Gulalai Ismail

Youth Solidarity Fund (YSF)

Gulalai Ismail, is the founder and Chairperson of Aware Girls; a young women led organisation working towards gender equality and peace which she established at the age of 16. She is a highly motivated women’s rights and peace expert, founder of the first even young women and girls’ led organization Aware Girls working for women empowerment, peacebuilding and countering violent extremism, with over 13 years of experience of human rights and peace work. Range of work as program and projects directed included drafting policies and implementing projects across a range of young women empowerment work, young women’s human rights issues, gender base violence, girl’s education, countering violent extremism, peacebuilding, governance, and organizational strengthening. Work experience includes Young Women’s Political Empowerment, Human Rights Education and Leadership, Addressing Gender Base Violence, legal advocacy, Economic Empowerment of young women, setting up Women Support Helplines across the region, Countering Violent Extremism, advocating at national and UN level for youth and peacebuilding, grants management, and capacity building of Civil Society Organizations. She is among the young people who advocated for a UN Security Council Resolution on “Youth, Peace and Security #2250”. She is now advocating for Youth Peace Policy of FATA and Khyber Pakhunkhwa. In 2009, she established a Youth Peace Network in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, Federally Administered Tribal Areas and Afghanistan to counter violent extremism through promoting peace activism among young people, preventing young people from joining extremism groups, promoting non-violence and pluralism and engaging young women in peacebuilding process. Her work is characterized by promoting peace and pluralism; mediation and non-violent conflict resolution, challenging religious extremism and militancy; promoting good governance in areas stricken by militancy, providing civic education to young people; strengthening democracy; and political mainstreaming of young women through advocacy processes. In 2015 she extended Youth Peace Network to Afghanistan to work with young people of Afghanistan on non-violence and conflict resolution. In 2017 she established Pak-Afghan Pul-e-Niswan Baraye Aman (Pak-Afghan Women Peace Network) to bridge women peace activists of Pakistan and Afghanistan for countering radicalization and violent extremism. Pul-e-Niswan conducts researches, exchanges, capacity building workshops for women peace activist of Paksitan-Afghanistan and engage policy makers to recognize women’s peacebuilding role. She has also helped establish grassroots young women activists group to promote peace activism among young women, and to recognize women’s role in peacebuilding. She has received 2009 YouthActionNet Fellowship, 2012 International Democracy Award, 2014 Humanist of the Year Award, 2015 CommonWealth Youth Award for her extraordinary efforts in building peace, gender equality, and development. She has been recognized among 100 Leading Global Thinkers by Foreign Policy, 2013 and among “30 Under 30” youth activists by National Endowment for Democracy, USA. She recently received Chirac Peace Prize for her work on building peace, conflict resolution and countering violent extremism.


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