The Future of Women in the Middle East: Vision and Voice Policy Report

JST Vision and Voice from the Middle East saw the return of over 70 alumni of the JST-FCO Rule of Law Fellowship to London. The three-day event that was held from the 6th-8th March 2015 celebrated the establishment of the Middle East Leadership Network and the 120 social action projects which have been supported across the region since 2011. Returning Fellows from 2014 all reported on their projects, which are currently in progress, promoting the Rule of Law and good governance in Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Oman. Many are dealing directly with the consequences of the war in Syria and the rise of ISIS while others are making the Rule of Law work in challenging economic, social and political contexts. They all embody the ethos of John Smith: an ethos of public service to community and country; a philosophy based on asking “Why not?”

Coinciding with International Women’s Day, the event was focused on the theme of Gender and the Rule of Law. Fellows worked in breakout groups to discuss issues around Rule of Law, Women and Conflict Transformation; Gender, Equality and Freedom of Expression; Women, Politics, Choice and Voice; and Wealth, Distribution, Technology and Employment in the Future Middle East within the context of their own countries with specific ideas and concepts contributing to the development of a Policy Report that maps out areas in which JST Fellows might work together to address these issues, areas in which their projects will have an impact and areas in which they would see the need for foreign assistance.