3rd Annual Bay Area Arab Women's Conference

Keynote: "Operation Iraqi Liberation?


Liberate This: Arab Women as the Key to Freedom"

by Dr. Dahlia Wasfi


Arab Women's Health

Arab Women in Politics

Arab Identities and Cultural Expression

Register by March 9th, 2010. Form is available here or call 415-664-2200 to register by phone $25 Registration fee, $15 Students

Space is Limited


Amal Kouttab, Dr. Dahlia Wasfi, Jumana Musa, Laila Shereen Sakr, Leila Tawil, Nadiah Mshasha, Reem Salahi, Sally Al-Daher, Sanaa M Ezzat

Speaker Bios

Amal Kouttab is a registered drama therapist, teacher, mediator, and filmmaker. She has used drama, art and writing to facilitate therapeutic groups in mental health settings, nursing homes, hospitals and drug rehabilitation centers in New York City and the San Francisco Bay Area. She obtained a bachelor's degree in the performing arts and women's studies from the University of Virginia in 1997, and a master's degree in psychology and drama therapy from New York University in 2001. For the past four years, she has facilitated therapeutic workshops with Palestinians and Israelis and other groups in conflict in the Middle East and the Bay Area. She has taught graduate psychology classes entitled Drama Therapy for Social Change at the California Institute of Integral Studies, where she developed part of the curriculum focused on internalized oppression. She co-founded the Araceli Theater Project based at San Francisco General Hospital, which rehearses and performs original educational theater pieces for people with cancer. She is honored and excited to join the dedicated team at SFWAR as the Director of Community Initiatives.

Dr. Dahlia Wasfi is an internationally known speaker and activist. Born in the United States to an American Jewish mother and an Iraqi Muslim father, she lived in Iraq as a child, returning to the U.S. at age 5. After graduating from Swarthmore College with a B..A. in Biology in 1993, she earned her medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1997. Dr. Wasfi has made two trips to Iraq to visit her extended family since the 2003 "Shock and Awe" invasion, including a three month stay in Basrah in the spring of 2006. She has brought her eyewitness account of life under occupation to over 200 audiences in twenty-two United States, Capitol Hill in D.C., Ontario and British Columbia, Madrid, Spain in 2007, and the 3rd International Iraq Conference in Berlin, Germany, in March 2008. Based on her experiences, Dr. Wasfi is speaking out in support of immediate, unconditional withdrawal of American forces from Iraq and Afghanistan and the need to end the occupation "from the Nile to the Euphrates." She is currently working on a book. Her website is www.liberatethis.com.

Jumana Musa is a human rights attorney and activist. She is currently the Policy Director for the Rights Working Group, a national coalition of civil rights, civil liberties, human rights and immigrant rights advocates working to ensure that everyone in the U.S. has certain inalienable rights including the right to a fair trial, freedom from arbitrary detention, and protection from discriminatory application of the law. Formerly, she served as the Advocacy Director for Domestic Human Rights and International Justice at Amnesty International USA, where she addressed the domestic and international impact of U.S. counterterrorism efforts on human rights. She was one of the first human rights attorneys allowed to travel to the naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and served as Amnesty International's legal observer at military commission proceedings on the base.

Ms. Musa has also worked as a policy attorney for the National Network to End Domestic Violence and handled international relations and immigration issues as a fellow in the office of Congressman Jesse L. Jackson, Jr. She taught the class "Human Rights in the Middle East and North Africa" as an adjunct professor at Georgetown's Center for Contemporary Arab Studies. Ms. Musa holds a BA in International Relations from Brown University and a JD from Georgetown University Law Center.

Laila Shereen Sakr is a poet, activist, scholar, and digital artist. Her work critically examines the nature of digital information and cyber existence in a post-9/11 world. She is primarily concerned with digital compositions, particularly in Arabic. In her art practice, she aims to bypass the notion of critic as authority who controls narrative. Instead, she aims to create a new authoritative but participatory role that resonates with web culture—that of co-editor, co-curator, and co-producer all at the same time. This is done by building and performing her work in digital and new media: her current projects include R-Shief, an Arabic-English web-based archive for exchange among activists, scholars, and new media artists; and VJ Um Amel, an interactive, live cinema narrative about an animated cyborg who is also an Arabic-speaking mother. Previously, she has co-founded media and art collectives in Washington, DC including the Guerrilla Poetry Insurgency and Word of Mouth. Shereen Sakr was awarded the 2009 Jack Shaheen Media Scholarship by the American-Arab Anti Discrimination Committee (ADC). Her work has been exhibited and performed in international festivals, galleries, and museums--including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Santa Cruz Museum. Presently, she is lecturer and research associate at UC Santa Cruz. See http://lailashereen.com.

Leila Tayeb is a dancer and choreographer interested in the intersections between cultural production, identity and politics in Arab diasporic communities. She aspires to work on these topics in a university setting, with a special focus on the curiously separate migrations of Arabs and Arabic music and dance traditions to the US. Leila holds an MA in International Affairs from the New School University in New York and a BA in Politics from UC Santa Cruz. She was until recently an English teacher in San Francisco and then Morocco and otherwise has worked variously in nonprofits, restaurants, retail, and childcare.

Lubna Morrar is a student at SFSU majoring in Journalism and Ethnic Studies.Lubna is most well known for being a spearheading figure in Palestinian youth activism in the Bay Area Response to the Israeli attack on Gaza in January of 2009. She is a youth social justice organizer and activist with the Arab Resource and Organizing Center, the Arab Youth Organization, the Palestinian Youth Network, and the General Union of Palestinian Students. Aside from her activism, Lubna is a talented poet and singer in both English and Arabic. Her inspiration and passion derives from a lineage of Palestinian organizers in her family and strong ties to her land and relatives in Palestine.

Leyya Tawil "Stylish" (SF Chronicle) and "Elegant" (SF Bay Guardian) are the words most used to describe the work of contemporary dance choreographer Leyya Mona Tawil. Artistic Director of Leyya Tawil's Dance Elixir, Tawil has received numerous grants and awards including the prestigious University of Michigan Emerging Artist Award in 2008. Tawil's work has been presented internationally at the Beirut International Platform On Dance 2009, La Sala Rosa (Montreal), Overtoom 301 (Amsterdam), The Place (London), and CESTA/Spektrum Theater (Czech Republic). Within the U.S., Dance Elixir has been presented by San Francisco International Arts Festival (SF), The Flea (NYC), Oakland Art Gallery (Oakland, CA), Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, Contemporary Art Institute of Detroit, Arab American National Museum's Ford Comerica Performance Series (MI), Bohemian National Home (MI), Arts at Middlebury (VT), Alwan for the Arts (NYC), as well as throughout northern California.

Leyya has taught in professional studios internationally and locally since 1997. She just completed a 2-year appointment at Middlebury College in Vermont as the Artist-In-Residence in Dance. She has also held faculty positions at the University of Michigan- Ann Arbor, University of San Francisco and Sonoma State University (CA). Leyya received degrees in dance from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor (BDA, 1997) and Mills College-Oakland (MFA, 2003). Tawil's work with Dance Elixir has been featured on Future TV (Lebanon), WDET's "Morning Edition" (MI), NBC11 (CA), KRON4 (CA), KNOE-TV8 (LA), and KALX's "Women in the Arts" (CA).

Tawil's solo show entitled Grace on a Friday Night has been performed in New York City, Beirut, Amsterdam, Tabor (Czech Republic), Middlebury (Vermont) and Oakland (CA). In 2010, Dance Elixir will be performing at the Syrian National Opera House in Damascus and the Ramallah Contemporary Dance Festival, as well as a European tour for teaching and residency opportunities.

Nayema Sisemore is a Palestinian American fifth grader, living in Northern California. She is an activist and artist, loves to travel, dance, read, and play with her bunny, Kiwi. Nayema is very passionate about Palestine, and has done several school reports and projects based on Palestine and the Middle East, including a Palestinian Flag report, and a Middle East Calendar project. In January of 2009, during Israel's siege on Gaza, she and her older brother Omar felt compelled to raise awareness in their community about the atrocities taking place in Gaza, and to show their support for those struggling in Palestine. They in turn created a donation jar in their family's store to fundraise, and help send money to children living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Since then, Nayema and Omar have single handedly raised over $1,500 dollars in donations for Palestinian children.

Nadiah Mshasha has over 7 years of experience in the health education field. received her Masters in Public Health from San Jose State University in 2001. She possesses various skills across the spectrum of health education services including health program development, evaluation; grant management, health education materials/curricula development and providing trainings. She has worked within health care organizations such as Kaiser Permanente, Health Plan of San Mateo, Brown & Toland Physician Services Organization, and taught as a part-time lecturer at San Jose State University. Most recently, she has worked on various health education programs for the Arab Cultural and Community Center and currently works as a Perinatal Services Coordinator at the Ravenswood Family Health Center.

Reem Salahi is an activist and attorney originally from Syria specializing in national security and civil rights. She is a member of the National Lawyers Guild and the President of the Muslim Bar Association of Southern California (MBASC). Formerly, Reem was a Bridge Fellow at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Southern California and a Fulbright Fellow in Amman, Jordan. More recently, Reem was one of seven attorneys to travel to Gaza on the National Lawyers Guild delegation directly following Israel's 22-day-attack in February of 2009. Reem's legal findings were published in an article, titled "Israel's War Crimes: A First Hand Account of Israel's Attacks on Palestinian Civilians and Civilian Infrastructure," available here. Reem hosts a weekly internet radio program titled Objection! which looks at the intersection of civil rights, national security, and foreign policy. It can be heard streaming live on Thursdays www.onelegacyradio.com.

Sally Al-Daher is the Executive Director of the Arab Cultural & Community Center in San Francisco, the largest cultural, educational and human service organization serving the Arab community in Northern California. Sally holds a Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery from the University of Baghdad/Iraq, and a Masters degree in Public Health focusing on Community Health Education from San Jose State University. Sally has been directing the center, fundraising and promoting Arab art and culture, increasing awareness and services in health education and domestic violence programs at the ACCC. Sally has worked for Santa Clara County as a Health Education Specialist, she lead the outreach and education program for a multi-agency comprehensive system of care for mothers and their infants impacted by prenatal substance abuse. Sally has worked as an independent contractor for California Family Health Council for two consecutive years. Sally is a member of the American Public Health Association, and Northern California Society of Public Health Education. Prior to moving to the United States 1996 Sally has been practicing medicine and working as a general practitioner in Yemen and Iraq with a special focus on health education and prevention.

Dr. Samia Shoman is a Palestinian-American who was born and raised in California. She is one of seven children born to Palestinian parents from Beit Hanina, a village that borders Jerusalem. Her undergraduate education in Political Science was completed at the University of California at Davis. She continued her education at San Francisco State University where she earned a Single Subject Teaching Credential in Social Studies and a Masters degree in Multicultural Education. She earned a Doctorate of Education, with an emphasis on Organization and Leadership from the University of San Francisco. Her doctoral research focused on Palestinian- and Arab -American activism in the United States in relation to the Palestinian cause.

Dr. Samia Shoman currently works as a World History teacher at Hillsdale High School. Additionally, she works with the Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas Initiative at San Francisco State University as a lecturer. Dr. Shoman has conducted several trainings for high school teachers on how to teach the Palestinian-Israeli conflict through a dual-narratives approach. She has been involved with various Palestinian- and Arab American organizations and is a frequent traveler to Palestine. She enjoys doing outreach to educate and inform people about the plight of the Palestinians in the homeland and hopes that in the future she can use her teaching and educational experience to work in educational development in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Sanaa M Ezzat's love affair with art began by studying magazine illustrations as a young girl in Egypt. From early on, she developed a playful style and willingness to experiment with technique, color, and texture. After earning her degree from the School of Art Education at the University of Cairo, Sanaa moved with her family to the United States, where she continued to exhibit in many group and solo shows. With her training in education, Sanaa has taught courses and workshops in sculpture, design, and painting for both children and adults, and created a series of textbook illustrations for IQRA Books. She has received numerous awards and recognition in the US and Egypt for her work in various mediums, including watercolor, acrylic, oil, gouache, and mixed media. A collection of her work is available online at www.sanaaezzat.com. 

Event Properties

Event date: Saturday, 13 March 2010
Event End Date: Saturday, 13 March 2010
Individual Price 25.00
Location Silicon Valley Community Foundation