Hello and Welcome to the Official Site of Dr. Widad
Striving to make the world a better place
Widad is a humanitarian and human rights defender whose mission is to save lives and alleviate suffering via, among other things, advocating against armed gender-based violence, promoting peace and equal rights and opportunities for all, and mitigating the impacts of man-made conflicts and crises on humans and the environment.
Widad is the co-founder of Defend International – an NGO devoted to peace, advocacy and human rights. In addition to being accredited as observer and participant in major United Nations meetings and other international conferences, she has facilitated a series of innovative projects aimed at promoting a culture of peace and justice. The success of her endeavors has resulted in her being awarded the 2017 Pacem in Terris (Peace on Earth) Peace and Freedom Award for her lifelong commitment to peace, justice and dignity for all, the Davenport Mayor Medal for her lifetime contribution to defending human rights, the 2014 International Pfeffer Peace Award for her worldwide efforts in support of peace and justice, and the 2013 Special Prize for bridging the gap between cultures.
Her name, Widad, is a derivative of Wendidad or Venidad, which is a portion of the sacred texts of Avesta, the Holy book of Zoroastrianism (the ancient religion of Kurds).
"My heart aches for you… for them in you
For angels shaking in fright… on a dreadful night
For them on site… for flames leaping on every height
For blood rolling like thunder… o'er a fragile kite
For souls so bright… like remnants of light
For a desperate plight… for hands held tight
My love, in my world… where no hope is in sight
And no right is right… what words can I write?
Our song went lost… with main and might
I'll tell you tonight… in the hush of midnight
Stay here and fight… for a mournful rite" ~ Dr. Widad Akreyi, excerpt from "The Viking's Kurdish Love: A True Story of Zoroastrians' Fight for Survival"
Widad's book, The Viking's Kurdish Love: A True Story of Zoroastrians' Fight for Survival, follows two Vikings from Birka, Sweden and their journey to Kurdland. The book tells the love story between Ivar and Vesta, who was a Kurdish doctor. It brings to life the untold tale of the struggle of Kurds, Christians (including Armenians, Greeks...), Jews and other minorities in Upper Mesopotamia, to survive the invasion of Kurdland over 1000 years ago. The Viking's Kurdish Love is based on historic events and the characters presented have historic counterparts. For instance, Ivar's father was Halvdan, whose name has been found as inscription in Hagia Sophia's upper gallery. A version of his name also appears on the records of the Varangian Guard in Constantinople. The Kurdish King Hasan, whose third wedding turned into beheading, ruled from 990-997. Queen Patê was the widow of Hasan's predecessor, King Pad - the founder of the Kurdish Kingdom. After Pad's assassination in 990, she married Hasan, King Pad's nephew, and had him declared the King. A few years later the relations between Kurdland and Armenia were consolidated by a royal marriage between Hasan and the Christian Princess Maria. Isaac Moshe Abraham was a wealthy Jewish merchant and storeowner in Miafarqin. Elias Eisa was a pastor in Bedra and later became the well-respected bishop of Nesebin. His brother, Dr. Mensor Eisa, was the director of Miafarqin hospital, where Dr. Vesta also worked. The political situations chronicled in the book are the result of years of intensive research.
"The Viking's Kurdish Love is a book that has thrilled me from the first to the last page. A book with an incredible inner energy. A great plot, a timeless plot that lives even today and in the future... a true jewel, a great story in a profound historical scenario. The force of a strong message with a narrative talent." ~ Mr. Paoloi Marongiu
"The proliferation of arms and their diversion into the hands of dangerous groups is not the result of one war or the failings of one country. It results from decades of instability in many countries... We need to devote resources to building a culture of non-violence and peace. This includes education and public awareness programs on the illicit arms trade and on the rule of law. It also includes disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programs, community violence reduction programmes and security sector reform..." ~ Dr. Widad Akreyi
"I am struck by Akreyi's experience as reflected in 13 other women who have won the honor (Pacem in Terris Peace and Freedom Award). Like the others, Akreyi started out with an ordinary life, had an experience and went on to do really extraordinary things. Like Dorothy Day and Sister Helen Prejean, the doctor's efforts in social justice will add to the legacy of the award, and to the contributions made by other pioneering women. These women stood up to power and authority and did not back down. Sometimes we all need to do this." Director Loxi Hopkins
"Dr. Widad is a very unusual person. Her incredible effort for human rights, international peace, freedom and justice is admirable and second to none. She has, among other things, fought to secure her advocacy goals for the benefit of humankind... She fully deserves the international Pfeffer Peace Prize for her efforts, and she is clearly a natural candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize." Mr. K. Flemming Olesen
"Widad - You were a very special guest in our community and brought a very important message that so many of us had the opportunity to hear. You are certainly a great role model for my granddaughters and I hope they are able to keep in touch with you in the future. Your actions are a blessing" Executive director Allan G. Ross