SOAS University of London

SOAS Director raises awareness of global refugee crisis on International Women’s Day

8 March 2016

Baroness Valerie Amos, Director of SOAS University of London, marked International Women’s Day, by taking part in a campaign to raise awareness of women refugees. Baroness Amos was one of the participants in Women for Refugee Women’s ’99 women’ campaign where 99 women were invited to write a message on behalf of women refugees and post this on social media to raise awareness of the global refugee crisis, and in particular, the dangers faced by female refugees.

Valeria Amos IWD2016

Baroness Amos will also be taking part in UCL’s ‘Inspiring Women’ event today. The SOAS Director has filmed a video for the event, which invites prominent and inspiring women to offer their personal reflections on their career paths and how they achieved success.

SOAS will also be screening two award-winning films which look at diversity and multilingualism on 8 March. In Kanraxël, a documentary on the multilingual life of Agnack, women’s identities and language practices in the rural setting of Agnack play a central role. Filmed at SOAS Professor Friederike Lüpke’s field site and produced by SOAS alumna Anna Sowa, the film paints a portrait of diversity and multilingualism as a daily, hourly linguistic practice. Professor Lüpke has also written a special International Women’s Day blog post looking at women’s language use in West Africa.

Kanraxël will be screened alongside The Voice of Tradition, produced by Dr Lucy Durán, a documentary focusing on one of Mali’s most iconic singers, Bako Dagnon (1953 – 2015). In this film we hear Bako’s insightful views on song and memory, and see rare footage of young musicians learning and performing songs in the remote countryside of her native village, Golobladji.

In addition, on 15 March SOAS’s Centre for Migration and Diaspora Studies will be screening Time to look at girls: Migrants in Bangladesh and Ethiopia. The film explores the circumstances, decision-making, experiences and consequences of migration for adolescent girls in Bangladesh and Ethiopia. It is based on a research project that explores the links between migration of adolescent girls and economic, social and political factors that trigger their movements. Beautifully shot, it shows the agency and choices being made by adolescent girls in their diverse migration experiences.

Nadje Al-Ali, Professor of Gender Studies, will also be giving a seminar on ‘Gendering the Kurdish-Turkish conflict and attempts at peace’ on 22 March 2016 and be speaking at a talk entitled ‘Protest, body politics and authoritarianism: a gendered perspective on political developments in the Middle East’ on 21 March. Both these events will be held at the Simon Fraser University in Vancouver. Professor Al-Ali also discussed ‘Kurdish and Turkish women's rights activists and academics struggling against war and authoritarianism’ at a colloquium held by the Bloomsbury Gender Network on 4 March.

Dr Alessandra Mezzadri, Lecturer in Development Studies, chaired the screening of The True Cost in collaboration with SOAS’ South Asia Institute and Asian Circle. The True Cost is a story about the clothes we wear, the people who make them and the impact it’s having on our world. The film explores the issues of an industry built on exploitation, asks questions about consumption and challenges our understanding of the industry.