Arab Women Solidarity Association

Arab Women Solidarity Association

From: Newsgroups: soc.culture.arabic Date: 10 Jun 94 15:25 PDT Subject: Arab Women Solidarity Assc. Message-ID: <2061600005@cdp>

From: /* Written 3:47 PM Jun 8, 1994 by mideastdesk in igc:mideast.levant

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We are eager to announce the establishment of the AWSA North America Branch and invite you to join us.

What is the Arab Women's Solidarity Association?

During the seventies, a variety of conferences and discussions among Arab Women brought attention to the need to address the oppression and problems experienced by women in Arab countries. These discussions led to the realization that struggle for women's liberation is directly linked to the development of Arab societies and the liberation of all Arabs from national and international oppression and domination.

By 1982, 120 Arab women joined forces and established The Arab Women's Solidarity Association. Dr. Nawal El Saadawi (the internationally renowned Egyptian feminist and author) was elected as president. The group established AWSA headquarters in Cairo, Egypt. In 1985 AWSA obtained consultative status as an international non-profit non- governmental organization with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations in New York. Since then, the Association has grown to include 3000 women and men worldwide.

Objectives and Activities of AWSA

AWSA was established as a nucleus for Arab women to organize and increase their awareness of the link between women's liberation and the liberation of other oppressed groups in society. AWSA promotes women's rights and encourages Arab women to work together for women's liberation in their respective countries as well as internationally.

AWSA's network of members and branches allows Arab women to reflect on their common experiences, to exchange ideas and strategies, and to profit from the contributions of both Arab and non-Arab women. The main activities of the Association have been informational and educational; such as several international conferences, weekly seminars, training activities, the publication of books and a quarterly magazine "Noon", lectures, public debates on women's issues and various projects which focus on linking understanding with practical experience. AWSA has undertaken economic, self-help, cultural, and audio-visual projects including the production of booklets and musical songs, reading manuals for rural women, and two short fiction films.

Principles Guiding these activities:

(1) Women's active participation in the political, social, economic, and cultural life of Arab countries is necessary for the exercise of real democracy.

(2) The abolition of discrimination based on race, sex, class, or religion, in the family, the workplace, and the national and international political arena, is a necessary condition for social justice.

(3) A critical understanding of the needs of Arab women, the experiences of women from all walks of life, and the system, ideas, and values under which they live is necessary in order to pave the way toward independent development.

AWSA therefore encourages activities which promote active participation.

After taking a stand against the Gulf War, AWSA faced its most severe attack. We had spoken out against a war which resulted in increasing economic crisis and resurgence of fanatic political and religious groups, neo-colonial domination in the Arab region, and a backlash against the rights of women and the poor. In response, the Egyptian government issued a decree banning the Egyptian Branch of AWSA and closing down AWSA literary magazine "Noon".

Why a Branch in North America?

AWSA North America is currently being established for the following reasons:

1. To sustain the momentum of AWSA. 2. To respond to the desire of thousands of Arab-American women who like to create solidarity with their sisters in the US, the Arab region, and internationally. 3. To encourage Arab-Americans to oppose the policies of the US government, the World Bank, IMF, GATT, and other international institutions which aggravate the oppression of Arab women. With a branch in North America, AWSA can address these policies more effectively. 4. To call attention to the problems affecting Arab-American women. 5. To cooperate with African, Latina, Native, and Asian American sisters who are involved in the struggle to gain their rights.

AWSA North America considers these issues to be most important. But reality is always richer than we know. Other issues and tasks will evolve out of our current efforts. Life is always reflected in change and growth. We are inviting you to join us . We are inviting all women, men, and friends to give this new branch of AWSA as much support as possible.

Immediate Activities:

Preliminary discussions have led to a number of proposals concerning the immediate activities of AWSA:

1. To establish contacts and a network with other Arab- American and Women's Groups in the US. 2. To re-issue the magazine of AWSA "Noon", in Arabic and English. 3. To publish and translate books and research written by Arab women from Arabic to English and vice-versa. 4. To organize the AWSA workshop for the United Nations Fourth International Conference of Women which will be held in Beijing, China, in September 1995, under the title "Arab Women Resist the New World Order". 5. To produce a feature film related to the problems of Arab women living in both Arab and non-Arab countries. 6. To organize AWSA's Fourth International Conference. 7. To organize regular meetings with Arab, Arab-American, and other groups and organizations of women facing similar problems.

================================================================== MEMBERSHIP FORM



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...... Active member ...... Mailing list only

Please check activities which interest you: ........... AWSA workshop in Beijing, China ........... AWSA International Conference ........... AWSA literary magazine "Noon" ........... Others_____________________________

AWSA annual membership fee: $20 per individual, $50 per organization.

Please send this form and your membership fee and/or donation payable to AWSA to:

AWSA P.O. Box 95760 Seattle, WA 98145

Editor: Ali B. Ali-Dinar
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