Webinar: Ten Years After the Humanitarian Law Project Decision – Fixing the Damage

The event, held on 19 June 2020, was hosted by Charity & Security Network. On June 21, 2010 the Supreme Court ruled against the Humanitarian Law Project in a case that effectively expanded the criminal prohibition on providing material support to terrorism to include many peacebuilding activities. The HLP decision has severely limited the potential for peace processes and conflict reduction around the world. In this webinar we explore what the decision said (and did not say), review the impacts on the ground and look to the future and what needs to be done to fix the damage. 

Stacey Schamber, Senior Program Officer at ICAN appeared as a panellist on this event.  Click to watch the recording 


Key Quotes from ICAN

“Peacebuilders by nature are convening all stakeholders, bringing them to the table and trying to reweave the social fabric of societies.”

 Stacey Schamber

“Our partners are frontline responders – detecting early warning signs and working to prevent and counter extremisms. With their access and trust in their communities they are well-positioned to understand the cultural aspects, build counter narratives and take a holistic approach.”

 Stacey Schamber

Other Key Quotes from the Event

“It was a really low point in our history in terms of the application and principle of ‘guilt by association’.”

David Cole on the criminalization of Communist association at the height of McCarthyism

“It sets up a dangerous precedent, which is that laws which criminalize speech that are advocating lawful activity, can be upheld by the Supreme Court.”

– David Cole on the Supreme Court ruling against HPL

“Counter terrorism laws have not kept pace with evolving challenges.”

Liz Hume

“One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter so the very designation of a group is a political act, inherently subject to biased enforcement.”

– David Cole

Oxford Society for International Development Podcast: Women in Peacemaking 

On 17 June 2020 Sanam Naraghi Anderlini, ICAN Founder and CEO, was interviewed by Mia Simovic for the Oxford Society of International Development podcast.  In the podcast Sanam discusses the role of women in peace-making, explores the problems with current models of peace-building and considers ways to re-evaluate the voices at the negotiations. The episode applies a gender-lens to the Covid-19 crisis, and investigates the impacts of the pandemic on extremism, xenophobia and human rights.

 Click to listen to the recording. 

Key Quotes from ICAN

“When your own country has had an internal crisis that is not resolved, every decade of your life you feel it in a different way.”

 Sanam Naraghi Anderlini (0:02)

“Conflict creates binary worlds; to be the person who steps out of their own community, to see who the other side is to, talk to them and find a human and non-violent solution to the problem, takes a lot of courage.”

 Sanam Naraghi Anderlini (0:04)

“I call what we do ‘investing in trust.’ They are trusted at the local level; I trust them and their judgement about what they think is necessary now. It’s really about channelling resources so they can do their work effectively on the ground.”

 Sanam Naraghi Anderlini (0:08)

“The language and terminology of power sharing is in itself very damaging. Why don’t we flip it and talk about responsibility sharing. It’s a reframing of the use of language and terminology which is an important way of reimagining what these negotiations should be about.”

 Sanam Naraghi Anderlini (0:09)

“To build peace you need to reweave the social fabric of the society and to do that you need people who understand what that is.”

 Sanam Naraghi Anderlini (0:13)

“Why and how it is that we get a percentage of predominantly men not having the coping skills or the ability to express their own frustration, depression, and anger in any other way other than violence?”

 Sanam Naraghi Anderlini (0:21)

“Identity based-extremism is a phenomenon that we are dealing with right now in our world, these are movements that elevate one form of identity above the others.”

 Sanam Naraghi Anderlini (0:25)

“Our diversity is beautiful and the pluralism is beautiful, but we are also unified.”

 Sanam Naraghi Anderlini (0:32)

“I do think that the big shift that has to be made is the recognition that our job as [international] organizations really is to build, strengthen, and sustain the local organizations, so they can operate independently.”

 Sanam Naraghi Anderlini (0:36)

“We need to shift away from this very militarized notion of national security which has dominated our lives since 9/11 and go towards a much broader sense of human security.”

 Sanam Naraghi Anderlini (0:37)

Resilience: Solutions For a More Peaceful World: A Conversation with Sanam Naraghi Anderlini

On 10 June 2020 Sanam Naraghi Anderlini, ICAN Founder and CEO, appeared on Episode 5 of Resilience, a series of conversations featuring experts and leaders from different professional backgrounds, hosted by Scott Weber, President of Interpeace. The purpose of these conversations is to understand the role that individuals, communities, institutions and our leaders can play in building trust and a more peaceful world. Click to watch the recording

Key Quotes from ICAN

The Women, Peace and Security Agenda brings the human face of war, not just the face of women but the face of men and children and the heterogeneity of our societies – as people who are affected by war”

 Sanam Naraghi Anderlini (0:02)

“At the places and in the rooms where war and peace are being negotiated and where the future is being determined we want to open those doors up. Not just political and military leaders but where non-state, unarmed actors should have their rightful place at the table”

 Sanam Naraghi Anderlini (0:02)

“The way we think about war is still interstate, but that nature of warfare doesn’t exist. Since the end of the cold war, what we have seen is civil wars which by definition brings war into the communities and brings it into the home”

 Sanam Naraghi Anderlini (0:04)

“Women have been at the community level doing extraordinary work of peacebuilding but it is the decision makers that are setting the future and the constitution and if we don’t have peacebuilders at those tables all the work at the local level can be destroyed”

 Sanam Naraghi Anderlini (0:04)

“We need the guys with the guns – they are the problem and they are also part of the solution but they have no understanding of peaceful engagement or what peace means. If we want peace, we need to have peace actors”

 Sanam Naraghi Anderlini (0:06)

“Not all women become peacebuilders, to become a peacebuilder is a dangerous and courageous act. You are putting your own life in the middle and you are at risk of alienating yourself from your own community by reaching out to the other side and trying to find their humanity”

 Sanam Naraghi Anderlini (0:06)

“Through women we get to hear the voices and the pain and the trauma of everybody”

 Sanam Naraghi Anderlini (0:09)

“In any crisis setting there are spikes in violence against women. While some of it is opportunistic, all of it is deeply gendered. The fact that it is happening all around the world – from France to Cameroon – means that it is not cultural but instead has something to do with how we bring up men and boys and inherent sexist attitudes which exist across societies around how you can treat women”

 Sanam Naraghi Anderlini (0:13)

“Gender-based violence is so often framed as a women’s issue but we need men to talk to men and be part of the conversation. We need to have deeper conversations about manhood and masculinity with space for men to talk about their fears and insecurities”  

 Sanam Naraghi Anderlini (0:15)

“The big debate that needs to happen is on national security – what does it mean to you and your life and is that matched with where the resources are going?”

 Sanam Naraghi Anderlini (0:22)

“What we are experiencing in the United States right now is the rise of white supremacy – identity based violent extremism that has often just been framed as jihadis but is happening in our own context with neo-fascism. “Identity based extremism – in whatever context has three things in common – racism, sexism and homophobia”

 Sanam Naraghi Anderlini (0:23)

“Millions of women have marched on the streets of DC and never had this level of military presence because there is an assumption that they are not going to be violent. The same is true with gay pride. The minute it becomes about black lives the underlying assumption is that there is going to be violence – that’s the essence of the discrimination. Those of us who have the privilege of benefiting from good policing need to speak out about this and need to be there.”

 Sanam Naraghi Anderlini (0:27)

Other Key Quotes from the Event

“We often see that those who are at the [negoitating] table are there because they were actors of violence – in French called ‘le prix de ma violence’ – the reward for being violent gets you a seat at the table”

Scott Weber (0:05)

Sanam Naraghi Anderlini, ICAN Founder and CEO appeared as a panellist on this event.  Click to watch the recording 


  • Dr Fatima Akilu, Executive Director of Neem Foundation, Nigeria and WASL partner
  • Professor Mia Bloom, Author, Professor of Communication at Georgia State University, expert on violent extremism, terrorist recruitment and propaganda and WASL partner 
  • Dr Noor Huda Ismail, Founder of the Institute for International Peace Building in Indonesia
  • Dr Cathrine Thorleifsson, Researcher at the Centre for Research on Extremism at the University of Oslo

Chair: Dr Alexandra Phelan, Lecturer in Politics and International Relations and Deputy Director of Monash Gender, Peace and Security Centre

Key Quotes from ICAN

“In slums and impoverished areas neither men nor women are seeing the benefits of development aid. You get a vacuum of social services, education, health care, good policing – basic state services which aren’t present. Then different entities come with an ideology and provide those services”

 Sanam Naraghi Anderlini (0:07)

“When you layer COVID with mistrust of the state and the absence of services, extremists come and fill the voids”

 Sanam Naraghi Anderlini (0:08)

“These extremists groups have a global vision but are localised. The reasons we see so many parallels is because they are all essentially identity-based, they elevate one single identity over others therefore enabling and fermenting racism towards minorities. They also have very binary forms of gender with misogynistic ideas at the centre of all of these movements”

 Sanam Naraghi Anderlini (0:22)

“Women peacebuilders were the first responders and the burden of the responsibility they are carrying, with very little resources, is extraordinary. What gives them the access is the trust which they had already”

 Sanam Naraghi Anderlini (0:30)

“When you have civil society working well with the government you have exponentially good impact. When you have government crushing civil society everything gets radicalised and goes underground and you have exponentially negative impacts. We can’t leave women peacebuilders or civil society to do the work on their own without any protection”

 Sanam Naraghi Anderlini (0:31)

“In the US we have an anti-government administration, governing. ‘I can’t breathe’ is a metaphor for the state of American democracy right now”

 Sanam Naraghi Anderlini (0:41)

“The nature of threats are changing and at the height of national insecurity, the institutions which are meant to give us security – the military, the Pentagon – have proven completely useless. We have to reframe how we think about security: health, education and policing – community policing – not a force you are scared of but a service to protect the human rights of people”

 Sanam Naraghi Anderlini (0:42)

“Equality and pluralism become very important in times of crises. In education, in the media, in government and in the police, pluralism has to be reflected and celebrated.”

 Sanam Naraghi Anderlini (1:05)

“I urge everyone to participate in the discourse with questions such as what does security mean for us these days? Are the resources being allocated in the right way? What is the economy for? Is the economy delivering on economic and social rights? If we don’t engage in these debates the opportunists are already shaping an alternative dystopic world for us.”

 Sanam Naraghi Anderlini (1:30)

Other Key Quotes from the Event

“Violent extremist groups have been able to leverage and capitalise on the effects of COVID19”

– Alexandra Phelan (0:01)

“The idea that the state is not transparent about the actual numbers of COVID cases leads to thinking that the state is lying about other things. This opens up space for extremist groups to say ‘you can’t trust the government, we are the only honest brokers’ and at the same time reinvent themselves as service providers.”

– Mia Bloom (0:10)

“Male white supremacists are in general applauding the COVID  pandemic for disproportionately affecting people of colour.”

– Cathrine Thorleifsson (0:13)

“The way ISIS has responded to COVID 19 is not monolithic. What we do know is that a specific cluster of communities will be newly recruited terrorists”

Noor Huda Ismail (0:17)

“One of the leaders of one of the main Boko Haram factions has put out an audio recording saying ‘COVID 19 is a message from god for all non-believers’ and has tried to undermine the government messaging in terms of social distancing and health protections”

– Fatima Akilu (0:20)

“The similarities between the jihadis and the far-right extremists is so troubling – if you map on the messaging they are practically indistinguishable from each other”

– Mia Bloom (0:40)

“Some would say that cellphone cameras have done more to protect communities of color than any legislation has done in 30 years”

– Mia Bloom (0:59)

Virtual Event: International Day of Action for Women’s Health

On 28 May 2020 Stacey Schamber, Senior Program Officer at ICANappeared as a speaker on this event hosted by the Coast Education Center (COEC), Mombasa, Kenya. Stacey discussed mental health and self-care. The virtual event was held to celebrate International Day of Action for Women’s Health and was moderated by Halima Mohamed, Executive Director COEC and Livingstone Nyando, Executive Director Angaza Enpowerment Network

Other WASL panellists:

  • Muna Luqman, Chairperson of Food For Humanity – Yemen
  • Sureya Roble-Hersi, Executive Director AWAPSA – Kenya
  • Clotilda Andiensa, Coordinator CAGEAD – Cameroon

Other speakers decipted below:

Key Quotes from ICAN

“In order to look after your communities, you must first take care of yourselves – you must make that a priority”

 Stacey Schamber

Other Key Quotes from the Event

“Women pump themselves with painkillers and are in perpetual ill-health. They consistently suffer in silence.”

– Reverend Jane Jilani, Council of Women Clergy Kenya

“Women, and mothers in particular, cannot afford to be sick.”

– Sureya  Roble-Hersi

“In Cameroon we have had armed conflict for the last 5 years, COVID has come and compound all the other problems women are suffering from.”

– Clotilda Andiensa

“International organizations must partner with grassroots because they understand the difficulties and diversities – the needs in the south are different from the needs in the north.”

– Muna Luqman

Olive Branch or Fig Leaf? The Risks and Opportunities of the Global Ceasefire Call in the Time of Corona

Sanam Naraghi Anderlini, ICAN Founder and CEO chaired the event. Click to watch the recording 


  • Siri Aas Rustad, Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO)
  • Rajaa Ataali, Co-Founder and Co-Director for Center for Civil Society and Democracy 
  • Muna Luqman, Co-founder of the Women Solidarity Network and Chairperson of Food For Humanity.
  • Dame Karen Pierce DCMG, British Ambassador to the United States
  • Teresa Whitfield, Director of the UNDPPA

Key Quotes from ICAN

“Belligerent parties don’t want peace actors at the table. Fundamentally if these actors cared about the people they would have stopped the violence.”

 Sanam Naraghi Anderlini

Other Key Quotes from the Event

“The UN has put its moral weight behind a global ceasefire – but the moral expression of intent and interest is not the same as a resolution and the day-to-day work needs to continue

– Dame Karen Pierce

“We are yet to see a change in the design of the peace process, which is essentially a design for two warring parties, with guns. The UN-led peace process is contributing to the violence because groups who feel excluded, take up guns so they are heard, and their needs are met.”

 Muna Luqman

“Achieving a peace agreement virtually, using online platforms would set an example – a way to remember Syria, instead of remembering Syria as the most difficult case and the worst humanitarian crisis since World War Two.”

Rajaa Ataali

“We have a poorly led, poorly designed peace process that is excluding women. Women have built up their credibility, the group of women who fought for the release of 900 political prisoners for example, why weren’t they included in the process?”

– Muna Luqman

“It’s not the lack of will but the question of whether the UN is strong enough to continue to negotiate even when one party in the process turns around and says they aren’t participating because of a particular stipulation, such as women’s participation.”

– Dame Karen Pierce

Preventing Violent Extremism in time of COVID, Ground Realities & Global Responsibilities

On May 12 Sanam Naraghi Anderlini, ICAN Founder and CEO appeared as a panellist on this UNDP hosted event. 

UNDP invited panelists from a range of international organizations, academia and UN entities to share their perspectives on how Covid-19 is influencing P/CVE programming now and beyond the pandemic.

Other panellists included:

  • Dr Francis Kuria, the Secretary General of the African Council of Religious Leaders
  • Dr Lilla Schumicky-Logan, Head of Portfolio Management Unit, GCERF.
  • Ruby Kholifa, Secretary General of The Asian Muslim Action Network (AMAN)
  • Mia Bloom author, Professor of Communication at Georgia State University, and expert on violent extremism, terrorist recruitment and propaganda
  • Jonathan Bright, Senior Research Fellow, Oxford Internet Institute,  Oxford University.
    • Ulrich GarmsUNODC 
    • Dov Lynch, Senior Officer, Office of the Director-General UNESCO
    • Nirina Kiplagat, UNDP Africa PVE Regional Programme
    • Mehdi Knani, UNOCT

    Key Quotes from ICAN

    “The current crisis in violent extremism is in large part due to the fundamental failure of macro-economic policies over the last 40 years. When the state is shrunk & a void is created, radical groups fill the vacuum”

     Sanam Naraghi Anderlini 

    “We have to shift from thinking only that we want to prevent violent extremism – we need to look from the positive side – peace, equality. We want to be promoting and enabling pluralism and to recognise our shared humanity as well as our diversity”

     Sanam Naraghi Anderlini 

    Other Key Quotes from the Event

    “The failure or inability of governments to respond adequately to the pandemic is where we see entities looking at the void and taking the space, one of which being extremist groups”

    – Samuel Rizk

    “Provocative, partisan and inflammatory content fairs well on social media in terms of engagement meaning the junk news sites become the big players and the mainstream sites struggle for attention”

    – Jonathan Bright

    “Extremists are using the distraction of the crisis to increase their support by filling the void left by governments and presenting themselves as a viable alternative. It is the poorest, the IDPs, the refugees who are most susceptible”

    Mia Bloom

    “The COVID 19 crisis has amplified the growing transnational terrorist threat from violent right-wing and supremacist groups. They are using their usual scapegoats to blame for the crisis”

    – Medhi Knani

    “COVID 19 is a multiplier of extreme vulnerability: isolation & marginalisation are increasing, hate speech is rising & economic situations are deeply uncertain. We are seeing a perfect storm for the rise of extremism”

    – Dov Lynch

    Live webinar: Connected or muted? New opportunities for women’s participation in peace processes during the Covid-19 pandemic

    On 6 May 2020 Sanam Naraghi Anderlini, ICAN Founder and CEO appeared as a panellist on this Norway Ministry of Foreign Affairs event.  Click to watch the live recording

    Norway’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Ine Eriksen Søreide invited experts on women’s participation and leadership in peacebuilding and conflict prevention to a dialogue on challenges and opportunities for the participation of women in peace processes in the times of Covid-19. The event was moderated by BBC’s Ms. Lyse Doucet and co-conveyed by Ms. Marita Sørheim-Rensvik, Special Envoy for Women, Peace and Security at the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

    Other panellists included:

    • Mr. Miroslav Jenča, United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Europe, Central Asia and the Americas
    • Mr. Geir O. Pedersen, the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Syria
    • Ms. Mavic Cabrera Balleza, Chief Executive Officer of The Global Network of Women Peacebuilders (GNWP)
    • Ms. Sylvia R. Thompson, leading a mediation and dialogue effort in Yemen for the Crisis Management Initiative (CMI) 

    Key Quotes from ICAN

    “This isn’t about asking women to participate in a process that’s ongoing and they need to run in and catch up. At the moment, on-the-ground where nobody else is present, it is women peace-builders who have been the first responders, who have been out there, not only doing the COVID work but also mediating to get access to medical supplies”

     Sanam Naraghi Anderlini (0:54)

    “My issue with the UN is that it’s idealistic to think we can bring about peace if we only have the war makers at the table. If they wanted peace, they wouldn’t have been bombing their own people. We need them at the table because they need to stop the fighting, but they are not credible to represent the people.”

     Sanam Naraghi Anderlini (0:55)

    “In every international initiative to bring about peace one condition must be that women peacebuilders from that country, with a proven track record in doing the peace work, on the ground, deserve and should be at the table guiding the peace process.”

     Sanam Naraghi Anderlini (0:57)

    “We cannot separate the humanitarian crisis from the political and security crisis; where governments and the international community are absent or weak, extremist movements are engaging the public. If we leave a vacuum, it will be filled by negative actors”

     Sanam Naraghi Anderlini (1:09) 

    “The community level response is so crucial right now because if the international community can’t travel and get people there right now, who is left to address these issues? The local, social capital must be heard and supported”

     Sanam Naraghi Anderlini (1:10)

    “We are so worried about what’s going on in our own backyards that places like Kashmir, where under the cover of COVID and nobody paying attention there are some horrific things being done by a pretty major state. It’s really important that we don’t lose track or lose focus on those big issues whether it’s the Rohingya in Bangladesh and the Myanmar crisis, or Kashmir and the situations with Muslims in India or with the Uighurs in China.  Those things will bubble up and we are going to have even more problems on our hands if we don’t tackle them – and the warning signs are very much there, right now.”

     Sanam Naraghi Anderlini (1:16)

    “If we rush to make peace or powers deals, we essentially leave minorities and women to face the long-term consequences of violence & discrimination.”

     Sanam Naraghi Anderlini (1:27)

    Other Key Quotes from the Event

    “Unless we include women in the whole cycle of mediation, we miss out on opportunities for more sustainable peace”

     Ine Eriksen Søreide (0:13)

    “What we need now more than ever is to unite our efforts. The scale of human tragedy caused by COVID 19 is testing governments and institutions everywhere, but we must safeguard women’s rights and the progress made in the last two decades”

     Miroslav Jenča (0:17)

    “Syrian women are not afraid of taking the floor and they bring up issues that are not only women’s related issues but everything relating to solving the Syrian conflict”

    – Geir O Pedersen (0:32)

    “COVID19 is a conflict multiplier, peace is fragile and our gains are easily reversible”

    – Mavic Balleza (0:41)

    On Yemen’s peace negotiations: “we are trying to adapt and seize the momentum that has been created by COVID 19. In the long-term we may see a greater acceptance for using technology in peace processes, which can facilitate greater inclusion.”

     Sylvia R. Thompson  (1:03)

    “In Syria we are working on the principle that whenever we are having a meeting there should be no less than 30% of women in that meeting”

     Geir O Pedersen (1:13)

    “For peace to be inclusive and sustainable we must ensure we do not limit women’s role at the table”

     Ine Eriksen Søreide (1:24)

    “May we move forward and not back”

     Lyse Doucet (1:30)

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