Aisha Alshawaf

EWL’s 2021 General Assembly

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European Women’s Lobby GA

After a year that has affected the lives of all of us, European Women’s Lobby GA is a chance for the members and staff to discuss the disproportionate effect of the Covid-19 pandemic on women and girls. With hopes of this being the last virtual General Assembly, EWL members will reflect on the work achieved in the challenging months behind and discuss ways forward in the midst of a backlash against women’s rights to see how we can mobilise together in the next year to have the greatest impact in advancing women’s and girls’ rights as part of our vision for a Feminist Europe.

We would like to send our best wishes to EWL members as they embark on this important meeting this weekend. This particular GA will be especially relevant, as our Treasurer Annelies Pierrot has finished her period of office as EWL Treasurer and executive board member, her almost 7 years work is much appreciated.

A new Board will be elected and it will coincide with the election of a new President. We wish all the happiness and success to the departing president Gwendoline Lefebvre.

Our Vice President Aisha Alshawaf will be standing for election as representative of UWE on the board of EWL. We support her and wish her all the best .

New normal

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I feel delighted, with some degree of trepidation, to be able to reach out to members and friends. Since the last month the normal day to day life has gone upside down to say the least. Few normal activities have gone and new ones grown, it is a crisis that has been faced by each and every person in their own way. I would like to share and reach out with positive solidarity my experiences in the last month.

A big section of my daily routine was working as a dentist that has stopped completely due to high risk of airborne infection, with a job that relies on face to face proximity working. Moving to advice over the phone is not the same I can assure you; at its best very frustrating. The profession has produced strict regulations accordingly. I found myself involved in more than one society and professional forum to try and find the best way forward. I am part of the continuous professional discussion, looking at evidence coming from national and international sources to assess how to provide emergency care locally. Having the experience of fit testing to the highly sought after FFP3 masks is quite an eye opener, it was part of volunteering to be in the emergency local hub. I do believe that going back to work will have a new normal with added layers of more definitive PPE.

Communication with the board of UWE has been more frequent, bouncing between formal and informal, that reflected on how we reach out to each other on a personal and formal level. The expanding virtual world that we live in has grown exponentially in the last month. My local Canterbury (CAWG) group has stopped meeting; I was not able to see any of them but social distancing worked to reduce or flatten the curve that we all are eager to watch on a daily basis. New normal came with new words like Zoom, Teams and Skype. I am sure once we get back to work there will be more….. I was fortunate to expand my virtual friends network, and reached out to wider European and International links; while with family and close friends, I lost the joyful social outings replaced by face time and house party! I sensed the worry in the voice of the more vulnerable sections of our society, it made me more focused on social distancing.

With reaching out to new horizons for me I joined a wider group to listen & participate in a monthly NGO Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) meeting from New York done through ZOOM (this important new word) to discuss Covid -19 and Feminist action.

The chairwoman Houry Geudelekian welcomed 284 participants. I had to scroll through the participants to see if I recognised any and to my delight Catriona Sutherland from Graduate Women Scotland was in that list. Houry reassured participants that the work continues even with lock down, namely Beijing +25. Her vice president Ivy Koek followed by introducing the speakers. The range was global, impressive and all with current work that helps in solidarity. To summarise I shall mention some with brief indication to what they discussed:

Vivek Rai UN liaison reported on rise in violence against women and the need to stay in contact with marginalized communities who might find it difficult to access a virtual space to get the support.

Marianna Leite on behalf of the alliance for gender justice emphasized the care for each other even if we don’t know them and this is so vital during this period at all levels.

Tesa Arzqueta delivered an impressive take on the response in NY city against domestic violence and the importance of what they created as a one stop shop walk in center for family justice. A question to our leaders is how much of this model is available in other cities.

Bridget Burnes (University Innovation Alliance) spoke about feminist alliances around the world and keeping the momentum going will be significant in our new normal.

Last but not least Anushka Kalyanpur, a graduate of the very first course on rapid gender analysis, gave statistics on the increase in unpaid care roles for women. Her work gave solid facts about current reduction in health care in relation to access for sexual reproduction, and the global awareness of the increase in violence against women.

The gain and the loss of this period will make up my new normal.


Aisha Alshawaf

Vice president University Women of Europe


Reflection on EWL GA Brussels 7-9 June

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Board members EWL and Aisha Alshawaf, Observer

Two of our board members attended the General Assembly for the European Women’s Lobby in Brussels 7-8 June:  Annelies Pierrot – Bults, executive member of the assembly, Treasurer  and Aisha Alshawaf as an Observer.

The theme was making Europe work for women, EWL envisions a society in which women’s contribution to all aspects of life is recognized, rewarded and celebrated .
We had an interesting, stimulating and productive agenda dealing with strategic review emphasizing gender equality in EU manifesto and Gender equality in trade policy .
Our time during those days contributed to Alliances with other organisations to influence change we defiantly have shared strategy with like minded organisation cross the board from European countries. A time well spent and will bring positive energy to UWE, hopefully you will join us in Geneva and get more details from Annelies on her work with EWL economic working group.

Briefly about UWE Meet & Greet – Dundee

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What a time to be in Dundee, congratulation Graduate Women of Scotland for hosting such a wonderful event and many thanks to all the speakers and our participants for being a part of it.

On day one, we were welcomed on a sunny weather at the University of Dundee by Dr Ajit Trivedi Director Department of Equality and Diversity, showing us no wonder why we are here, gender stuff profile being mostly women.

Then Dr Fiona Sutherland introduced UWE Board participants : VP Aisha Alshawaf with a message from President Anne Negre not being present, VP Pina Foti, Secretary General Roxana Elena Petrescu with a short presentation of UWE and our work, Treasurer Annelies Pierrot Builts joined us immediately after the tea break.

After Catherine Bell former President of GWI sharing her identity and her story and Dr Eileen Focke-Bakker reminding us about the most expected event of the year “GWI Triennal Conference – Geneva”, we were getting excited to see inspirational women telling their stories about how their career/life has not taken the route they initially planned.

Erica Hensens, Director of Quality & Academic Standards at the University of Dundee telling her story from leadership of a male dominated Students Union to directorship of one of the top MBA programmes in the world.

Dr Sarah Haq, Saudi Arabia origin moved to Pakistan, studying Dental Public Health, currently a Masters Student at the University of Dundee , involved in many philanthropic and fundraising activities: offering free dental treatments and helping families to have access to clean water facilities and dental health in Pakistan, calling education “a long journey to become herself”.

Angie Foreman with an impressive empowerment work with women, she has created award winning social enterprises, community empowerment models and Corporate Social Responsibility programmes for the Coca Cola 5 by 20 projects, to the benefit of hundreds of women, her vision is “pulling together “all women that want to start a business regardless of their social/cultural background or economic situation.

Dee Gates with an incredible story, changing from man to woman, today legally classified woman, somehow reminding us of the book by David Ebershoff – “The Danish Girl”.

Why My Identity, My Story? Rachel Marsh – GWS explained there will be an ebook that will commemorate the delegates who attend the 2019 UWE Meet & Greet by highlighting their lives and achievements, everyone has a unique story that has helped to shape our identity, there is still time to email it to by 10 June 2019.

Later on, all the delegates where officially welcomed by Dundee City Council in the City Chambers of Dundee and first evening ended with a welcome meal in Dundee Rep. Restaurant.

On our second day, we had thoughts from three different women:

Pushing the boundaries of forensic science and daring to think with Professor Niamh Nic Daeid, Director of the Leverhulme Research Centre for Forensic Science, University of Dundee, the only woman to receive the Pete Ganci Award for Fire Investigation and the Distinguished Forensic Scientist award from the European Network of Forensic Science Institutes.

What women don’t say publicly about careers in academic science, but should with Dr Ishbel Duncan, Director of Scottish Informatics and Computer Science Alliance, University of St. Andrews, currently on the Gender Pay Equality committee and a veteran of Athena Swan bids,  introduced MSc programmes and supervised many MSc and PhD dissertations students, she is vocal against stress caused by work overload, dealing with student stress and anxiety, her Labrador is a recognized therapist for use in the University.

Women in Games, Applied Games by Professor Ruth Falconer, Leader of Games Technology and Mathematics Division, School of Design and Informatics, University of Dundee, interested in the broader use of games technology including games engines, graphics hardware and related infrastructure to develop intuitive and playable models of complex systems, current areas of application Water – Energy  – Food – nexus, Microbial Ecology, Health, Social Care.  Recently appointed as an executive board member for Women in Games to ensure there is equal opportunity and treatment for those entering the games industry, she’s working to increase gender diversity on the games programming and technology courses at Abertay University.

Then the most expected moment of the day – storytelling “Pechakuchas”, 20 slides presentations for 20 seconds of commentary each (6 minutes total) and they did it admirably to the audience’s delight:  Ora Sharon,  Aisha Alshawaf, Fiona Sutherland, Rachel Marsh and Susie Schofield.

We went to hear another story about Dundee’s jute at Verdant WorksScotland’s Jute Museum for lunch and an interesting tour, learning more about women on trades, it was Dundee’s womenfolk on whom the city”s prosperity was built.

Our evening Ceilidh successfully competed Eurovision song contest with sing-along-a-graduate women, everybody singing or dancing or simply having fun.

And finally, after two superbe days spent together in Dundee, some of us went on tour to visit Glamis Castle -the childhood home of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother-to recharge batteries and find inspiration for our life stories.



2018 GWISB Seminar

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BFWG is honoured to host the inaugural meeting of the English speaking subgroup of UWE:
Graduate Women International Ireland Scotland and Britain (GWISB)
Patrice Wellesley-Cole, President of BFWG invites you to a seminar:
‘A Celebration of 100 years of Women’s Suffrage in the UK’
(—-and 90 years of all women getting the vote)
On: Saturday 22nd September 2018
Venue: Chancellors Hotel, Moseley Road, Fallowfield, Manchester M14 6NN
0161 9077414

Registration: 10.30 Tea, Coffee & Biscuits; Welcome: Patrice Wellesley-Cole
Chairman: Jenny Morley, Coordinator of European Relations
11.00-12.00 Lyndsey Jenkins, BA, MA, MSc Biographer, writer & historian, D Phil student at Wolfson College, Oxford, & BFWG Scholarship Awardee
‘Votes for Women’, Radical cause and rallying cry: histories of the British Women’s Suffrage campaign
There will be an opportunity for questions and reflective discussion after the presentation.
12.00-13.00 Carrie de Silva MA, LlB
Principal Lecturer at Harper Adams University, Vice President of BFWG
‘People & Property’: the extraordinary career of the first woman chartered surveyor
There will be an opportunity for questions and reflective discussion after the presentation.
13.00-14.30 Buffet Lunch and networking in the Conservatory Lounge
14.30-15.30 Dr Lauren Arrington BA (Hons), MA (Hons), D Phil (Oxon), FRHistS Senior Lecturer at the Institute of Irish Studies, University of Liverpool
‘Lessons from the First Wave’
A long view of #MeToo and intersectional feminist discourse
There will be an opportunity for questions and reflective discussion after the presentation
15.30-16.00 Future plans: Chaired by Aisha Alshawaf, Vice President of UWE
Discussion of frequency, topics and next venues for GWISB meetings
16.00 Tea, Coffee & refreshments
*Optional: Evening meal at Carriage Restaurant (Chancellors)
19.00-22.00 Chef’s choice of three course set menu (wine not included)
*For Members and guests staying overnight there is a further option of a Sunday morning visit to Pankhurst Centre (details TBC)
(A donation will be made to the Centre depending on the number of participants)
A special rate of £74.95 pp B&B (single occupancy) has been agreed, subject to availability. Please contact the hotel directly for details and to book quoting ref (213525)

To Register please complete form below and return it with a cheque made out to BFWG to: Aisha Alshawaf, 9 Tankerton Heights, and Whitstable CT5 2BW UK

If you are paying by BACS transfer please ensure your name and ‘September Seminar’ appears in the reference line: NatWest Clapham Junction, 66-68 St John’s Rd, SW11 1PB
E mail: with any enquiries.
Booking form
Special dietary requirements ………………………………………………………………………………….
Federation and Association/Independent………………………………………………………
Day delegate rate including buffet lunch and three course dinner………… £73
Day rate including buffet lunch but excluding dinner…………………………… £48
Additional dinner ……………………………………………………………………………..£25
Total =
Please indicate if you are paying by cheques or BACS………………………………………….
Are you interested in the Sunday am visit to the Pankhurst Museum?…………………….
All bookings will be acknowledged by e-mail
(If you require postal acknowledgment please include a SAE)
Closing date 03/09/2018

Aisha Alshawaf – UWE Vice President Candidate

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UWE Board is pleased to announce first candidate for Vice President: Aisha Alshawaf, immediate past Vice-President of The British
Federation of Women Graduates.

Click on the link to read her application form

Click on the link to read the recommendation letter from British Federation of Women Graduates signed by Dr G.E. Banner PhD,  Immediate Past President.

She also has the support of their CER Jenny Morley.

The candidate is required to present herself during 5 minutes at the UWE Conference in GRAZ AUSTRIA 24-26 August 2017 to be elected at the AGM.

Other applications by the NFA in a letter of recommendation should be accompanied by a CV, photograph and a motivational letter stating the candidate will accept the Vice Presidency.

Applications should be made to to arrive ten days before the AGM, i.e. by 15th of August 2017 at the latest.