Feministing Foreign Policy – A Global Conversation Comes to Ottawa

September 12, 2015
Background media: These Nobel Laureates advocate for women's rights.

On September 15, 2015, three Nobel peace laureates joined Canadian women thought-leaders in Ottawa for an inspiring pre-federal election conversation on the potential for feminist ideas and approaches to transform foreign policy. 

This free event  was organized by the Nobel Women’s Initiative, Oxfam Canada, Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights and the Up for Debate campaign and hosted at Library and archives Canada, 395 Wellington St. 

Keynote speakers included Nobel Peace Laureates Shirin Ebadi (Iran), Mairead Maguire (Northern Ireland), and Jody Williams (USA); as well as Joanna Kerr, Executive Director of Greenpeace Canada; Monia Mazigh, National Coordinator of the International Monitoring Group; and Leilani Farha, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on adequate housing. Ottawa-Centre candidates were also present to offer their reflections on the discussion. 

For interview requests with the laureates or event spokespeople, please contact Rosella Chibambo at tel: (613) 899-1623, or   or Melanie Gallant at tel: (613) 858-2658, or mail to .

About the keynote speakers: 

Jody Williams
Nobel Peace Laureate, Chair of the Nobel Women’s Initiative, USA 
Jody Williams received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997 for her work to ban antipersonnel landmines through the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL). She is an outspoken peace activist who struggles to reclaim the real meaning of peace—a concept which goes far beyond the absence of armed conflict and is defined by human security, not national security. Since January of 2006, Jody Williams has worked to achieve her peace work through the Nobel Women’s Initiative. Her memoir My Name is Jody Williams: A Vermont Girl's Winding Path to the Nobel Peace Prize was published by the University of California in March 2013.    
Mairead Maguire
Mairead Maguire
Nobel Peace Laureate, Nobel Women’s Initiative, Northern Ireland 
Mairead Maguire received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1976 for her extraordinary actions to end the political conflict in Northern Ireland. Together with Betty Williams, she organized massive peace demonstrations and founded Peace People, a movement committed to building a just and peaceful society through nonviolent social action. Since receiving the Nobel Peace prize, she has dedicated her life to promoting peace both in Northern Ireland and around the world. She travels regularly to Israel and Palestine to work with peace activists for nonviolent solutions to the conflict.    

Shirin Ebadi
Shirin Ebadi
Nobel Peace Laureate, Nobel Women’s Initiative, Iran / United Kingdom 
Shirin Ebadi received the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts to promote human rights in Iran. She is the first Muslim woman to receive the Nobel Peace prize.  Shirin was one of the first female judges in Iran and the first Iranian woman to achieve Chief Justice status. She was dismissed from this position after the Islamic Revolution in 1979.  Since obtaining her lawyer's license in 1992, Shirin has taken on many controversial cases defending political dissidents and as a result has been arrested numerous times.  She has written two books and has also established many non-governmental organizations in Iran.    
Tawakkol Karman
Tawakkol Karman
Nobel Peace Laureate, Nobel Women’s Initiative, Yemen 
Tawakkol Karman was awarded the Nobel Peace prize in 2011 in recognition of her work in nonviolent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peacebuilding work in Yemen. Among Yemen’s opposition movement, she is known as “mother of the revolution” and “the iron woman.” Upon being awarded the prize, Tawakkol became the first Yemeni, the first Arab woman, and the second Muslim woman to win a Nobel Peace prize.

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