Logo SAVE - Sisters against violent extremism

22. December 2008

SAVE is the answer to terror networks

Sisters Against Violent Extremism – the first global women´s anti-terror platform launched in Vienna in November 08

The enemies of our open societies are mobilizing and plotting to attack and they choose familiar places where we live and work and where we once felt safe: office towers, hotels, busses, and metros. It can happen to any of us, such as Rachel North. She got on the London underground on a normal weekday, on July 7th 2005, not knowing that two fellow countrymen, whose hearts and minds were filled with anger and rage and whose backpacks were loaded with explosives, would try to destroy her life. Women like her are the inspiration for SAVE, a global platform that uses courageous dialogue to mobilize against terror and violence.

Women without Borders invited 33 women from around the world to form the first global women´s anti-terror platform. The participants have an unbreakable bond: they have all been affected by extreme violence and terrorism and are determined to create the movement SAVE, a new Sisterhood that stands up Against Violent Extremism.

A former member of a radical Islamist group, the mother of a convicted potential 9/11 hijacker, survivors and victims of the terrorist attacks in Madrid, London and New York, relatives of victims, and international activists and journalists, as well as international representatives of positive forces against violent conflicts in Northern Ireland, Kosovo and Guatemala, have chosen to take a stand together and to make a difference. Click here to view the list of all participants and their backgrounds.

The participants of the first SAVE two-day working conference in Vienna brought their experiences and expertise to the table: from Kosovo to Colombia, from the Middle East to the Far East, from the Western Hemisphere to Africa.

This diverse community demonstrated conflict resolution in action. What we all learned: reconciliation is a rocky journey. We had to overcome our longing for harmony, postpone all seductions for short cuts and start listening to each other.

The main topics discussed in the conference:

- How women can move from targets of terrorism to targeting solutions
- How women can tackle violent extremism by mobilizing against terrorism
- How women can create forgiveness strategies to escape the vicious cycle
- How women can develop exit strategies from violent extremism
- How women can co-shape security policies

From Conversation to Action
Regional SAVE chapters will now create their action plans and decide how to operate their regional models and responses to violent extremism.

For our journey into the future the SAVE pioneers produced the SAVE Declaration, a guiding global agreement for the joint mission.

Women without Borders will support the local launches in London, New Delhi and Mumbai already in January.

Why women?
Women are strategically positioned at the center of the family, where they are the first to recognize resignation and anger in their children. They build an ideal early-warning system when their sons, daughters or husbands travel into the wrong direction. “Peace starts at home”, empowered women who have a voice in their families and communities will be valuable resources to stabilize an insecure world.

SAVE is the energetic answer to the growing terror networks and will produce a positive climate change in local societies. Women are the voices of civil society. The must be strengthened to enhance the feeling of belonging in their communities to overcome the crowing climate of fear and paranoia on the societal level. Stigmatization and revenge are counterproductive tools in the arsenal of counter terrorism.

Please click here to read some press clippings.

Short video statements of some of the participants can be downloaded shortly. A SAVE film documentation by Werner Ertel and Peter Koncz will be ready in spring 2009.


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