Zahira Kamal (Palestine)
General-Secretary of the Palestinian Democratic Union party
“The first time Rama came with Theatre of Transformation to Palestine to share experiences of different people in the world, we didn’t see ourselves anymore as ‘lonely’ people, as we saw that there are many people in the world living in the same challenging conditions. It is important for the Theatre of Transformation to be able to exchange experiences, by putting our efforts together, so that we can make changes in the world, and create a world that is stable, where people love each other, share pains, and accept others, instead of trying to change others.”
Zahira Kamal has played a major role in Palestinian society. Starting from the traditional role of woman as a teacher, she became a political activist at a young age. Since 1975, she has been in the vanguard of the Palestinian women’s movement.
As General Secretary of the Palestinian Democratic Union (FIDA Party) Zahira is the first ever female secretary-general of a Palestinian political party. She was the first Minister of Women’s Affairs in the Palestinian cabinet, and established the first gender planning and development directorate at the Ministry of Planning. She was one of three women who participated in the early 1990s negotiations with Israel.
Zahira is a founding member of some of the longest standing and most dynamic women’s movements in Palestine. These include Women’s Action Committee, Women Studies Center, Women Center for Legal Aid and Counselling and Women’s Affairs Technical Committee. She is also a Co-Founder of Asala: Palestinian Business Women’s Association. From 2006 to 2013 she was the Director of Palestinian Women Research and Documentation Center, a UNESCO project.
She is a Co-Founder of Jerusalem Link and the International Women Commission for Just Peace between Palestinians and Israelis. The IWC brought together Israeli and Palestinian women leaders for 20 years, and they also traveled together to meet women in other war-torn countries, until the IWC was dissolved in 2010.
Zahira Kamal has received several awards including Honorary Citizenship from Bologna (Italy), and from Los Angeles (USA), the Freedom and Human Rights Prize in Bern (Switzerland), the Peace Builder Award from American Friends of Neva Shalom. She was nominated as one of thousand women deserving the Nobel Peace Prize.