Rubina Feroze Bhatti

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Born the daughter of village school teachers in rural Pakistan, Rubina Bhatti is a renowned peacebuilder and women’s rights activist. Ms. Bhatti is the Founder and General Secretary of Taangh Wasaib Organization (TWO), a rights-based development organization working to promote communal harmony, gender equality, and respect for human rights. Through TWO, Ms. Bhatti conducts trainings and awareness-raising sessions on peace and conflict resolution, interfaith harmony, and human rights education with marginalized communities—particularly women and youth. She has also developed micro-credit loan programs and provides women legal aid and skills development training. By empowering women and youth at the grassroots level, she seeks to mobilize communities to become peaceful, democratic forces of change in Pakistan. As a Christian, Ms. Bhatti is dedicated to promoting interfaith harmony. In addition to hosting dialogues between Muslims and Christians to encourage tolerance, she has led advocacy campaigns for the past 10 years to protect the rights of religious minorities and women. With TWO, Ms. Bhatti has worked to abolish separate electorates which prevent non-Muslims from voting. In 2000 and 2001, she helped launch a campaign for religious minorities to boycott local elections in response to the government’s move to include religious classification on national identity cards; the campaign was successful and the government restored the joint electorate system. Ms. Bhatti also courageously denounces and works to protect women who are victims of honor killings, acid attacks, domestic abuse, and wan’ni (the trading of female family members as conflict compensation). Ms. Bhatti’s efforts as a peace activist have been internationally recognized. In 2005, she was one of the 1,000 women nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for her work to address violence against women in Pakistan. She was selected as a Women Peace Maker in 2009 by the Joan B. Kroc Institute and in 2010, she received the World Vision International Peace Making Award. In July 2011, the US National Women’s Political Caucus awarded her the Women of Courage Award.