Week 3

Wednesday, November 6, 2013
4:15-5:45 p.m.
Hauser Conference Room (Belfer Building, ground floor, room B-L-4)

Study Group

The Global Movement to
End Violence Against Women


Frontlines Case Study 1:
Sexual Violence in the New Somalia.

Fartun Adan and Ilwad Elman, co-founders of Sister Somalia, the first sexual violence crisis center in Mogadishu.

About the Session:

Suggested Readings:

More about the presenters:

Fartun Abdisalan Adan, Somali peace and human rights advocate; Co-founder of Sister Somalia, the first rape survivor support program in Mogadishu; Director of Elman Peace and Human Rights Centre in Mogadishu; Chair, Mogadishu’s Gender Based Violence Case Management Group; 2013 U.S. Department of State International Woman of Courage Award Recipient. In 1996, the human rights work with child soldiers that Adan had shared with her husband abruptly ended when he was assassinated by warlords who were unhappy with his peace-making efforts. Adan escaped to Canada to raise her three young daughters. In 2007, when her girls were old enough to live on their own, she returned to Mogadishu to continue her human rights work and run the organization her husband founded. Adan is often sought out by international media as an expert on gender based violence issues in Somalia. Quote: “Nothing is going to change unless someone is willing to die.”

Ilwad Elman runs the Elman Peace and Human Rights Center in Mogadishu with her mother, Fartun Adan. Her father was an ardent peace activist in the 1990s, spreading the mantra “Put down the gun, pick up the pen” around Somalia, but was assassinated in 1996. Ilwad returned to Mogadishu while the conflict still raged on in the city, to aid her mother with her humanitarian mission. She works closely with survivors of rape and other forms of gender based violence, as well as the rehabilitation of child soldiers by teaching them vocational skills for socio-economic empowerment and reintegration. Born in Mogadishu, Somalia and raised in Ottawa, Canada; Ilwad lived a simple, comfortable and safe life, which she chose to give up, to pursue her passion.