Montreal: Symposium Women and Democracy in Middle East

Saturday, September 25, 1993 - 09:00 - 18:00

Organized by Alternatives, the conference Women and Democracy in the Middle East was held on Saturday, September 25th, 1993, at Concordia University in Montreal. About 150 people, mostly women, attended the daylong seminar. Among those present were members of solidarity and international cooperation associations, human rights movements, unions, student associations, and lots of immigrants from the Middle East and the Arab world, and other cultural communities.

In the context of the recent Gulf War, the symposium addressed the impact of the conflict on Arab civil society, especially women. The importance of their empowerment in the fight for democratic and social rights was also stressed. Four speakers with diverse experiences were present:

  • Dr Suad Joseph (Lebanon-US), to discuss citizenship, human rights and democracy in Arab countries;
  • Dr Fatma Khafagy (Egypt), who talked the audience about the economic crisis and fundamentalist movements;
  • Dr Suha Hindiyeh-Mani (Palestinian occupied territories), to discuss the issues of Palestinian women's movement in the new political context;
  • Hadas Lahav-(Israel), to address the role of Israeli women in the Middle East peace process.

After the presentations, the participants presented a summary of the day, before letting space for a exchange and questions period designed to facilitate the participation of the audience.