Dr. Widad – Woman of the year

Dr. Widad Akreyi Honoured Woman of the Year 2020



Oslo-LondonNovember 10, 2020 – Co-founder of Defend International, Dr. Widad Akreyi, was handpicked as a Woman of the Year 2020 for her achievements and for being an inspirational international woman, someone whom others look up to.

A dynamic global icon of courage distinguished for her strong personality and high sense of duty, Dr. Widad Akreyi has a heart of compassion and an inner strength that has allowed her to persevere against all odds. In addition to her life-long commitment to social justice, she has advocated against gender-based violence, illicit arms trade and the use of rape and enslavement as weapons of war. Among her decorations are the prestigious Pacem in Terris Peace and Freedom Award, the International Woman Harmony Award, the Davenport Mayor Medal and the International Pfeffer Peace Award, along with the Prize for bridging the gap between cultures.

The Women of the Year honours and shines a light on extraordinary women from across the world by inviting them to attend a special celebratory lunch. In February 2020, chair of Women of the Year Catherine Roe invited Dr. Widad to this year’s Women of the Year Lunch, saying, “To be invited is, in itself, an accolade. As someone who has been such an inspiration to others, we really do hope that you will be able to attend.” Dr. Widad did accept the invitation. The Lunch was supposed to take place in London on October 12th. However, due to the restrictions imposed on holding live events as governments attempt to stem the spread of Covid-19, the Lunch was replaced with a virtual event that was held on November 10th.

An epidemiologist and author, Dr. Widad represents the symbol of hope and the moral voice of the voiceless. The Award-winning champion for peace and human rights has inspired people not only in her region of birth, Kurdistan and the Middle East, but around the globe. Among her publications are Females of ValorZoroastrians’ Fight for Survival, and The Daughter of Kurdland: A Life Dedicated to Humankind.

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For further information and to arrange interviews with the honouree, please contact media@defendinternational.org


Dr. Widad is a preeminent peace-builderhumanitarian and human rights defender. A winner of several awards, the renowned champion of justice and gender equality has become a global voice for the voiceless, first and foremost the women and girls abducted, sold and enslaved in the Middle East. Originally from Kurdistan, Widad now lives in the West and holds a Master’s degree in genetics and a PhD in global health and cancer epidemiology. Not only has she been on the Executive Board of a variety of national and international organisations like Education for Global Peace, Women of Europe Award and Amnesty International, but she has also successfully advocated for the adoption of three international UN agreements (Arms Trade Treaty, Declaration of Commitment to End Sexual Violence in Conflict, and a resolution Dedicated to Questions of Small Arms and Light Weapons) and served as ambassador of Stop Torture campaign and Stop Violence against Females campaign. For more information please visit Dr. Widads website at widad.org

The United-Kingdom-based Women of the Year celebrates women from all walks of life, each handpicked for their achievements and contribution to society. Each woman represents not only herself but also the millions of extraordinary women who make a difference every day.