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Mossarat Qadeem

Mossarat Qadeem is a unique figure in her country, Pakistan. As an Executive Director of the PAIMAN Trust, she has spearheaded one of the most innovative and comprehensive programs on promoting peace and social cohesion in a space of violent extremists. PAIMAN, a pioneer in countering violent extremism (CVE) and peacebuilding in Pakistan, has formed local peace structures, mothers and youth peace groups called TOLANA (a Pushto word which means "togetherness"), an effective internal community mechanism which is internationally recognized and applauded as an innovative approach to address violent extremism through creating resilient and vigilant communities in Federally Administered Tribal Areas and Khyber Pukhtunkhwa, an area hard hit by violent extremism for decades. The 55 Youth and 32 Mothers TOLANAs are carrying out community mediation, dialogue, awareness work closely with other community influential and local administration on early warning and response and have helped resolved 54 feuds and averted 8 cases of violent extremism/bomb blasts by unearthing plans of extremists groups. TOLANA today has become a movement which is working against all odds in a non-violent manner to address violent extremism. Mossarat can proudly claim that from this platform she has prevented hundreds and thousands of youths from becoming extremists by creating awareness among community members, by making them vigilant, and above all empower mothers. This program is world-class and has inspired many other initiatives in other parts of the world. An innovator and reformer, she walks into extremists’ homes, schools and workplaces and speaks to those who feel they have no alternative.

With PAIMAN, she established the country’s first center for conflict transformation and peacebuilding, which has helped thousands of young people and women across the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and Khyber Pukhtunkwa province to prevent and resolve conflict.

Ms. Qadeem is an internationally known expert on countering violent extremism and de-radicalization and has contributed to the policy framework development of UNDTEC New York and has spoken thrice at the UN General Assembly on the subject. She partners with many international organizations and is a member of the International Review Panel of Global Community and Resilience Fund (GCERF) and Women Alliance for security Leadership (WASL). She advocates in the realm of Women Peace and Security at the national and international levels.  

To all her work, Ms. Qadeem brings the knowledge and experience she has acquired during her 14 years as a political science professor at the University of Peshawar. She has initiated a unique model of Peace Education by bringing students of elite private schools and Madrassas to build bridges of understanding so as to work collectively for social cohesion and tolerant societies, a model which is now being replicated in other countries as well. Her contribution is the development of supplementary reading material on peace, tolerance and interfaith harmony for students. She also helped expand Amn-O-Nisa, a coalition of women leaders of Pakistan, Afghanistan and India, binding women peace activist of the region to raise their voices for a peaceful region. 

Ms. Qadeem has published two books, written many articles, and produced documentaries on topics including India-Pakistan relations, peace education, youth role in CVE and women’s (particularly mothers’) experiences with conflict and extremism. She epitomizes the essence of women’s leadership and agency in matters of rights, peace and security and is a mentor to hundreds of women leaders inside and outside Pakistan. Mossarat is a thinker and a doer, a strategist, practitioner, and a true activist. Each time Pakistan is touched by a crisis – be it an earthquake or a bombing, she is the first one to respond both in individual and organizational capacity. Invariably she has stepped into the fray: giving blood at the hospital in the aftermath of the school shooting, rallying supplies including sanitary pads for women in the aftermath of the major earthquakes and IDPs crisis.

Mossarat occupies a unique space. She is able to negotiate with local leaders based on her deep understanding of local culture and religious texts, connect directly with grassroots women and inspires them to find their voice, while also challenging international policy makers to improve their interventions in her country. She has held political office and is able to bridge civil society and political space effectively. She navigates a sensitive cultural and political terrain but is so deeply respected and trusted because those who she encounters witness her commitment first hand. 
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