The Peace Track Initiative (PTI) was founded by Yemeni women inside and diaspora Yemen who came together in 2015 to support the peace process in Yemen.
Sara Al-Mahbshi is a feminist peace project assistant at the Peace Track Initiative. Sara is also an MA candidate at the University of Lethbridge doing her research on Yemeni women’s political participation in peace processes (2014-2019).
Sara graduated with her BA from the American University in Cairo with Honors from Political Science and History. She volunteered with UNICEF Sudan for six months working with the Child Protection Section and specifically children’s soldiers and alternative families.
She is interested in international relations, gender studies, and conflict studies.
Afraa Al-hariri is a lawyer and a human rights defender. She is currently a member of the Women’s Technical Advisory Group of the Special UN Envoy Office in Yemen. She was a member of the National Dialogue Conference in the Transitional Justice Group. Afraa is an expert in drafting constitutional and legal documents, and a consultant on rights and politics. She is a trainer in various fields, including protection mechanisms, international contractual and non-contractual mechanisms, transitional justice, UN Resolution 1325 and its complementary resolutions, and international human rights. She has extensive experience in leadership, in preparing policy papers, shadow reports, violence against women and children, advocacy campaigns, and in gender.
Al-Hariri was the first to set up the first shelter in Aden for women released from prisons and those exposed to violence with their children. She was the first woman in the legal protection project for victimized women of violence in Yemen. She was awarded a Courage Certificate from the American Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2008. She has a TOT certificate for training and strengthening civil institutions. Al-Hariri has a leading role in the Southern Peace Movement since 2007 and has legal precedence in stopping the death penalty by stoning.
Afraa holds a BA in Law and a Diploma in Feminist Studies. She is currently preparing a Master’s thesis on Women’s Studies and Women’s Empowerment. Afraa is also a writer of legal and political articles.
Wajd Barahim (@wajdbarahim) is a social activist woman who has proven track record in social work and volunteering with the objective to make Yemen a better place to live in especially for youth people with special attention to youth women. She is currently the Post War Recovery Specialist at Peace Track Initiative.
She received a Chevening Scholarship to study a master degree in Peace, conflict and development from the university of Bradford (UK). She has over 11 years of work experience in Humanitarian and development field, she worked as a projects manager in Prodigy Systems one of the local companies in Yemen and during her work she lead Monitoring and Evaluation projects with several partners such as WFP, World Bank, UNICEF and USAID. During her work, she managed more than 120 temporary contracted employees to do the research and field study all over Yemen. Wajd is a co-founding and board of trustee member in the Hemmat Shabab Foundation one of the most successful civil society in Yemen that has media attention across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.
Nadia Gamal (@EbrahimNadia), feminist, Human Right Defender and advocate for the rights of women and girls. Nadia is the Women, Peace and Security Senior Officer at the “Peace Track Initiative”. She has over 14 years of experience in both the private and humanitarian sectors. Nadia worked as economic recovery and development officer with the “International Rescue Committee – IRC” and a translator/ interpreter in an emergency program with “Doctors Without Borders – MSF”. She is one of the first women to work for the “Yemen LNG company” on site.
She received a Fulbright FLTA program fellowship from the USA. Nadia is a former volunteer in Fred Wells Education Center at the Center for Intercultural Learning and Community Participation at the University of St. Thomas in the USA. She worked as an activist and volunteer with many other NGOs, CSOs, and institutions on many different projects and activities, leading her to realize that working in the humanitarian and development sector is where she should be and where she can help and see the smiles of the people she helps, especially women and girls who are one of the segments of society that need the most help and are most vulnerable to violations.
Nesmah is a Women’s Peace and Security expert and a founding member of the Peace Track Initiative, currently serving as their Communication and Advocacy Officer. She specializes in the intersection of peace building and climate justice and is PTI’s focal point for Feminist Climate Justice issues. Before that she was the Project Coordinator at RNW Media’s SRHR project Hobb Wa Tebb the first Yemeni online platform that educates youth on their reproductive and sexual health and rights.
Nesmah was part of many research projects focusing on Sexual and Reproductive health, Women Peace and security, and more. In addition to her peace work and activism, Nesmah is a regular blogger writing about women’s rights during the war, trauma, and wellbeing.
Nesmah is a trained negotiator by Clingendael Institute in the Netherlands, she is also a Swedish Institute Leader’s Lab 2021 alumina, and a fellow at Girls Globe. In 2018 She was chosen as one of MENA’s ambassadors to promote SDGs. Nesmah’s story about war and displacement was featured in the German book Flüchtlingsrevolution (The Refugee Revolution).
Nesmah is also founding member of the Women Solidarity Network which includes more than 330 Yemeni women working for peace and member of the Women’s Alliance for Security Leadership (WASL) . She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in civil engineering from Aden University and currently is perusing her master’s in International Relations at Inalco in Paris.
Hend Omairan is a Researcher and Human Rights Defender, working as Feminist Partnership Officer (PTI). She holds Masters in Middle Eastern Studies at Lund University. BA in International Relations from Malmö University. Through her work and research, Hend focuses on women’s rights and the self-determination of Southern people. She is A co-founder of Southern Independent Group and a member of the council coordination of southern European communities, and member of southern feminist coalition. she is from South Yemen regularly participates at the Human Rights Council to amplify the southerner’s calls for self-determination. Prior to moving to Sweden, she worked as a Programme Coordinator at the Women Training and Research Center at Aden University, where she women’s rights and the self-determination of Southern people. Twitter: @hendomairan
Linda Al Obahi (@AlobahiLinda) is an Advisor on Yemeni Political and Peacebuilding Affairs and the Senior Mediation and Liaison Officer at Peace Track Initiative. She is a Former Political Advisor of the French Embassy in Yemen (France Expertise Internationale (FEI) Project) during the National Dialogue Conference (NDC) and the Drafting of the New Yemeni Constitution, after which she was awarded the Golden Medal of Honor for Foreign Affairs by the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs in 2015.
Al Obahi is an alumnus of the École Nationale d’Administration (ENA/INSP), French National School of Public Administration for senior executives and government officials. She holds two Master’s Degrees in Communication of Public Institutions, jointly piloted by CELSA Sorbonne- IV University, School of Advanced Studies in Information and Communication Sciences/ National Institute of Public Service- France, and the Institute of Political Studies (IEP)- Strasbourg.
In her role with the Peace Track Initiative, she has been leading the efforts to partner and mobilize to update and further develop the Feminist Peace Roadmap in Yemen (FPR). She also provides deeper insights into the internal dynamics of the conflict in the country to create a space for Yemeni women’s participation in the peacebuilding process. She has carried out numerous missions with several Non-Governmental Organizations, including Médecins du Monde, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)- Morocco and Yemen INGO Forum- CARE International to ensure the coordination between Yemeni authorities, INGOs and Civil Society.
Azal Al-Salafi is a Protection and Advocacy Officer at the Peace Track Initiative active in advancing the protection of Women Human Rights Defenders and their meaningful participation in decision making and peacebuilding. Al-Salafi holds an LLB (Hons.) in International Law from Girne American University of Cyprus and a MA in PoliSci in Human Rights & Democratization at the Global Campus of Human Rights with a focus on the MENA region at the Saint Joseph University of Beirut. She is a recipient of the Right to Livelihood Foundation Award (2019) and the Chanzennutzer Award (2018) by JP Morgan Chase Foundation & Social Impact GmbH for her protection work for migrant women through her socio-legal initiative Azal & Co. Before that, Al-Salafi practiced law at Khalid Alwazir Law Firm establishing herself as a key contact to the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris, France. Al-Salafi is recognized for her research on the political economy of protection pathways and justice chains with path-breaking research on restorative justice. Her expert analysis can also be seen across popular media, academic and think tank institutions including, Yemen Policy Center, John Hopkins University, AlJazeera, BBC and more, championing the connection between academia research with policy practice and popular culture. Al-Salafi recently briefed the UNSC and UNHRC. She regularly advises and supports reports and policy papers for UN Special Rapporteurs, I/NGOs, CSOs i.e. Gulf Centre for Human Rights and Innovation for Change (I4C). Driven by her ardent spirit that is also related to the consistent crisis Yemen faces, Al-Salafi pays particular attention to innovating spaces and practices of intersectional policies, peace dialogues and feminist movements across the Arab region.
Kais Al-Iriani is an international development professional with 15 years of experience. He is a co-founder of the Social Fund for Development, Yemen’s largest development agency. After 10 years in the management of economic and social development programs in which he worked with governments, legislators, and communities, he shifted his focus to community conflict. When his home country, Yemen, slipped into conflict, he moved to the US where he completed a master‘s degree in conflict resolution for a thesis entitled “Preventative Diplomacy and Peacebuilding: The Case of UN Role in Yemen Conflict 2011-2016”.
He continues his research of Yemen conflict, with a focus on conflict dynamics, the role of diplomacy, and community peace. In Ottawa, Kais co-founded Friends of Yemen Organization, a Canadian initiative to help Yemeni people in need in Canada, and around the world.
Reem Al-Nakshabandi is a Psychosocial Support and Case Management Officer at the Peace Track Initiative. With nine years of experience working with refugees, particularly women who have endured various forms of violence, Reem’s focus on women’s empowerment is rooted in her background as a psychologist. She holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in counseling and educational psychology from Jordan, which she employs to assist women in making informed decisions regarding their health and well-being.
During her sessions, Reem provides comprehensive support to her clients by helping them gain insight into their emotions and behaviors and by addressing environmental, emotional, or social issues that impact their overall health and well-being. Her commitment to women’s empowerment inspired her to delve further into the topic, culminating in her master’s thesis, which explored the relationship between psychological empowerment and life orientation among refugees in Jordan.
With her expertise in psychosocial support and case management, Reem is dedicated to empowering women to overcome crises and achieve fulfillment in their lives.
Liza Al-Badawi (@Hassan_Liza) is a human rights activist. She is an expert in integrating the refugees and migrants in the European host communities. She is the Founder and Executive Director of Saharej, a grassroots organization based in Aden City, South of Yemen. Saharej works and focuses on sustainable development, gender justice, and human rights. Liza contributed to preparing the national report in 2004 and trained police officers across different governorates in Yemen about human rights according to the international agreements signed by the Yemeni government. In addition to advocating for human rights, she participated in developing the Public Prosecution Work Program in 2005 in cooperation with the UNDP Regional Office.
Currently, Liza is the secretary-general of Haqi center in Geneva, which advocates for human rights. She has local and international awards, the most important is the Prize for Academic Research Proficiency from Asyut University in 2009 for her research titled Freedom of Opinion and Expression: A Comparative Study between the path of Yemen and Egyptian Legislators. She also received a first-class honor for quality performance and good business management from an organization in Geneva that advocates for human rights, called APDH.
Liza holds a Master’s Degree in Law from the University of Asyot, Egypt. She has many publications that circulated in the university. She also has many working papers regarding the humanitarian situation in Yemen, the high percentage of child marriage, and the repression on the press and media, which were presented in the Human Rights Council Sessions.
Liza is a member of the European Summit Network for Refugees and Migrants, a member of the International Alliance of Peace and Development based in Geneva, and a member of the Arab Association for Combating Terrorism and Support Victims in Cairo.
Rasha Obaid (@Rasha7Rasha) is an artist and a visiting fellow at the London School of Economics Centre for Women, Peace, and Security. She has worked with the Peace Track Initiative since 2017. Rasha is a Non-Executive Director at Well Grounded Jobs in London. Rasha received the Chevening Scholarship and completed a Master’s Degree in post-war recovery at the University of York, UK. She also received the Illy Foundation fellowship and a second Master’s degree in Economics and Coffee Sciences from the Università di Udine in Italy. Obaid has worked with the Yemeni Ministry of Human Rights, the Yemeni Women’s National Committee, Amnesty International, and as a coffee trader for a leading trading house and social enterprise in the UK. Her research and advocacy are focused on combating gender-based violence and empowering women.
Senior Political Analyst
Fatima Al-Asrar (@YemeniFatima) is a Non-Resident Scholar at the Middle East Institute. Before joining the Institute, Al-Asrar was a Senior Analyst at the Arabia Foundation in Washington DC, MENA Director for Cure Violence, Research Associate at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington, a Mason Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government, and an International Policy Fellow at the Open Society Foundation. From 2006-12, she worked as an advisor for the Embassy of Yemen in Washington, DC. Earlier in her career, Al-Asrar served as a program officer for the Department for International Development (DFID) in Yemen.
Fatima holds an MA in Public Administration from Harvard University, an MA in International Relations from Johns Hopkins University, and a BS in Architectural Engineering from Sanaa University in Yemen.
Dr. Elobaid is currently working with the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) as a Senior Advisor on the Human Rights of Migrant Workers with focus on the GCC countries. He served as a Representative of OHCHR for Yemen (2017 -2020) and a founding Head of the United Nations Human Rights Training and Documentation Centre for South-west Asia and the Arab Region (2011 -2017). He holds a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Khartoum, a Master’s Degree from the University of Saskatchewan, Canada, and a PhD in International Law of Human Rights from McGill University in Canada. His doctoral thesis focused on the relationship between human rights and cultural diversity in Muslim Africa. He worked as a lawyer in the Sudanese Foreign Ministry, and he also taught international law of human rights, international protection of minorities, public international law, and Islamic law at McGill University before joining the United Nations in 2004. Moreover, he also worked as an Expert/Advisor on Governance and Legal and Judicial Reform for the Canadian Government (CIDA), the United Nations, the US Government (USAID) and various other institutions in relation to Yemen, Ethiopia, Sudan, Morocco, Mali, Niger, Rwanda, the GCC countries, etc.
Former Minister of Media in Yemen
Dr Nadia A. Al Sakkaf (@nadiasakkaf) is one of the renowned independent Yemeni female leaders in the media and development sectors as well as in the democratic and political transition processes of Yemen in the last ten years. Post availing a PhD in Political Sciences from Reading University in the UK, Al-Sakkaf works now as a political and developmental researcher, specialising in gender policies in Yemen.
In 2015 she established and chaired the High Relief Committee as the Yemeni government’s main body responsible for supervising and coordinating humanitarian aid to Yemen. She was the first Yemeni female Minister of Information in the Government of competencies in 2014 and before that she participated in a number of high-level political committees on Yemeni transition period under the Gulf initiative.
She was the Chief Editor of the Yemen Times Media Establishment for about 10 years since 2005, and in 2009 co-founded Yemen 21 Century Forum, a developmental non-governmental organisation specialised in women’s and youth empowerment as well as media freedoms and professionalism. During her career, Dr. Al-Sakkaf won many international and local awards, such as the Business for Peace Award from the Business for Peace Foundation in Oslo, Norway, the Free Media Pioneers Award from the International Press Institute in Vienna- Austria, and she was the first recipient of Gebran Tueni Award for courageous and independent editors and publishers presented from the WAN-IFRA and Annahar Foundation. She was also recognised by the BBC as one of 100 Women who changed the world. She was also chosen by the World Economic Forum as one of 2015 distinguished Young Global Leaders.
Al-Sakkaf published extensively in the fields of politics, media, and development. She has many policy, research papers, and book chapters, and has authored two books on Yemeni women’s empowerment. She also published a book collection on the experiences of Yemeni women as electoral candidates available in Arabic and English. Some of her work can be found in her research page and LinkedIn profile. Her TED Talk Yemen through my eyes, is one of the most known videos on Yemen as it was translated to 34 languages and had over half a million views. She is a member of several local and international platforms such as the Yemeni Journalists Syndicate, Women Without Borders, and Women’s Islamic initiative in Spirituality and Equality.
Yasameen Al-Nadheri (@YNadheri) is the Executive Director of the Peace Track Initiative and a founding member of the Women Solidarity Network. She is also the Program Representative of PartnersGlobal in Jordan liaising with the UN Special Envoy to Yemen to support the peace process. Yasameen is leading Track II consultations on security and military arrangements, as well as, national reconciliation.
Al-Nadheri is an expert in gender, peace, and security policies. Through the Peace Track Initiative, Yasameen is working on creating a space for women’s participation in the peacebuilding process. Yasameen led the Peace Track Initiative women civil society delegation who participated on the sidelines of Geneva Peace Consultations for Yemen in September 2018.
She has worked for more than 11 years with international organizations and in the private sector in the development field, including with GIZ, MDM France, and Occidental Petroleum of Yemen, in Yemen, Jordan, and Germany. She is also a public speaker and have engaged in public speaking with the Nobel Peace Center with Oslo Women Initiative and with UN Women in the Geneva Peace Week. Yasameen has recently joined YouMatch as a Facilitator for a Community of Practice working on Labour Market Information System with a network of 90 experts from ETF,UFM,AUC and others.
Arwa Al-Eryani acquired her bachelor degree in Psychology and social studies from Ibb University, Yemen. Being the top of her class during all four years of studies, she was appointed accordingly as a teaching assistant.
Mrs. Al-Eryani has attended several credited courses such as; The Wellbeing, Positive Psychiatry and Mental Health, Teaching and Assessing Clinical Skills, Creative Thinking, and Psychological First Aid, from Yale University, The University of Sydney, The University of Michigan, Imperial College London, and Johns Hopkins University respectively.
Besides her six years of working as a teaching assistant at Ibb University, Arwa volunteered at the same time on displacement camps, hospitals, prisons and schools during the civil war in several cities, encountering daily uncounted cases related to women abuse, children abused, and human rights violations. All that made her move her Focus gradually more towards Feminism, peace, human rights and human security issues worldwide. Her journey on this field continued until this day, hoping that her efforts and the efforts of those who walk on the same paths are making a difference to build a better Yemen, and a better world step by step.
Rasha Jarhum (@RashaJarhum) is a South Yemeni. Jarhum is co-founder and Director of the Peace Track Initiative, hosted at the Human Rights Research and Education Centre, at Ottawa University.
Through the Peace Track Initiative work, Jarhum has been supporting inclusion of women in the peace process, including by sending women’s independent delegations to UN led and KSA led peace processes, leading Track II diplomacy consultations with women groups, as well as, working to protect women human rights defenders in Yemen. She has led efforts to draft the Yemeni National Agenda for Women, Peace, and Security and led civil society consultations for supporting the development of the National Action Plan for Implementing UNSC 1325 resolution in Yemen.
She is a Gender, Peace, and Security Expert. She has more than 15 years’ experience working to advocate women’s, children’s and refugees’ rights with many organisations including Oxfam, UNICEF, ESCWA, UNDP, and JICA, in Yemen and the Middle East and North Africa region. Jarhum was invited among seven women by the UN Special Envoy to Yemen to support the peace talks held in Kuwait in 2016 and has briefed the UN Security Council on Yemen and Women’s Rights to push for peace. She is an alumni of the Executive in Residence Fellow at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP). She is also a 2016 New Voices Aspen fellow at Aspen Institute, USA.
Jarhum holds a master’s degree from the University of Nottingham, in International Business Management. Jarhum is an award winner of the Women Have Wings Award (2016) and Women Rebels Against War: Anita Augspurg Prize (2019).