ICAN's Annual Forum

“ICAN connects women peace and rights practitioners across countries and regions to break their isolation and ensure they value and learn from each other’s experiences and expertise.”

Sanam Naraghi-Anderlini

ICAN’s 8th Annual Women, Peace and Security Forum

Securing the Gains and Strategizing the Future of the Global Women-led Movement for Inclusive Peace and Security

November 2019  –  Oslo, Norway

In November 2019, ICAN hosted its 8th annual Women, Peace and Security forum which brought together the growing membership of the Women’s Alliance for Security Leadership (WASL) from over 38 countries and other key international actors with Norwegian civil society and policymakers. The 4-day event focused on situational and trends analysis regarding the threat of violent extremism and conflict, as well as lessons sharing regarding effective strategies and tactics to mitigate violence and promote peace, rights and security at the local level.

This was also an opportunity to assess the importance of establishing laws and governance structures to act as a bulwark against the current trends of rising authoritarianism and extremism. 

No matter the geographical boundaries, women come together through ICAN to challenge the status quo of radicalization.

Visaka Dharmadasa, Sri Lanka

ICAN gave me an open, healthy space to talk about issues that otherwise cannot be discussed freely, notably feminism and extremism.”

Lucy Talgieh, Palestine

Every time I attend an ICAN forum, I gain more confidence and courage. Women exchange experiences and knowledge, and give each other support.

Fatima Al-Bahadly, Iraq

ICAN forum is a place where we can come as local organizations to listen to the real voice coming from local communities, to share ideas and understanding of what is happening around us because it is all connected.

Ghada Rifai, Syria

“ICAN gave me exposure, and a platform where I met so many women and then I came to know that we share the same stories and we have the same experiences.

Bushra Qadeem Hyder, Pakistan

“I truly believe that a small group, like ICAN, of very committed women, can get the message across that there is not going to be a sustainable solution to extremism without including women”

Senator Mobina Jaffer

Past Forums

ICAN’s 7th Annual Women, Peace and Security Forum

Locally Rooted, Globally Connected

“Harnessing the Collective Power of Women’s Leadership in Preventing Violent Extremism and Promoting Sustainable Peace”

November 2018  –  Colombo, Sri Lanka

ICAN’s 7th annual Women, Peace and Security Forum brought together more than 80 women from over 35 countries actively involved in countering violence and extremism by promoting peace, resilience, equality and pluralism (PREP). Many are among the founding members of the Women’s Alliance for Security Leadership (WASL) that ICAN spearheads.

Under the overarching theme of “Harnessing the Collective Power of Women’s Leadership” ICAN’s 2018 Forum was dedicated to sharing experiences, tactics, lessons and prospective ideas for deepening these strategic alliances.

ICAN’s 6th Annual Women, Peace and Security Forum

“From Extreme Violence to Violent Extremism: Women’s Strategic Engagements to Provide Positive Sustainable Solutions”.

November 2017  –  Rabat, Morocco

ICAN’s 6th annual forum gathered women peacebuilders and human rights defenders from more than 25 countries to improve social cohesion, promote peace and address violence. The forum focused on how women-led civil society actors establish strategic working relationships with other key sectors at community, national and international levels to enhance their impact and sustain the space for independent civil society.

We also marked the 2nd anniversary of the founding of the Women’s Alliance for Security Leadership (WASL), with attention to our collective achievements to date, the added value of the alliance as a mechanism for collaboration, and our future aspirations.

ICAN’s 5th Annual What the Women Say Forum

“Preventing Extremism by Promoting Rights, Peace and Pluralism”

November 2016  –  Colombo, Sri Lanka

The 2016 forum theme of Preventing Extremism by Promoting Rights, Peace and Pluralism explored how women and women-led organizations are developing tools and methods to tackle the rise of intolerance, extremist ideology and violence through formal and informal education and training processes, using media, communal dialogue and other means.

Read the Concept Note

The information and analysis was collated to develop a report to inform the WASL Global Solutions Exchange (GSX) Working Group on Education.

Read the Education, Identity and Rising Extremism Report

ICAN’s 4th Annual MENA/Asia Women’s Rights, Peace and Security Forum

     “Challenging Extremism and Militarism: Promoting Rights, Pluralism and Peace”

November 2015  –  Istanbul, Turkey

During ICAN’s 4th Annual Forum participants shared experiences and explored best practices and next steps regarding inclusive peace processes and mediation, countering violent extremism and promoting pluralism, and support for women’s rights, peace, and human security more broadly.

The previous year, women human rights defenders, peace activists and women’s rights advocates have faced incomprehensible challenges, including politically and religiously motivated violence and extremism as well as extreme economic hardships directly targeting women and girls

The information and experiences were outlined in the Women’s Alliance for Security Leadership “Uncomfortable Truths, Unconventional Wisdom” report on Security.

Click here to read WASL’s Brief

“ICAN has given me the opportunity to meet women from different parts of the world. Sharing experiences is important because it enlightens our minds and brings hope to the hopeless.

Khedija Arfaoui, Tunisia

ICAN gives me a network and a platform to share and learn. We need to speak from all corners of the world, in one voice.”

Sureya Roble, Kenya

“ICAN provided me with new insights, not only on women’s issues, but also on the tactics and tools we can pursue in dealing with the issues of extremism.

Shehrazad Maghrabi, Libya

“ICAN brings together women that have worked with extremist groups and within very violent conflicts. I want to learn new strategies, particularly to prevent an escalation of what is happening in my country .

Robinah Rubimbwa, Uganda

ICAN’s 3rd Annual MENA/Asia Women’s Rights, Peace and Security Forum

     “Challenging Extremism and Militarism: Women Standing up for Rights, Peace and Plurality”

November 2014  – Şile, Turkey

In its third year, ICAN’s forum explored behind the media headlines to unveil the gender dimensions of conflict across the region, highlighting how women and women’s rights groups are addressing extremism and militarism. 60 women representing 13 countries in the Middle East, North Africa and Asia – including scholars, journalists, NGO leaders, educators and others – came together with international partners to take stock of developments and strategize ideas and solutions for combating extremism and militarism and promoting peace. Together they adopted a common statement and devised national vision and priorities for their respective countries.

Click here for the statement and the country-specific statements

Watch the video

ICAN’s 2nd Annual MENA/Asia Women’s Rights, Peace and Security Forum

     “Building Movements, Promoting Plurality”

October 2013  – Istanbul, Turkey

More than 60 women’s rights and peace activists from the MENA/Asia region representing 14 countries,  and a select group of international NGOs representatives and policymakers came together In Istanbul for ICAN’s 2nd Annual MENA/Asia Regional Women’s Rights, Peace and Security Forum.

During the event, the NGO representatives highlighted: (1) The atmosphere is becoming more sectarian, bringing with it a backlash against women’s rights and rising security concerns for female activists; (2) Women activists are bridging sectarian divides, by using a variety of approaches to promote peace and rights, and create new discourses to address sensitive social issues; (3) Women’s movements are re-thinking their strategies and partnerships as they confront emerging threats against women’s rights in their countries and regions.

ICAN’s 1st Regional Forum on Women’s Rights, Peace and Security

     “Voice and Vision: What the Women Say”

September 2012  – Istanbul, Turkey

In September 2012 the International Civil Society Action Network (ICAN) convened the first regional “What the Women Say” MENA/South Asia Forum on Rights, Peace and Security with nearly 50 women representing 12 countries in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia region, with international partners.

This group of peace and women’s rights experts, practitioners, activists and scholars met over a four-day period to draw on the framework provided by UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security to compare and contrast the fast-paced changes in the region. Their discussions included country situations analyses with attention to the gender dimensions of root causes and evolving political, economic, security, religious and socio-cultural trends; the threats and opportunities facing women’s movements; and the gendered dimensions of key transitional issues notably, legal and constitutional processes, transitional justice, security sector and economic reform.

Read the report

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