Diana Nammi is a campaigner from Kurdistan-Iran. She opposed the Islamic Republic of Iran which imposes Sharia law on Iranian people and violates the rights of women and children. Diana led many campaigns fighting for justice in a society based on human rights, freedom and equality. She spent 12 years on the frontline as a Peshmerga (Kurdish freedom fighter) but eventually her activism in Kurdistan Iran and neighboring countries resulted in her facing persecution, which forced her to flee. She now lives in the UK.
In 2002 Diana established the Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation (IKWRO), a UK registered charity which provides advice and support to Iranian, Kurdish, Arab, Turkish and Afghan women who are affected by “honour” killing and ‘honour’ based violence, forced marriage, FGM and domestic violence.
Diana has set up “stop honour killings” campaign and in 2003 she founded the International Campaign against Honour Killingswhich successfully managed to take world attention to “honour” based violence as a form of violence against women mainly. IKWRO has become a leading organisation for many campaigns in the UK and internationally including campaign against “honour” killings.
In 2011, Diana established the True Honour Award, an annual award ceremony, in memory of all victims of ‘honour’ killings and in recognition of outstanding work of individual and organisations who prevent ‘honour’ based violence, protect victims and bring perpetrators to justice.
Diana’s work has received national and international recognition. She has become a very well-known public speaker on violence against women and in particular “honour” Based Violence, forced marriage, child marriage and FGM and been interviewed by national and international media . She is regularly asked to deliver training for professionals and to give presentations at conferences and meetings. Her organisation, IKWRO won the ‘Rising Star award’ by the Lilith Project (Eaves Housing) for the Best New Voluntary Sector Organisation in 2006. Diana Nammi’s unremitting work was alsorecognized by Eve magazine who awarded her the Eve honour in December 2007. In 2012 Diana Nammi has been named on a list of150 women who shake the world by Newsweek and The Daily Beast in “Women in the World Summit” - to honour women activists and the growing network of powerful women who support their efforts. In 2014, Diana received the Special Women on the Move Award by UNHCR, The Forum and Migrant Rights Network. She was then honoured with the UK’s Woman of the Year Award and also named as 100 women of the year by BBC World Service.
Dr Alan Semo is from promising Rojava. He is an advocate for stateless Kurds and Kurdistan national cause.
He is a political activist.
He owns and manages a Dental Surgery in London.
I was born in Istanbul in the 1980s to Kurdish parents from Elbistan, Northern Kurdistan. I went to primary school in Istanbul for 3 years and was successfully assimilated to a Turk. Having lived 3 years apart - my mother, sister and I joined my father in London when I was 8 years old. I learned to speak English and had three identities to associate myself with, Turkish, Kurdish and British. Being assimilated into a ‘Great Turk’ I was ashamed of being Kurdish. It didn’t take long to realise I was Kurdish but it took a long time to say I was Kurdish with no fear and with confidence.
I worked hard at school at the advice of my mother who wanted me to live a better life than she had. I managed to get decent GCSEs and A-levels and got into Medicine at Imperial College, London. Coming from a working class background and insecurities as a Kurdish migrant my university years were filled with many personal uncertainties. I love reasoning, science and working closely with people and love my job as a doctor.
After seeing a surgical publication from Sulaimaniah (South Kurdistan) teaching hospital I decided to undertake a surgical attachment there. As well as gaining extensive operative experience, my visit to Sulaimaniah allowed me to witness freely spoken Kurdish and ‘free’ Kurds generally; it was a life changing experience when I felt confident as a Kurd.
As a result of my personal experience and in an attempt to create a positive outlook of Kurds and being Kurdish I co-founded Kurdish Professionals Network. We have held various events to allow networking of professionals as well as work with community centres and schools to introduce Kurdish role models as well as inform parents of the education system in the UK and how they can help their children.
To achieve change we can all do our bit; one small act may lead to a series of changes.
Goran Baba Ali is a writer, freelance journalist, film and sound editor, media trainer and artist, originally from Iraqi Kurdistan who has lived in Amsterdam since 1997. He studied sociology at the University of Amsterdam. He has been writing columns and reports for Dutch and Kurdish media and spent five years as the editor-in-chief of the online Dutch/English magazine, ex Ponto. Goran has moved to London in 2013, where he spends most of his time on writing. His first novel The man who was a tree has been translated into English; currently under publication. The book was published in Kurdish by Afsana Press in 2011.
Haco Cheko was born in 1978 in Turkey. He studied German Literature at Dicle University in Diyarbakir, In 1999 Cheko migrated to the UK. Between 2003-2008 he completed diploma courses on Film and Media in various College & Universities in London. Life within life (2002), Rawestgah-The stop(2005), A promise a wedding(2006), People of exiles(2007) are the some of his film projects that he has directed. Haco Cheko’s first feature film project Li Vir “No(w)here” (2012) was selected by various international film festivals and won best social content film award in Amed international film festival.
I was born and brought up in Kurdistan and moved to Syria; a land of architecture and ancient civilizations. After acquiring a degree in film & television, I attained the Masters degree and PhD in cinema. I came to the UK in 1989 with an ambition; to advance towards my passion in media and film production. I started working for BBC and channel 4C, 4 News, BBC News, Scottish ITV News, Arte TV, TV Five France, Hart and Ryan Productions for Channel 4 for the last 20 years I lectured in modern studies Scotland, Ireland, Canada, Belgium, Germany and Holland, I have been involved in the production and direction of various documentaries, some of them gaining worldwide recognition. I have written and directed various films. I have been involved in writing and directing dramas that have been screened across the UK and abroad. My passion is to identify and bring to light the voices and untold events that have been lost or suppressed by the unsocial and undemocratic elements across the globe.
I believe that strong and liberal media can be the most effective way to develop a positive and harmonious attitude and consolidate people’s spirit towards achieving a goal that they set themselves.
Tevan Jabar has a master's degree in law and currently training as a lawyer in a financial institution in London. Tevan is a member of the Network for Legal Development in Kurdistan and actively lobbies for the Kurdish cause.