October 4th, 2011 16:43 EST
The Global Room for Women Launches 'Courageous Women of Budrus': Live From Palestine!
Budrus is an award-winning documentary film based on the true story of a tiny Palestinian village (by the same name) that successfully led one of the Middle East`s most successful non-violent protests thwarting construction of the Separation Wall through their land. When a women`s contingency moves in, it is led by a 15-year-old girl, Iltezam Morrar, who steps in front of a moving Israeli bulldozer with breathtaking courage. She galvanizes her village women and inspires an international non-violent movement still gaining ground today.
Julia Bacha, Director of Budrus, her co-producers and women activists featured in the film highlight a very important, yet unfortunately overlooked aspect of the process of nonviolent demonstrations and that is the role of women. In a Global Room for Women Teleconference Series, American women from every conceivable socio-economic background will step up to listen and talk with the women of Budrus about how their unusual small steps of courage and moderation proved in the end to be the single most powerful anecdote to extremism. Despite a chorus of naysayers about lasting peace and lack of attention by international media, the story of Budrus and its women are at the heart of what really works and the focal point of the Series.
As an all new safe virtual space for women`s dialogue on relevant issues, the Global Room for Women is the first-ever scalable platform that provides American women access to real-time, direct conversations by phone with an array of diverse women living in war-torn regions who are reshaping the landscape for women and girls` lives.
"We designed The Global Room for Women to be convenient and easily adapted to a woman`s busy schedule, whether she`s a teacher, an executive or a soccer mom. We invite women to take a step outside their comfort zone, come as they are, when their schedules permit. All they need to do is pick up the telephone and an entire global community of women is waiting to engage with them," says GRW founder Linda Higdon. "The real beauty of this model is that we bring women from far-reaching areas of the world directly to busy U.S. women and can include hundreds of women across the country on each call, while creating an intimate experience through small breakout conversations. There is nothing like this out there for American women," adds Higdon.
Although these courageous women are likely not visible in the Western media news cycle, they are working under the radar to make real change from the bottom up. "We are continually amazed at the degree to which women on each side of the conversation are benefitting from listening to the experience of the other. They have been looking and almost longing for an unedited direct channel of their own, tuned into their frequency as women," adds Higdon.
Who are these women who are so driven by a fierce determination to build peace?
- An award-winning filmmaker, human rights advocate and Middle East media strategist, Ronit Avni is the Founder and Executive Director of Just Vision, a non-profit that creates media about Palestinian and Israeli grassroots leaders working in nonviolence. Ronit is the film`s Executive Producer.
- Julia Bacha is an award-winning filmmaker who has worked on films exhibited at the Sundance, Tribeca, Berlin, Jerusalem, and Dubai Film Festivals, and broadcast on BBC, HBO, Sundance, CBC and Al Arabiya television. Most recently, Julia directed/ produced Budrus (2009). After premiering at the Cultural Bridge Gala film at the Dubai Film Festival, Budrus won the Audience Award, second prize, at the Berlin International Film Festival. Julia is the Director and Producer of Budrus.
- A seasoned Palestinian-Israeli facilitator, Irene Nasser is Just Vision`s Senior Manager in Jerusalem. She oversees programs for diverse Palestinian and Israeli communities, discussions that are issues-based and provides program evaluation and trauma management. Her expertise is in conflict resolution and identity, and the role of oral history in forming the identity of Palestinians in Israel.
- At the age of 15, Iltezam Morrar launched a women`s contingency of the unarmed movement in Budrus. She was the first villager to succeed in getting past the Israeli border police and stopping a bulldozer. Her fearlessness galvanized the entire village and affirmed the importance of women in the movement.
Members pay a small fee ($30-50) per series of calls and there is no limit to how many they can attend. Each woman chooses her own experience. After each call many engage with each other as a living global community. Through "My Global Room," a social networking space, they live chat, organize, and take next steps. The Global Room site supports actions, initiatives, projects, resources, and success stories emerging continuously within the community. To learn about the upcoming roster of speakers or to register, click www.globalroomforwomen.com/events.html
- Rula is Just Vision`s outreach liaison in Palestine. As one of the producers of Budrus she played a key role interviewing film subjects and coordinating crews. She is a former journalist who covered issues pertaining to Palestinian society. She was a founder of the Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation.