Young Libyan women advocate for inclusion in conflict resolution and national reconciliation at Brussels event

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14 Feb 2024

Young Libyan women advocate for inclusion in conflict resolution and national reconciliation at Brussels event

BRUSSELS – 14 February – Five young women from various Libyan regions travelled to Brussels as part of UNSMIL’s Ra’idat programme, to engage with European diplomats and discuss the impact of conflict and political instability on the youth of Libya.

In an evening event with 50 diplomats, held in partnership with Young Professionals in Foreign Policy’s Brussels Branch and the Quaker Council for European Affairs, the young women shared their personal experiences and discussed ways they can amplify their voices as crucial contributors to the peacebuilding and national reconciliation process.

“In the discussion I highlighted the challenges and risks facing young women in Libya and explained how important the vision of future was for youth” said Thikray Salih, 26, from Sebha. She described the impact of conflict on her city in the South of Libya, particularly on the Tebu community. Thikray further expressed her gratitude for the connections she formed through Ra’idat programme with fellow participants from all parts of Libya.

Prior to the event, the group had a day of training in the European Union institutions, where they met with the EU Senior Gender Adviser and toured the European Parliament as it prepares for elections in June. Through these interactions, the women discussed the challenges facing female leaders around the world and how best women and young people can be included in peacebuilding processes.

“Looking at the history of Europe and seeing the Berlin Wall fragments and the story of the continent’s crisis and recovery, as well as the kindness, acceptance and tranquility of its streets and buildings, I know now that I can make a change, and that I have to continue advocating for national reconciliation in Libya,” said Shahed El Kharraz, 23 from Misrata. “The strength of women advocating for women's rights was particularly inspiring, reminding me that we are stronger together, even if we don't know each other personally,” she added.

The Ra’idat programme aims to train 30 young women from across Libya each year, supporting them to build their communications, advocacy and leadership skills. It also seeks to increase their understanding of human rights, legal matters and their role in elections.

Nour Ahmed, 24, from Zawiya said she joined the programme to learn how she could “change society's view of women with disabilities, and to understand how to create opportunities for them in all spheres of life.” Nour also highlighted how the programme empowered her to speak with confidence in front of others during the trip and expressed appreciation for engaging with other female leaders from across Europe on managing hate speech directed at women.