Newsroom > First Ladies, Experts, and Activists Address Impact of Terrorism on Women and Children

First Ladies, Experts, and Activists Address Impact of Terrorism on Women and Children

First Ladies, Experts, and Activists Address Impact of Terrorism on Women and Children

Meeting resulted in Call to Action to help victims

NEW YORK, Sept. 18, 2017 / –The Global Hope Coalition, in cooperation with UNESCO and the International Civil Society Action Network (ICAN), brought together a group of first ladies and other invested leaders to address the effects of terrorism and violent extremism on women and children. The joint action meeting took place on September 18 at the New York Public Library, at the onset of the United Nations General Assembly week.

Participants issued a statement urging the international community to take concrete and urgent measures to deal with a crisis that could lead to a lost generation across the Middle East and Africa, with catastrophic consequences.

Speakers at the event included Jeanette Kagame, First Lady of Rwanda; Keïta Aminata Maiga, First Lady of Mali; Irina Bokova, Director General of UNESCO; Wided Bouchamaoui, President of the Tunisian Confederation of Industry, Trade and Handicrafts and 2013 Nobel Peace Prize laureate; Gillian Sorensen, a former Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations; and May Makhzoumi, President of the Makhzoumi Foundation in Lebanon. UNESCO’s director for gender equality, Saniye Gulser Corat, moderated the meeting.

A panel of experts, chaired by Professor Phyllis Magrab, Director of the Georgetown University Center for Human and Child Development, presented a broad picture of the current state of affairs, and the policies and actions needed to address the growing crisis. The experts included Alexandra Chen, mental health and psychosocial advisor to UN agencies on the Syria crisis; Farah Pandith of the Council on Foreign Relations, the first-ever State Department Special Representative to Muslim Communities; and Sanam Naraghi-Anderlini, Co-founder and Executive Director of ICAN.

“The long-term effects of extremism and terrorism on emotional well-being, growth, and development can be devastating, but there are protective factors and interventions that can ameliorate the effects, including strong social supports, family adaptations, and other programs and policies,” said Phyllis Magrab. “Through the Global Hope Coalition, we will outline solutions and a path forward that will benefit the lives of those women and children impacted by terrorism and extremism.”

Hafsat Mohammed, a community organizer working against Boko Haram in northern Nigeria, and Dr. Waheed Arian, who has founded a “teleheal” system to help local physicians treat patients and victims in war zones, spoke about the situation in Nigeria and in Afghanistan.