The U.S. State Department has awarded
Project a 15-month grant to establish a women's leadership
development program in postwar Iraq.
Launched on Sept. 1, the program, Preparing Iraqi
Women as Leaders, Advocates and Participants in the
Political Process, aims to prepare Iraqi women for
leadership roles by first informing them about their rights
and then giving them the tools and skills to become
The program underscores the U.S. government's interest
in the equal participation of women in the region," said
Mohamed Mattar, co-director of the Protection Project.
"Activities reflect the understanding that women's
participation is crucial to a successful and fair
democratic process in the new Iraq."
The Protection Project currently coordinates with
Iraqi nongovernmental organizations to promote women's
rights in the educational and legal systems and in the
media. Staff members are collecting and translating into
Arabic various documents pertaining to human rights,
including comparative Middle East constitutions,
international conventions and covenants on women's rights.
The project also is researching and developing school
curricula incorporating women's issues, organizing
workshops and training seminars, and creating contact
databases throughout the Middle East to promote
Mattar and colleague Ashraf Faramawi will travel to
Baghdad for two weeks in December to conduct the first of a
series of training sessions targeted to a variety of
constituencies, including Iraqi human rights and women's
rights NGOs, local women's groups, female university
professors and female secondary school teachers and
students, as well as university and school administrators.
Topics to be covered will range from democracy and
elections to advocacy and effective leadership.
The Protection Project also will conduct training,
community forums and workshops for local women to learn
about their rights and voting procedures in upcoming
Based since 1999 at SAIS's
Foreign Policy Institute, the Protection Project is a
human rights research institute established in 1994 to
address the issue of trafficking in persons as a human
rights violation. The project also focuses on promoting
universal human rights values throughout the world through
academic research and by conducting training, exchanges and