“I want the stories of marginalized groups to be heard”

Ola Salem, 23 years, lives in Ramallah in Palestine. She finished her law degree at Birzeit University with a special focus on international law and human rights.

Over the course of her studies, Ola has worked as a research assistant and completed several trainee programmes focusing on human rights and humanitarian law.

As one of this year’s recipients of the 1325-scholarship for women, peace and security in memory of Zaida Catalán, Ola will work for the organization The Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy (MIFTAH), based in Ramallah. MIFTAH was established 1998 and seeks to promote democracy and good governance in the Palestinian society.

How do you want to contribute to MIFTAH’s work with women, peace and security?

– I aspire to contribute to MIFTAH’s work by writing about the marginalized groups and delivering their voices by telling their story about the human rights violations that they experience. I believe in their stories and I believe they should not be alone in it. I want their stories to be heard by as many people as possible.

Where does your commitment to these issues stem from?

– My main motivation is to raise awareness about the human rights violations that occur to marginalized groups. I want to raise their own awareness about their human rights, and I want to raise awareness among people who do not know about the violations that these marginalized groups live with every single day.

What does the scholarship mean to you?

– It is an opportunity to deepen my understanding about human rights and international law in the Palestinian context, as well as an opportunity to work on the international advocacy department in Miftah to contribute to shedding the light on the human rights violations that occur to the Palestinians in the international platforms. I expect to deepen my knowledge in the field of international law in every sector, which I believe will guide me to the right place and enable me to be a part of the change that I hope to see in the world.

What do you aim for in the future?

– I aspire to be a human rights advocate and shed light on the human rights violations that occur to the Palestinian people internationally in addition to sharing the knowledge that I gain in this field with as many people as possible.

About the scholarship in support of women, peace and security in memory of Zaida Catalán

In 2020, FBA was tasked by the Swedish Government to establish a scholarship aimed at supporting the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 on women, peace and security. The purpose is to pay attention to young peacebuilders who are working to promote women’s participation in conflict resolution. The scholarship is established in memory of Zaida Catalán, who was seconded from FBA to several international peace operations where she served as gender expert.

Scholarship in support of women, peace and security in memory of Zaida Catalán

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