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Gender Training for Iraqi Academics and Researchers

IWSAW has successfully completed its project on Gender Training for Iraqi Academics and Researchers, funded by the Open Institute Society and implemented in collaboration with SOAS Centre for Gender Studies, University of London, and the Women and Memory Forum, Egypt.

The enterprise aimed to build the capacity of Iraqi researcher in the areas of women and gender studies in order to:
- Improve the quality of higher education in contemporary Iraq
- Increase research capacity relevant for civil society activism linked to women’s rights and gender equality.

The project focused on developing the research writing skills of 19 Iraqi researchers (Baghdad and Erbil) on how to undertake research projects on women and gender studies. During phase I of the project, the 19 researchers underwent intensive training in Beirut-Lebanon, whereby they had the chance to be exposed to recent regional and international research in the field. The project developed the participants’ awareness of gender-related issues, concepts, and methodologies which allowed them to tackle hitherto unknown and unique topics in their research papers relevant to the current Iraqi context. It also provided regional knowledge and skill transfer between Egyptian, Lebanese and UK-based trainers.

In May 2013, the Iraqi researchers gathered again, in Erbil with the two leading trainers (Dr. Dima Dabbous, Editor-in-Chief of Al-Raida & Dr. Nadje Al-Ali, Professor of Gender Studies, Centre for Gender Studies, SOAS, University of London). During the two day workshop, Dr. Dabbous and Dr. Al-Ali gave extensive feedback on the research papers that the participants worked on after their training in Beirut. Following the workshop, the researchers were asked to continue working on their research papers in order to submit a final draft by the end of the project.

It is important to note that completing these research papers has been a very challenging endeavor to all the researchers. They all managed to complete their research papers despite very difficult security circumstances. Due to the deterioration of the security situation in Iraq, some researchers suffered the loss of the lives of close family members and friends while others were forced to move to other safer neighborhoods.