She was awarded the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize earlier this month, and now Nadia Murad is set to bring her empowering message of hope to our shores. The Yazidi campaigner, who in 2016 was kidnapped and sold into sex slavery by Islamic State militants, will be a key speaker at this year’s Investing in the Future Conference (IIFMENA). The Sharjah-based event, which will be held between October 24 and 25, aims to highlight the current and future directions taken by governments and organizations in the region.
Human rights activist Murad will take to the stage at the third edition of the conference to share her extraordinary story, in a bid to encourage the region’s youth to overcome the challenges they face surrounded by war and conflict. It will be the first formal public appearance by the 25-year-old after becoming the first-ever Iraqi recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. Murad was handed the accolade by the Norwegian organization this month, sharing the title with Denis Mukwege, a doctor from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
“It is an honor to be bringing a global role model for the youth who has emerged in our region, and whose life is a reflection of what millions of youth in MENA are being subjected to,” said Mariam Al Hammadi, director of event organizer The Big Heart Foundation. “By offering her the IIFMENA platform, we aim to communicate her inspiring message to innocent women and youth who are victims of war of crises; and show them that their determination and collective strength be key to transforming their sufferings and agony into triumph and a hope-filled future. Nadia is an example to everyone.”
Murad, who is also the first UN goodwill ambassador for survivors of human trafficking, has charted her tale in touching memoir The Last Girl: My Story of Captivity, and My Fight Against the Islamic State. When Islamic State arrived in her village in 2014, Murad lost her mother and six brothers amid the violence, and has since campaigned tirelessly to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war.
“We must remain committed to rebuilding communities ravaged by genocide. Survivors deserve a safe and secure pathway home or safe passage elsewhere,” the activist said upon receiving the Nobel honor. “We must support efforts to focus on humanity, and overcome political and cultural divisions. We must not only imagine a better future for women, children and persecuted minorities, we must work consistently to make it happen – prioritizing humanity, not war.”