Sima Wali



Sima Wali is President and CEO of Refugee Women in Development (RefWID), Inc. an international institution focusing on women in conflict and post-conflict reintegration issues.  She is a native of Afghanistan, and her personal experience as a woman and a refugee inspires her work for uprooted women's human rights. Ms. Wali works to empower uprooted women to join her in representing, nationally and internationally. She is a pioneer in providing culturally-specific domestic violence intervention and prevention mechanisms for refugee women and their American counterparts. She advocates nationally and internationally for uprooted women and girls whose rights have been violated as refugees and internally displaced people.  Her writings have been published in prestigious journals and books.

Ms. Wali is the recipient of Amnesty International's l999 3rd Annual Ginetta Sagan Fund Award of Amnesty International in recognition of her work on Afghan women and human rights.  The Ginetta Sagan Fund Award of Amnesty International is given annually in recognition of individual accomplishment, but also in the belief that it will serve as a beacon of hope to women everywhere who are fighting for human rights.  It is given to a woman who has demonstrated outstanding achievement, often in the face of personal danger, to help women and children who are victims of violence.   

In May 2002, Smith College awarded Ms.Wali a Doctor of Humane Letters for her "superb courage, tenacity and resourcefulness" in her work. 

Ms. Wali was one of three female delegates representing His Majesty, the former King of Afghanistan, at the U.N. Peace Talks on Afghanistan in Bonn in December 2001 where she was instrumental in creating the Ministry of Women's Affairs and nominating Afghan women candidates for the new government of Afghanistan. 

Ms. Wali is the recipient of numerous awards for her pioneering work in developing program models aimed at the empowerment of women caught conflict, democratic civil society-building of war-torn societies, gender, forced migration, and human rights.  Ms. Wali has been honored by the Women Donors Network, the Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children, the National Conference for College Women Graduate Leaders.  She is the recipient of the Gloria Steinem: Women of Vision Award for her pioneering work in addressing violence against refugee women in the United States.  She is cited in the "Who's Who in the 2lst Century", Who's Who of Emerging Leaders, Who's Who of Women in the East, Who's Who of American Women, Millennium Edition, among others. Ms. Wali is Vice President and Treasurer of Sisterhood Is Global Institute (SIGI) based in Montreal, Canada.

Ms. Wali has led several missions to Pakistan to assess Afghan women's human rights needs and concerns and to provide technical assistance and capacity-building training to hundreds of Afghan women and men community-based practitioners.  Her testimonials on this issue before the U.S. Congress and the State Department, and her joint advocacy with human rights groups resulted in U.S. government appropriation of $2.5 million in support of Afghan women's efforts in 1999.  

Ms. Wali has conducted  needs assessment surveys among Afghan civic groups providing services in the education, health, social services, emergency relief and human rights sectors in Pakistan and inside Afghanistan.  As an expert in the field of development and reconstruction she has conceptualized and advocated for long-term civil society programs aimed at empowering indigenous civil society institutions in Afghanistan.

Most recently Ms. Wali served as one of three female delegates to the U.N. Peace Talks on Afghanistan.  As a delegate to His Majesty, the Former King of Afghanistan in the Bonn Talks, she was instrumental in introducing the creation of the Ministry of Women's Affairs  and nominating Afghan women to serve in the Interim Government of Afghanistan.  Ms. Wali served as the chief organizer of the Afghan Women's Summit convened by Equality Now, the European Women's Lobby, V-Day and UNIFEM held in Brussels in December 200l.  

Ms. Wali was invited by the United Nations to deliver the keynote speech on Afghan Women celebrating International Women's Day on March 8, 2002.   

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