Party; former Member of Parliament, Slovenia
Mrs. Jeraj is a graduate of the Faculty of Organisational Sciences. From 2001 to 2006 she was the president of the Slovenian Democratic Youth organisation. She became a Member of the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia between 2004 and 2014. She served as Vice President of the Slovenian Democratic Party between 2006 and 2015, and since 2015 serves as Secretary General. She presides over the Party’s Women Committee since 2009.
Hon. Dilara Jabrayilova, Member of Parliament, Azerbaijan
Mrs. Jabrayilova graduated from the Pedagogical Institute as a teacher of Russian language and literature and holds a degree in History. She worked as a School Director from 2012 to 2015. Since 2015, she has been a Member of Parliament of the Republic of Azerbaijan. She is married and has one son and one daughter.
Dr. Thomas Walsh, UPF International President
Dr. Walsh is the President of UPF International and Secretary General of the Sunhak Peace Prize Foundation. He has been a teacher, author, and editor specializing in the areas of interfaith, religious studies, peace studies, philosophy, and social theory. Dr. Walsh serves on the International Council of the World Association of Non-Governmental Organizations and the International Coalition for Religious Freedom. He has contributed to and edited more than 30 books related to interfaith, peacebuilding and renewal of the United Nations.
Hon. Ksenia Svetlova, Member of the Knesset, Israel
MK Svetlova is an Israeli journalist and Parliament member. She belongs to the Zionist Union party and is a member of the Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee. As a journalist and commentator on Arab affairs, she has written for the Jerusalem Post, the Jerusalem Report, Haaretz and the BBC Russian Service, among others. She has interviewed Yasser Arafat, Ahmed Yassin and Mahmoud Abbas, covered the War in Iraq from a U.S. battleship in the Persian Gulf and published exclusive articles from Tahrir Square during the Egyptian Revolution. She is a PhD student and holds a BA and MA in Islamic Studies and the Middle East from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
Hon. Flora Brovina, Member of Parliament, Kosovo
Flora Brovina is a Kosovar Albanian poet, pediatrician and women’s rights activist. She was born in the Drenica Valley of Kosovo and raised in Pristina, where she went to school and began studying medicine. After finishing her university studies in Zagreb, where she specialized in pediatrics, she returned to Kosovo and worked for a time as a journalist for the Albanian-language daily newspaper Rilindja. Soon thereafter, she returned to the health care profession and worked for many years in the Pediatrics Ward of the Pristina General Hospital. She has been a Member of the Assembly of the Republic of Kosovo since 2001.