members of the women’s branches of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development (AK)
party Sunday held simultaneous rallies across the country to show their support
to an international UN day on violence against women.
Woman Used Bitcoin to Finance IS
Woman Geneticist Named First Rhodes Scholar from Saudi Arabia
Kurdish Women March to End Gender-Based Violence
Of National Library of Iran’s Members Are Women
March against Violence across Turkey
Expat among 5 Female Scientists to Win Dh83, 400 Unesco Fellowship
by New Age Islam News Bureau
Oldest Festival Makes Room for Women Directors
Cairo International Film Festival (CIFF) celebrates women directors this year
with a special section featuring films by Arab women and screenings of films by
non-Arab women from around the world.
Dreams,” the 40th edition of Egypt's oldest film festival, runs Nov. 20-29.
According to festival director Mohammed Hefzi, this year's event will screen
more than 160 movies from 59 countries, with 15% of the films directed by
is not a small percentage compared to European festivals,” Hefzi told the
Al-Watan newspaper. “For example, in the Venice film festival, there is only
one film by a female director in the official competition with 19 films for
organizers said that the Arab Female Directors section was developed with the
aim of making the presence of women more visible. The directors featured are
Hala Khalil and Hala Lotfy from Egypt, Mai Masri and Annemarie Jacir from
Palestine, Haifaa Al-Mansour from Saudi Arabia, Kaouther Ben Hania from
Tunisia, Nujoom Alghanem from the United Arab Emirates and Sofia Djama from
the works of women filmmakers is important,” Magda Morris, a veteran film
critic, told Al-Monitor. “They do a great job, and it’s time for them to claim
[recognition]. People, filmmakers, actors and producers should know these great
works, so women directors can get more opportunities and enrich Arab cinema.
All the movies in the special section are critically acclaimed and important
movies.” Morris pointed out that most of the films in the section had already
received international awards.
is not the first time that CIFF has shone a spotlight on women or women's
issues. Last year's festival hosted a seminar on fighting violence against
women, which Morris moderated.
see that this year there are more efforts exerted in the festival [to focus on
women filmmakers],” Morris remarked, adding that women are staking more rights
not only in Egyptian cinema, but internationally as well.
movies featured in Arab Female Directors mostly look at women’s issues, drawing
realistic portraits of women from different walks of life. Hala Khalil’s
“Nawara” (2015) tells the story of a young woman who works as a maid in the
villa of a former minister during the 2011 revolution that toppled President
Hosni Mubarak. Menna Shalaby won Best Actress at the 2015 Dubai International
Film Festival and the 2016 Malmo Arab Film Festival for her portrayal of
Lotfy’s “Al-Khroug lel-Nahar” (“Coming Forth by Day,” 2012) portrays the
struggle of a poor family living in Cairo. Lotfy won Best Director in the Arab
World for it at the 2012 Abu Dhabi Film Festival.
notable movie being screened at CIFF is “3000 Nights” (2015) by Mai Masri, who
won the Audience Award at Spain's Valladolid International Film Festival the
year it was released. The film is about a Palestinian schoolteacher who is
detained in an Israeli prison for a crime she did not commit, and under
pressure, becomes an informant against her fellow prisoners.
Jacir’s “Wajib” (2017), which won the Festival Director's Award at the 2018
Cinetopia Film Festival in the United States is a disturbing, but often-funny
family drama, while Haifaa Al-Mansour’s Wadjda (2012) tells the story of a
schoolgirl’s effort to buy a bike.
controversial Tunisian film “Beauty and the Dogs” (2017), directed by Kaouther
Ben Hania, is also among the films in the Arab women's section. Tunisia
selected it as its 2018 Oscar nominee for Best Foreign-Language Film. Based on
a true story, the film opens with a rape and goes on to dissect efforts by the
police, the society at large and at times even the victim herself to cover up
Djama's “The Blessed” (2017), which received three awards at last year's Venice
International Film Festival, examines life in the 1990s during the Algerian
civil war. The only documentary in the Arab women's section, “Sharp Tools”
(2017), by Nujoom Alghanem, focuses on the controversial Emirati artist Hassan
addition to providing space for female Arab directors, CIFF is also
highlighting woman directors from around the world in the International
Competition, which features 16 films. A week before the festival opening,
organizers included two more entries in the category to boost women directors’
participation to seven movies.
(2018), director by Denise O'Hara of the Philippines, narrates the story of a
woman struggling against aging. “Crystal Swan” (2018), by Belarus director
Darya Zhuk, shows how a typo interferes in a young woman's attempt at achieving
the American dream.
main standard for choosing the movies was the quality,” Marwa Abu Eish, a film
critic and CIFF program coordinator, told Al-Monitor. “Our aim is not just to
increase the number of women directors. We want to screen high-quality films
directed by women.”
Eish noted that while the special section focuses on Arab women who have
already achieved success, the International Competition highlights new works by
there are no movies by Arab female directors in the International Competition,
that is because there were no new good works that could be shown in the
competition for this year,” Abu Eish explained.
films directed by women in the International Competition include “Birds of
Passage” (2018), co-directed by Cristina Gallego and Ciro Guerra and co-produced
by Colombia, Denmark, Mexico and France. The film looks at drug trafficking in
by Italian director Valeria Golino, “One Day” by Hungarian director Zsófia
Szilágyi, “Pause” by Cypriot director Tonia Mishiali and “The Third Wife” by
Vietnamese director Ash Mayfair, all released this year, are also competing for
Arab women directors have a lasting impact on the region’s film industry? That
will be the topic of a Nov. 28 panel discussion, “Wonder Women: How Can Female
Filmmakers in the Arab World Have a Lasting Impact on the International
Pakistani-American woman has admitted in a federal court to using Bitcoin to
finance the Islamic State terror outfit through fronts in China, Pakistan and
Shahnaz, 27, made the admission before Judge Joanna Seybert in the Central
Islip federal court in New York state on Monday.
an agreement with prosecutors, she admitted to committing credit card and loan
fraud to raise money that she converted to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies
to send to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), which is designated as
a terrorist organisation by the US government, law enforcement officials said.
faces up to 20 years in prison when she is sentenced.
accused person can make an agreement with the prosecutors -- known as a plea
deal -- to admit to guilt usually in exchange for leniency in order to avoid a
lengthy trial and risk possibly stiffer sentences if found guilty.
and cryptocurrencies are virtual computer-generated currencies that are
difficult for governments to monitor and can be exchanged for cash beyond
intriguing fact that emerged in court filings by US authorities is the mention
of IS front organisations or individuals in China, a country tightly-controlled
by a government that is currently carrying out a massive campaign against
Muslim separatists in Xinjiang region.
was arrested in July 2017 by the Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) as she was
getting ready to go from a New York airport to Pakistan and travel from there
to Syria via Turkey.
the interest of empowering and enriching a terrorist organisation whose aim is
to harm America, Zoobia Shahnaz turned her back on her country and her fellow
citizens,” said William Sweeney, the Federal Bureau of Investigation Assistant
came to the US on a visa meant for relatives of US citizens, according to Home
Security Department spokesperson Tyler Houlton, and later became a US citizen.
to court filings, Shahnaz, who was a hospital technician in New York, got a
fraudulent loan of $22,500 and raised money through more than a dozen credit
cards obtained through fraud to buy Bitcoin and crytocurrencies worth $62,000.
then wired over $150,000 to individuals and shell outfits in the three
countries that were fronts for the IS, according to court papers.
she was sending money to the IS, she was also looking up its propaganda “at
various violent jihad-related websites and message boards, and social media and
messaging pages of known IS recruiters, facilitators and financiers”, officials
December Shahnaz’s lawyer Steve Zissou told the National Public Radio, a
broadcaster partially financed by the US government, that she had volunteered
with the Syrian American Medical Society and “witnessed the suffering of the
added: “Her humanitarian efforts then and since were motivated by her
commitment to helping alleviate the plight of the people in the Middle East.”
— For the first time, a student from Saudi Arabia has been selected as part of
the global Rhodes Scholar class. Majd Abdulghani, 23, will join a total cohort
of 100 Rhodes Scholars who will travel to Oxford in October next year.
Rhodes Scholarships are postgraduate awards in all fields of study to develop
exceptional people from all over the world, who are impatient with the way
things are and have the courage to act. They provide full funding for two to
three years (depending on the academic route taken) of study at the University
Alagil, co-founder of Jarir Bookstores, has generously funded the annual Rhodes
Scholarship for Saudi Arabia.
Rhodes Scholarships aspire to create “leaders for the world’s future” and are
achievement-based awards open to students with proven intellectual and academic
attainment of a high standard who show exceptional character, leadership,
achievement in extra-curricular activities and a commitment to serve for the
public good. The rigorous Saudi selection process included three rounds of
reviews before the final in-person interviews of eight shortlisted candidates
with an international selection committee.
Abdulghani is a geneticist currently working in the Cheung Lab at the
University of Michigan. Her podcast, “Majd’s Diary: Two Years in the Life of a
Saudi Girl,” aired on NPR and received two prestigious radio awards. The
podcast reflects Majd’s missions of dismantling stereotypes associated with
Muslim, Saudi women and inspiring girls across the globe to pursue science.
has a blue belt in karate and has won a show-jumping competition. During her
Master’s at Iowa State University in the Tuteja Lab, she proposed her own
research project and uncovered genes that may play a role in pregnancy
disorders. Majd believes that her identity as a Muslim and Saudi woman are key
to pushing scientific and stereotypical boundaries.
Elizabeth Kiss, CEO of the Rhodes Trust, said: “Our aspiration is to identify
and support innovative, energetic and ethical young leaders worldwide, and we
are delighted that this year we could extend the Rhodes Scholarship to Saudi
Arabia. Cultural diversity is a core value of ours and one that we see benefit
our cohort of scholars every day, as they learn from each other in profound
said they increased the number of scholars from all around the world in recent
years and they all contributed significantly to Rhodes House. “We are confident
that scholars from Saudi Arabia will do the same, sharing their skills,
experiences and energy with their peers at Oxford, and we look forward to
welcoming Ms Majd Abdulghani to Rhodes Housw,” she concluded.
Rhodes Scholarships, which were started in 1902, include all university and
college fees for two years, an annual stipend, and travel expenses to the
University of Oxford before the start of the program and a return ticket following
the course of study.
applications for the next round of admission for the Rhodes Scholarship, in
partnership with Muhammad Alagil, for Saudi Arabia will open in June 2019. More
information can be found at: www.rhodeshouse.ox.ac.uk/apply. — SG
of female protesters took to the streets of the Syrian Kurdish-majority city of
Qamishli on Sunday to call for an end to violence against women.
banging large drums and others ululating, they marched through the streets, an
AFP correspondent said.
marriage is a crime," said one sign held up by a protester, on
International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.
demonstrator held up the picture of a woman with a swollen eye, her mouth
covered with one hand.
must take part in this day in large numbers," said Hanifa Mohammed, 47,
wearing a green jumper and a dark-coloured headscarf.
must organise and reach decision-making positions," she said. "They
must determine their future."
of all ages carried the portraits of fighters in the Women's Protection Units
(YPJ), the all-female branch of the Syrian Kurdish militia.
Kurds have largely stayed out of the country's seven-year war, instead setting
up semi-autonomous institutions in areas they control in its north and
institutions are usually co-directed by a man and a woman.
Kurds pride themselves in promoting equality of the sexes even in combat, as
the YPJ play a key role in the battle against the Islamic State group.
protesters lashed out at neighbouring Turkey, which considers the Syrian
Kurdish militia to be terrorists.
have led two campaigns inside Syria against the Kurds, most recently seizing
the northwestern enclave of Afrin in March.
enjoy higher per capita rate of studying psychology books than men due to their
responsibility for upbringing of the children, IRNA quoted Ashraf Boroujerdi,
director of the NLAI as saying here on Saturday.
there exists no exact statistics about women’s studying rate at the society,
however, the willingness of women on studying should be considered, said
many women prefer to study books for child breeding instead of using tablets or
cell phone or watching TV programs which leads to increasing the per capita
rate of book reading among women, the official concluded.
of women took to the streets across Turkey to mark the U.N. International Day
for the Elimination of Violence against Women on Nov. 26.
marking the day were held in many provinces, while Istanbul’s famous Galata
Tower was illuminated in orange color.
of the women’s branches of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP)
gathered at the Saraçhane Park in Istanbul’s Fatih district, holding banners
reading: “Nonviolent communication,” “Society grows stronger with women’s
empowerment,” “Hear our voice,” and “Do not succumb to rage crossing the line.”
Istanbul’s Beyoğlu district a group of women also gathered at the Tunnel
Square, attempting to march towards Taksim Square in protest against gender
violence. Their march was supported by deputies from the main opposition
Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP).
riot police reacted against marchers by firing tear gas at them. The police
ordered the assembled crowd to disperse, to which protestors responded by
yelling “We will not be silent,” “We’re not afraid,” and “We will not obey.”
After a tense standoff with shield-wielding officers lasting nearly two hours,
the marchers broke off into the side streets to shout their slogans before
eventually leaving the area.
the Aegean province of İzmir, as part of an event named “150 women, 150
rhythm,” several women played drums and wore purple scarfs in protest of
the northwestern city of İzmit in the Kocaeli province, gendarmerie units
distributed leaflets on combatting violence against women during road checks on
the İzmit-Kandıra highway.
the Central Anatolian province of Sivas, members of a number of associations
left flowers at the Atatürk Monument for women who lost their lives in domestic
against women is a recurrent issue in Turkey, where several hundred femicides
are recorded each year.
Cinayetlerini Durduracağız Platformu (We Will Stop Femicides Platform), an
association that monitors cases of violence against women, counted 409 murders
of women or girls last year and 328 in 2016.
an early detection method for ovarian cancer, designing therapeutic treatments
for mood disorders and depression, and using marine environment to produce
natural pharmaceutical products are some of the projects female researchers will
continue to pursue, thanks to a ?20,000 (Dh83,400) fellowship.
part of the L'Oréal-Unesco 'For Women In Science Middle East Fellowship 2018,'
five female scientists from four Gulf countries were granted Dh83,400 each for
the PostDoc Researchers category and one PhD student was granted Dh33,360.
programme, which aims to promote gender equality and encourage more girls and
women to become scientists, honours five laureates internationally each year,
one from each continent.
date, the programme has supported 3,100 women, rewarding 102 laureates and
granting doctoral and post-doctoral fellowships in 115 countries.
to Khaleej Times, the women said since scientific projects are too expensive to
pursue, the fellowship brings them one step closer to making their ideas a
reality that will benefit their societies. Here are the five outstanding women
scientists and their research topics.
Ashwag Albukhari, Assistant professor in biochemistry
for ovarian cancer)
Ashwag Albukhari, assistant professor in biochemistry, King AbdulAziz
University, Saudi Arabia, said the fellowship will help her start developing
the organoid system, derived from human tissues, to understand the progress of
ovarian cancer, help in early detection and find new therapeutic strategies for
molecular mechanism in the ovaries which is not well understood, hinders early
detection of ovarian cancer, the sixth most common cancer in women with the
highest mortality rates. Albukhari decided to build a human-derived fallopian
tube organoids to study early carcinogenesis and understand the molecular
mechanisms of the cancer.
removal of ovaries and fallopian tubes remains as the only effective prevention
for women with high risk of developing the familial ovarian cancer. The model
will prevent this and increase chance of survival," she said.
Basma Radwan, Research associate in nueroscience
between sleep, stress)
Basma Radwan, 36, post-doctoral research associate in neuroscience at New York
University Abu Dhabi, and an Egyptian expat in the UAE, is investigating the
connection between stress and sleep to develop treatment for mood disorders and
her research, Radwan is trying to understand the evolution and function of sleep
among depressed individuals to further develop effective therapeutic
solutions."We need a model to help manipulate the sleep stages and see if
it can lead to changes in mood and depression to better understand the link
between the two," she said.
the sequencing of gene expression is a process that cost ?50,000, the
fellowship will help fund part of the project to understand how sleep processes
lead to the maladaptive response to stress.
intends to examine the function of sleep of renormalising the synapses in
modulating the brain capacity to adapt to stress.
Saja Fakhraldeen, Assistant research scientist
from marine resources)
Saja Fakhraldeen, 31, assistant research scientist at Kuwait Institute for
Scientific Research, is researching on the use of marine resources to develop
pharmaceutical products to reduce reliance on lab products.
that the Arabian Gulf is an untapped resource with huge potential for
pharmaceutic applications, Fakhraldeen aims to identify local sources of
biologically active materials for her study.
her research, she will tap into marine resources to find the compounds that
develop bioactive compounds with therapeutic and pharmaceutic applications in
an environmentally conscious manner.
completion of this project, the Kuwaiti institute will have a new and fully
functional mammalian cell culture facility.
proposed genetic database of organisms in Kuwaiti waters are expected to be a
valuable resource to both Kuwaiti and international researchers.
Lamya Al Haj, Molecular biology professor
Lamya Al Haj, 36, assistant professor of molecular biology at Sultan Qaboos
University (Oman), is developing high-value products from genetically-modified
the world moving towards cleaner energy alternatives, Al Haj aims to reduce the
dependency on conventional petroleum in Oman with identifying alternative
sources that will help diversify the economy.
envisions the first microalgae bio-refinery in Oman to use algae in generating
biofuels and high value products. Part of her research investigates the
potential of utilising algae strains for the production of high-value products
like antioxidants, superfoods, food supplements and drugs. The other part is
focused on exploring second, third and fourth generation biofuels as
sustainable energy sources. The research has made it to 10 publications, won
several international awards and was the breakthrough in biofuel production in
Othoum, PhD student
Read Sea strains)
research of Ghofran Othoum, 28, a PhD student at King Abdullah University of
Science and Technology (Jordanian expat in Saudi Arabia), centres around
studying bacteria isolated from the Red Sea environment that can be used in different
studies indicated that several of the isolated strains extracted from microbial
mat and mangrove mud samples from the Red Sea represent promising candidates
for the development of cell factories for enzyme production. "Red Sea species
are promising as microbial cell factories, specifically with respect to their
ability to thrive in saline water, eliminating the need for the environmentally
and economically expensive costs of water desalination and sterilisation,"
research also uncovered the richness of these species' genomes that have likely
evolved in Red Sea Bacilli due to environmental adaptation.
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