Unspoken Connection


18 days in Lebanon. There is an unspoken connection among women, no matter your location in life. I feel it in the knowing glances, raised eyebrows, and vaguely masked smiles. Visiting a Syrian refugee camp in the Beqaa Valley, the unspoken connection was a young woman beckoning me into her kitchen as she prepared iftar dinner with her husband’s other wife. A few days prior, sitting in the living room of a Kurdish-Syrian family, the same unspoken connection was felt in the smiles of a woman, her daughter, and her sister-in-law as they proudly served Nescafe and told me about their journey from Syria to the partially finished building just outside of Beirut they now occupied.

Women In Conflict goes to Beirut in 8 days!

June is about to get real. I leave for Beirut in 8 days. Yes, 8. Flights booked. Lodging confirmed. Airport taxi arranged.

The Women In Conflict (WinC) project has been nearly a decade in the making. If you’ve spent any time around me in the past 8 years, you’ve likely suffered through my rants on “supposed gender-neutral” foreign policy and felt slightly alarmed upon witnessing my unusually large collection of terrorism-related books. You’ve probably glanced in shock at my massive project budget spreadsheets, and I know you’ve whispered a little “what the hell” under your breath after hearing my plans for field research. Every bone in my body believes in this work. I know the Women In Conflict project will change the way we understand what is ‘woman’, especially in conflict settings. Documenting women’s lived experience is absolutely critical to redefining women as more than passive victims. Moreover, by listening to women, rather than speaking for women, we tell women “your voice matters … you matter.”

Please consider supporting this work here.

New Workshop Series with Global Insight

Exciting news! Global Insight  is starting a new series of workshops.

Join me June 11th @ 1-5p in Midtown Manhattan

Learn how gender analysis is applied to logic models, results frameworks, and theories of change.

If your work touches international development, domestic or international aid, organizing, or human rights, you’ll likely find our next workshop extremely helpful.

Limited space, but all are welcome. RSVP here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/gender-analysis-for-logic-models-results-frameworks-theories-of-change-tickets-17020444608

More info on other Global Insight workshops/events here: http://g-insight.org/events/

Our team also develops customized workshops for organizations.  Please contact me if your organization would like to learn more.

Queen of Madina

Madina, Accra, GhanaFrom the car I saw her. Brown and gold layers of cloth enveloping a distinctive figure rich with the righteous scars of creating and bearing witness to life. Her skin weathered but her hands strong, she inhabited a space physically demanding and emotionally taxing, all while maintaining a knowing calm. Whereas I struggled to restore a semblance of ‘zen’ amongst the chaos of the market – imagine store fronts masked by a wave of makeshift stalls occupying every nook and cranny of streets and alleys, which pulsed with hundreds of simultaneous negotiations all set to the soundtrack of local Ghanaian music interrupted by competing horns in a sauna-like heat – this woman effortlessly reconnected with vendors who had clearly become old friends after decades of patronage. Arguably the informal Queen of Madina, this woman reminded me of the powerful and often overlooked role women play in our communities. Her movement built upon an understanding of things from the vantage point of an observer whose survival requires managing the intricacies of a system that often favors the needs of others above her own.

Read more in my latest newsletter hereSubscribe to receive project updates and personal notes in your inbox.