WISE Conferences

WISE’s Launch in New York

The 2006 launch of WISE represented an important turning point in the history of Muslim women’s activism and movement-building. It helped to inaugurate the WISE program as a leader in the global movement to improve the status of Muslim women.

The inaugural WISE conference convened 150 of the most accomplished Muslim women scholars, activists, artists, and religious and civil society leaders from 25 countries – spanning Afghanistan, Jordan, Senegal and Morocco to Turkey, the Netherlands, Belgium and the US. The gathering facilitated seminal discussions on the unique challenges facing Muslim women globally and developing concrete tools for realizing the vision of an Islamic expression of gender equality and justice. Collectively, these leaders assessed the needs of their specific constituencies, identified ways to expand their own work and developed recommendations for creating an effective global change movement.

Conference panel discussions included “Women Empowering Women,” “Women’s Spiritual Leadership,” “Ijtihad,” “Learning from the Struggles of Others” and “Mobilizing for Action.” Numerous prominent Muslim women attended, including Baroness Uddin, the first Muslim woman to enter the UK’s House of Lords; Dr. Massouda Jalal, a presidential candidate in Afghanistan and former Minister of Women’s Affairs; Fatin Bundagji, the first municipal female candidate in Saudi Arabia and founder of the women’s section of the Saudi Chamber of Commerce; Ingrid Mattson, the first female president of Islamic Society of North America; Dr. Nafis Sadik, Special Adviser to the UN Secretary General; and Nogi Imoukhuede, the prestigious Nigerian lawyer of the Amina Lawal stoning case.

As a collective, this initial group of WISE women breathed life into a holistic and comprehensive vision for improving the position of Muslim women around the globe. The WISE movement was born.

2009 GLOBAL CONFERENCE IN KUALA, LUMPUR MALAYSIA

Building upon the excitement generated by the 2006 WISE conference and launch, WISE held its second international conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from July 16 – 19, 2009.  Over 200 women from across the world participated in the conference entitled “Muslim Women: Building Institutions, Creating Change.”

The conference was structured around the five WISE modules for creating change: Change through Communication, Change through Interpretation, Change through Philanthropy, Change through Collaboration and Change through Action.  The conference facilitated several types of information-exchange for participants, including the sharing of best practices; panel discussions and presentations on the most relevant issues facing Muslim women today; skill-building trainings in such areas as media engagement, running for political office, spiritual development, transformative leadership, cultural consciousness and social movement-building.

In addition, the conference showcased a number of groundbreaking WISE initiatives including the presentation of the WISE Compact and endorsement by the conference participants; launch of the WISE web portal; introduction of the global Shura Council and its “Jihad against Violence” project; presentation of funding opportunities with the Muslim Women’s Fund; peer learning “Chair.Chai.Chats,” which enabled participants to directly engage with high-level Muslim women.

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Advancing Gender Equality in Muslim Mindanao: Training & Promoting Gender-Sensitive Religious Leaders to Affect Changeabstract and   powerpoint

2011 GLOBAL CONFERENCE IN ISTANBUL, TURKEY

The ASMA-WISE 3rd global Conference, “WISE:  Muslim Women Leaders at the Frontlines of Change”, was held in Istanbul, Turkey from Friday, October 14 to Monday, October 17, 2011.

More than 180 Muslim women from 45 countries, which include Egypt, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Libya, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Tunisia, attended panels on Muslim women’s leadership.  The Conference specifically focused on religious & spiritual, political and business & civic leadership, with an emphasis on highlighting how Muslim women are shattering stereotypes by playing significant roles as key leaders in these areas.

The theme of the 2011 Conference was Muslim Women’s Leadership. Through a series of plenary sessions, panel discussions, and case-study presentations, the Conference highlighted the ways in which Muslim women leaders are affecting change by playing key roles in the areas of religious and spiritual leadership, political leadership, and civic and business leadership. The American Society for Muslim Advancement (“ASMA”)1 served as the host organization for the Conference, along with its Turkish partner, the Turkish Women’s Cultural Association (“TURKKAD”)2 . Moreover, the conference organizers worked in collaboration with the Muslim Women’s Shura Council3 and the Cordoba Initiative4 . The Conference was supported by the MDG3 Fund of the Dutch Foreign Ministry.

The 2011 WISE Conference organizers utilized the Evaluations from the previous two WISE Conferences, along with on-going conference participant input in order to improve its programmatic substance and expand its capacity-building function in Istanbul. In result, the Conference was an improvement from previous WISE conferences and events. It was well organized, the presentations were conducted within the set timeframes and the participants felt that they gained invaluable knowledge-transfer, that could not have occurred but for the convening in Istanbul. One participant stated, “Thank you for giving us more room to breathe than in previous conferences! It helped everything [become] deeper and take root. Three to a panel instead of six has worked well”. Another participant stated, “I feel we are more of a unified organism than in New York (2006 WISE Conference). More space, more time, fewer women, renewed connections. Thank you!” A highly successful businesswoman from Egypt stated, “Your conference was very inspiring for us. [It was] very spiritual, full of love and [a lot of] thoughts [were] share[ed]. The organization was excellent compared to many others I have attended throughout the world.”

Download Conference Materials:

WISE Launch

The 2006 launch of WISE represented an important turning point in the history of Muslim women’s activism and movement-building. It helped to inaugurate the WISE program as a leader in the global movement to improve the status of Muslim women.

2009 GLOBAL CONFERENCE IN KUALA, LUMPUR MALAYSIA

Building upon the excitement generated by the 2006 WISE conference and launch, WISE held its second international conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The conference was structured around the five WISE modules for creating change: Change through Communication, Change through Interpretation, Change through Philanthropy, Change through Collaboration and Change through Action.

2011 GLOBAL CONFERENCE IN ISTANBUL, TURKEY

The ASMA-WISE 3rd global Conference, “WISE: Muslim Women Leaders at the Frontlines of Change”, was held in Istanbul, Turkey from Friday, October 14 to Monday, October 17, 2011. The Conference specifically focused on religious & spiritual, political and business & civic leadership, with an emphasis on highlighting how Muslim women are shattering stereotypes by playing significant roles as key leaders in these areas.

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