Rojava and the Kurds: Human security, gender and peacebuilding in the de facto region in Northeastern Syria

Recorded Date: July 22, 2020

With the rise, fall and resurgence of the Islamic State (ISIS), the vulnerable position of Kurds in Rojava, a region in Northeastern Syria, has become a highlighted media topic and has been placed at the centre of political debates in the Middle East, an area fraught with human security issues. In Rojava, the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a diverse group that has led the fight against extremism and ISIS. A unique aspect of the region, termed the “Rojava Experience” is the inclusion and active political participation of women.

The visibility of women in the community contributes to further gender equality in the area and has helped normalize female leadership. This role has been one of increasing stability, peacebuilding, and sustainability in post-conflict areas. Compared to other parts of Syria, the Rojava experience has been proven a successful governance model in the Middle East, especially with the feminist approach to administration of the region. This webinar is intended to inform and educate on the human security situation in Rojava and highlight the contribution of women in the area.

In addition, we address current obstacles to Rojava governance, particularly the interference by state and non-state actors. This includes the Turkish offensive into the region along with other proxies that are opposed to Kurdish-led autonomous governance. While Turkey refers to these operations as the “Peace Spring,” those in the immediate area have claimed that it is an ongoing ethnic cleansing and an attempt to force demographic changes. Behind many of these changes, we cannot ignore the role of the United States and its disastrous policies in the region. This webinar will bring in experts on human security, peacebuilding, and gender to discuss the implications for the people living there, the impacts on the feminist movement in the Kurdish region, and the threat of reigniting violent extremism as a result of the increasing vulnerability and de-stabilization of the region.

Panelists: Dr. Kenneth Christie, Mr. Saleh Moslem, Mr. Haval Ahmad, Ms. Emma MacTavish, and Dr. Sarbast Nabi

This webinar is hosted in collaboration with Koya University.

Leadership, Resilience