Queer Arab Women's Stories - staged reading
  • Queer Arab Women's Stories - staged reading
  • Charlotte Bunch presenting her film
  • Opening Plenary

What an amazing experience. I am so glad to be part of all this, i feel so empowered. Sometimes i just wish that the world was AWID :)

Day 1 was so impressive. I was a little lost at the beginning, then found my way to the first plenary session where different women leaders and activists took the stand to welcome us to the forum. What i liked the most that these were women from different parts of the world; latin America, Turkey, India, Tunisia...- They immediately launched the topic of the forum: Economic Power: Why does it matter and how to understand it in the current global context? -

Then i met some of my friend activists in the lobby for the coffee break; we shared our expectations, exchanged ideas, decided on where to go next. The choices were immense; from the Feminist Economics Toolbox Sessions to break-out sessions, to in-depth discussions. It was very difficult to decide, I wanted to attend all at once.

During the lunch, AWID gave the floor for solidarity round-tables, where participants grabbed their food and gathered for one to have an informal discussion around it. The first day i joined the one on women's role in the peace building process: experiences from South Caucasus and moderated by the Kvinna til Kvinna foundation. My friend and co-founder of our organization, Gohar Shahnazaryan was one of the speakers. The discussion was very lively and many attended. Gohar talked about our work on the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh and the peace dialogue between Azeri and Armenian women IDPs and refugees.

The events that i liked most was the film screening "Passionate politics" on the life and work of activist Charlotte Bunch, so inspirational and it was a great surprise to see her afterwards presenting and discussing the making of the film. The second highlight of the day was the staged reading of queer Arab women's stories based on the book, Bareed Mista3jil. 8 women performed and related personal stories of their coming out as queer to their families and communities and brought very touching stories of how society relates to their sexual identity and what kind of obstacles they were faced with. Emotional experience; It made the public sad and happy at the same time.

10 pm, i was back to my hotel room, exhausted but so happy and content and looking forward for the next day.

PS: i am live tweeting from the Forum you can follow me @Lara_Aha or hashtag #awidforum

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Hello Lara Aha,

I am glad to just discover another World Pulse sister at the AWID forum. I have had a similar experience as I was a bit lost on the first day but found my way eventually. It is very difficult to decide which sessions to attend but choices have to be made. I also agree with you that the Charlotte Bunch "Passionate Politics" film screening was inspiring. It helped me understand a lot of the struggles, both public and private that feminists in the past & present face, it also preached hope & perserverance.

I would follow you now as I am also tweeting at the forum as @livingtruely

Enjoy the rest of the forum and I hope we get to meet somehow.

Best wishs, Osai

Twitter: @livingtruely

Dear Osai and Lara

Nice hearing the stories from you both. Lara, I am glad the event had space for Arab queer women which is normally a real taboo issue in an orthodox Muslim society. Best to both you ladies!

Stella Paul Twitter: @stellasglobe

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