Maine Law’s 2018 Justice For Women Lecturer to discuss The Struggle for Human Rights: From Syria to Maine

Mariam JalabiMariam Jalabi, the Director of the Syrian National Coalition’s Office at the United Nations in New York, will visit Maine next week (March 27-30) for the seventh annual Justice For Women (JFW) Lecture, presented by the University of Maine School of Law. She will discuss The Struggle for Human Rights: From Syria to Maine. The Hon. Angus S. King, Jr., United States Senator for Maine, will introduce Ms. Jalabi.

Born in Damascus, Syria and raised in the Golan Heights, Ms. Jalabi ran a fashion company until the Syrian Civil War began in 2011. She has been actively involved in democratic advocacy since the war began and is a passionate advocate for women’s inclusion in the Syrian peace process. Along with directing the Syrian National Coalition’s New York office to the UN since 2013, she is a founding member of the Syrian Non-Violence Movement, a member of the Syrian Opposition High Negotiations Committee’s Women’s Advisory Committee, and works with the Syrian Women’s Network and the Syrian Feminist Lobby. She holds degrees from McGill University and the Fashion Institute of Technology.

At 7:00 pm on Thursday, March 29, Ms. Jalabi will deliver the Justice For Women Lecture at the Abromson Community Education Center in Portland. The public can register online for this free event.

“Syria raises a fundamental question about the protection of basic human rights. Ms. Jalabi’s visit provides the opportunity to confront the realities of armed conflict and collateral damage – with a focus on the insidious impact that such conflict has on women and girls – and the need to develop geopolitical strategies for the right kind of humanitarian intervention that can facilitate peaceful, safe, and stable local governance,” said Danielle Conway, Dean and Professor of Law at the University of Maine School of Law.

The JFW Lecture Series brings speakers to Maine each year to discuss their work and strategies to promote justice for women and girls. Maine Law established the series in 2011 with leadership and support from attorney and civic leader Catherine Lee of Lee International.

Previous JFW lecturers were:

  • Hon. Unity Dow (2012) –  the first woman to serve as a judge on Botswana’s High Court.
  • Leymah Gbowee (2013) – an activist and women’s rights advocate who won a Nobel Peace Prize for helping to end civil war in Liberia.
  • Dr. Sima Samar (2014) – chair of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission, and founder of the Shuhada Organization.
  • Ruchira Gupta (2015) of India – a global leader in the fight against sex trafficking and the founder and president of Apne Aap Women Worldwide.
  • Dr. Lindiwe Sibanda (2016) of Zimbabwe – CEO and head of mission of the Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN).
  • Zainah Anwar (2017) of Malaysia – Director of Musawah and Founding Member and former Executive Director of Sisters in Islam.
  • Hon. Albie Sachs of South Africa also participated as a special lecturer in 2013.

2018 Courage is Contagious Award

The 2018 Courage is Contagious Award will be presented during the March 29th lecture to Dr. Joyce Taylor Gibson, Dean of the University of Southern Maine’s Lewiston-Auburn College. Dean Gibson earned her Ph.D. in Educational Administration from the University of Florida, Gainsville, her M.A. in Rehabilitation Counseling from George Washington University, and her B,S. in Psychology from Howard University. She is a leader in student affairs, community-university partnerships, and organizational change, with social justice as her lens.  Her writing focuses on access and support for underrepresented and first generation students in higher education.

Dean Gibson is the third recipient of the Courage is Contagious Award. The 2016 award was presented to Catherine Lee of Lee International, and the 2017 award was presented to Westbrook Chief of Police Janine L. Roberts. This award is presented annually at the Justice For Women Lecture to an outstanding woman leader who demonstrates a commitment to the mission of the Justice For Women Lecture Series which is to raise awareness in Maine about the injustices women and girls face globally and locally.

The Justice For Women Lecture Fund, an endowed fund, was created with the goal of sustaining the JFW Lecture Series in perpetuity. Supporters can make a gift to the lecture series using our online form.