Albert Hirschman Centre on Democracy
04 April 2024

Women* on the move: gender, forced migration, and peacebuilding

Women* activists and researchers will be addressing issues of peacebuilding and forced migration from feminist perspectives. Approximately thirty participants from diverse backgrounds and origins will engage in dialogue and reflection on these phenomena, aiming to generate guidelines for public action. 

The workshop *Women on the Move: Gender, forced migration, and peacebuilding aims to create a space for encounters and collaborative work among women* activists in situations of forced migration, social researchers, and allies. The goal is to facilitate exchange among women who, through their migration experiences and activism, develop feminist political initiatives both locally and transnationally on peace-related issues.

The workshop is coordinated by Gina Wirz-Suárez, Graduate Institute Geneva, currently on academic exchange at GRETA (University Pompeu Fabra), and María Eugenia Blandón from the Memory, Coexistence, and Reconciliation area of the ICIP (Catalan Institute for Peace). The project is funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation and the Memory, Coexistence, and Reconciliation Area of the Catalan International Peace Institute.

It is facilitated by the methodological and pedagogical expertise of Mar Maiques Díaz, a specialist in peace education, methodological-pedagogical innovation in conflict resolution, and prevention from feminist perspectives. We also have the collaboration of Sol Trejos (LaSole), guest illustrator for the graphic piece of the conferences.

Workshop Description 

The workshop Women* on the Move: Gender, Forced Migration and Peacebuilding aims to create a space for meeting and collaboration between women* activists in situations of forced migration, social researchers and allies. The aim is to facilitate exchange between women who, through their experiences of migration and as peace activists, are developing feminist political initiatives both locally and transnationally. 

It promotes a reading that goes beyond the place of "victims" by including women of the diaspora, refugees, migrants and exiles in international action, and thus their slow recognition as active agents in peacebuilding scenarios. On the contrary, from these conferences we make visible roles as political subjects, active and proposing concrete political changes, such as in negotiations, conflict resolution and mediation, transitional justice processes, political advocacy, among other personal, collective and community processes in search of peace. 

When we speak of women* on the move, we use broad terms such as exile, diaspora, or forced migration to account for the intertwining of collective action and migratory experience. We focus on the narratives and stakes that emerge from gender and intersectional approaches, the care and life experiences of women and communities affected by the dynamics of political violence, war and armed conflict, and who find themselves in a situation of forced migration.  We address the particularities and forms of differential affectation as a result of gender-based violence against women activists and their representations, crossed by economic and social affectation from their countries of origin.

We promote an intersectional approach based on the recognition of factors such as gender, age, sexuality, race, class, origin and/or migration status. In recent years, gender studies and feminist movements have broadened their focus to include the identification of intertwined and grounded social characteristics that influence openings for political participation, as well as challenging the exclusive origins of knowledge concentrated in and by the Global North. On the contrary, we promote a scenario of recognition of the Global South and border epistemologies, elevating social experiences as generators of social knowledge. 

In cities like Barcelona, with a historical tradition of solidarity and peace actions, women* from different geographical origins have mobilized encounters and political change. Women on the move not only promote acts of solidarity and denunciation towards their countries, but also strengthen transnational bridges in which they are protagonists. For example, the experience of the participation of women's organizations of the diaspora in different parts of the world in the context of the Truth Commission has been innovative and very important for its contributions both to the inclusion of victims abroad and to the participation in the collection of testimonies. At this moment in Barcelona, different proposals of organizations of women from different backgrounds are coming together in order to contribute to the construction of peace in different countries and, at the same time, to establish dialogues and encounters among them. 


Aims of the event: 

  • To bring together feminist actions and political perspectives on peacebuilding, focusing on the specific experiences and challenges of forced migration.
  • To explore and understand the interactions, dynamics and actors that facilitate social research and advocacy on issues of gender, forced migration and peacebuilding.  
  • To promote a pedagogical and methodological approach focused on peace education for social cohesion and care by discussing advocacy, political action and social research.



Carmen Geha (Lebanon/Spain) is an activist and academic specializing in the politics of inclusion/exclusion in the Arab Middle East and North Africa. She holds a Ph.D. in International Relations from the University of St. Andrews and is the Maria Zambrano Fellow at the Interdisciplinary Research Group on Migration at UPF (GRITIM-UPF).

Gina Wirz-Suárez (Colombia/Switzerland) is a PhD candidate in Sociology at the Graduate Institute of Geneva. Her current research interests revolve around the political activism of exiled and migrant women in peacebuilding, migration policies and other political scenarios. She studies the Colombian case in Europe, taking into account social movement perspectives, transnational participation, gender mainstreaming and forced migration experiences.

Sheida Besozzi (Iran/Italy/Basque Country) Researcher at Hegoa, Institute of Studies on Development and International Cooperation (UPV/EHU) and Lecturer at the Department of Applied Economics of UPV/EHU, Faculty of Labor Relations and Social Work (Leioa). Her research focuses on transnational migration, diaspora studies, resistance studies, and gender and feminist studies, with a special interest in the Middle East and Iran.

Helga Flamtermesky (Colombia/Spain) Social activist and researcher specializing in mental health related to gender and migration. Doctorate in Social Psychology from the Autonomous University of Barcelona. Coordinator of Mujer Diáspora. She works for the empowerment and healing of migrant women, and as an academic she develops methodologies that position migrant women as peacemakers.

Selima Kebaili (Tunisia/France/Switzerland) Senior Lecturer at the University of Geneva (Institute of Gender Studies). Her research focuses on gender, justice, violence and victimization, mainly in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region and Europe. She received her Ph.D. in Sociology from the EHESS in Paris in 2021 and holds degrees in Gender Studies and Political Science from the University of Montreal. 

Check out the complete document