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Hybrid Exhibition Event: The Yezidi Genocide today – ‘It’s been nine years, and we are still there, in the tent’

May 23 @ 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm

This event is organised as part of the Genocidal Captivity exhibition events series. Participants can register to attend in person or online.

What are the challenges facing Yezidi genocide survivors and internally displaced people living in the camps of northern Iraq today? How is Yezidi society changing? How do survivors feel about returning to their homes in Sinjar, the administration of the Iraqi government compensation scheme, and efforts to seek justice and accountability? And how are humanitarian organisations trying to help them meet these needs?

Join exhibition curators Dr Rebecca Jinks and Dr Christine Schmidt in conversation with Hewan Omer and Khalida Ilyas, Country Director and Livelihoods Manager of Yezidi charity Free Yezidi Foundation (FYF), which partnered in gathering the research for the exhibition Genocidal Captivity.  FYF supports the Yezidi community in the aftermath of the 2014 Yezidi Genocide.

FYF promotes the rights and well-being of Yezidis in Iraq and the diaspora, with an emphasis on women’s empowerment, the pursuit of justice, and helping the community rebuild through trauma treatment, education, training, and economic development.

About the Speakers

Hewan Omer is Country Director of the Free Yezidi Foundation (FYF). Hewan is one of thousands of Yezidis who fled ISIS’ genocide against the community in 2014, enduring the struggles and discrimination that came with protracted displacement. After graduating with an English degree from the University of Duhok in 2016, she worked as a translator and interpreter, English language instructor, secretary, and women’s rights advocate. Having experienced religious and gender-based discrimination in previous jobs, Hewan came to FYF with a strong dedication to fight for the rights of Yezidis, particularly women. She has been a profound changemaker, helping the community rebuild through trauma treatment, education, training, and economic development. In 2020, Hewan was nominated to become a member of CARE’s Global Women’s Advisory Board for Advocacy – a forum that brings together feminist leaders and activists from around the world. As a member of the board, she advocates for the rights of women, supporting and empowering them to obtain justice, and amplifies the unheard stories of ISIS survivors. Hewan regularly meets with high-level government officials and visiting delegations to explain the plight of the Yezidis. She is a skilled public speaker who has advocated for the Yezidi cause at international conferences, commencement events, virtual panels, and media outlets. As FYF’s Country Director, Hewan oversees the organization’s operations in Iraq, empowering her colleagues to build their capacities and step into leadership roles.

Khalida Ilyas is Country Director and Livelihoods Manager of the Free Yezidi Foundation (FYF). Khalida, a biology graduate turned humanitarian, has been pivotal in rebuilding livelihoods post-Yezidi Genocide. Rising from translator to Livelihoods Manager at the Free Yezidi Foundation, she leads programs empowering Yezidi and other vulnerable women with skills and income generation opportunities. Khalida manages programming at the Foundation’s Enterprise and Training Center, driving economic independence and community resilience.

Dr Rebecca Jinks is a historian of comparative genocide and humanitarianism at Royal Holloway, University of London. She is the author of Representing Genocide: The Holocaust as Paradigm?, which examines the ways in which representations of the Holocaust have influenced how other genocides are understood and represented, focusing on the ‘canonical’ cases of genocide – Armenia, Cambodia, Bosnia, and Rwanda. Her current research project, ‘Genocidal Captivity’, is funded by the AHRC and explores the experiences of Armenian and Yezidi women genocide survivors in 1915 and 2014.

Dr Christine Schmidt is the Deputy Director and Head of Research at The Wiener Holocaust Library. Her research has focused on postwar tracing and documentation efforts, the concentration camp system in Nazi Germany, and comparative studies of collaboration, rescue and resistance in France and Hungary. Her current project focuses on a collection of survivor accounts recorded by the Library and led by Eva Reichmann in the 1950s.

Virtual Event guidelines:

  1. The Library will send you a Zoom link and joining instructions via email prior to the event. Please check your junk email folders.
  2. Please try and join 5 minutes before the event start time and we will let you into the room (do try and bear with us if this takes a few minutes).
  3. If you would like to ask a question during the event, please type your question into the chat function, and we will endeavour to answer as many questions as possible during the Q&A. Your webcam will not be seen during this event.

This event is free, although registration via the link below is required. Please note that our free events are run by staff volunteers. Thank you for your patience should we have any technical or audio difficulties. We will do our best to correct them but this is not always possible.

Logo of the Free Yezidi Foundation

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