Three Young Refugee Women Share Their Inspirational Stories at the BKMC

A multimedia event on “Global Citizenship in a Time of War” organized by Heather Wokusch, an educator who works in the field of women and youth empowerment through education and promotes the SDGs, was hosted at the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens on September 27th, 2018. Having gained international attention while addressing the plight of refugees, three young refugee women shared their experiences and inspirational stories during the event.
  • Nour Barakeh: With a background spanning scientific studies and artistic work, she supports the establishment of sustainable educational projects focused on empowering people to transcend the effects of war. She wrote a theater piece “Not Our Fate” that has been recently performed at European Forum Alpbach as well as at the Weltmuseum Wien hosted by Österreichisches Parlament. She also acted in the play herself.
  • Dooa Al Zamel: She is one of a few survivals from crossing the dangerous #sea from Syria to Europe relying on a boat filled with hundreds of migrants most of whom were killed when attackers sank the vessel. While surviving days alone at sea, Al Zamel also saved the life of an infant and became the subject of a best-selling book “A Hope More Powerful Than the Sea.”
  • Suad Mohamed: From Somalia, she has lived in Saudi Arabia, Syria, Pakistan, and Austria. She speaks five languages and is currently learning her sixth: German. As a pharmacist, Mohamed works as an Assistant Consultant in the Österreichisches Rotes Kreuz and as an interpreter at Diakonie Österreich. Her aims are to spread awareness about refugee and migration issues, to improve the healthcare and pharmaceutical systems in developing countries, and to empower women.
An excerpt of the video “Escape from Syria: Rania’s Odyssey” was screened during the event to show a journey of Rania Mustafa Ali who filmed her flee from Syria to Austria. On the way, Ali was cheated by smugglers, teargassed and beaten at the Macedonian border. She also risked drowning in the Mediterranean, travelling in a boat meant to hold 15 people but stuffed with 52. Mustafa was also supposed to deliver keynote at the Centre’s event but could not make it due to unexpected flight issues. BKMC CEO Monika Froehler delivered welcome remarks and also facilitated a Q&A session. Guests from various different sectors such as media, international organization, NGO, etc actively involved themselves in the conversations on the refugee crisis and sought for ways to solve the global issue and to empower those in need of help. A ‘female empowerment’ segment of a video filmed during the European Forum Alpbach capturing “Not Our Fate” was also screened and touched the audience. Watch the full video of Rania’s Odyssey here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EDHwt-ooAi4

BKM Centre Board members featured at breakout sessions during EFA 2018

Some of the Board members of the Ban Ki-moon Centre were featured with other world leaders and experts at different breakout sessions of the political symposium during European Forum Alpbach 2018 on August 26, 2018. A session co-hosted by the Centre and Austrian Development Agency (ADA) had a discussion focused on “Women and Youth Empowerment – the Sustainable Development Goals in Practice.” The featured panelists were:
  • Márcia Balisciano, Director of Corporate Responsibility, RELX Group in London
  • Michael Sheldrick, Global Director of Policy and Advocacy, Global Poverty Project, Global Citizen in New York
  • Karin Kneissl, Austrian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Österreichisches Außenministerium
  • Martin Ledolter, Managing Director, ADA
  • Nour Barakeh, a youth representative
Other youth representatives including a Syrian refugee, Doaa Al Zamel, also presented their thoughts during the panel discussion. The panelists listened to their concerns and ideas regarding various social issues and proactively shared their expertise. The live-streamed videos of this session can be found on the Centre’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Another breakout session was hosted by Bertelsmann Stiftung and Environment Agency Austria with the topic on “Implementing the SDGs: the challenges countries face and the solutions they offer.” During this session, BKM Centre Co-chair Ban Ki-moon gave comments and the featured panelists were:
  • Aart Jan De Geus, Chairman and CEO, Bertelsmann Stiftung in Gütersloh
  • Christian Kroll, Senior Expert, Bertelsmann Stiftung in Gütersloh
  • Susan Myers, Senior Vice President, UN Foundation in New York
  • Monika Mörth, Managing Director, Environment Agency Austria in Vienna
  • Herbert Ritsch, Director of Business Ethics, Bankhaus Schelhammer & Schattera AG in Vienna
  • Jeffrey Sachs, Director of SDSN and the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University, Professor of Economics; Special Adviser to the UNSG on SDGs; Bestselling Author; Syndicated Columnist based in New York