Hello and Welcome to the Official Site of Dr. Widad
Striving to make the world a better place
In reviewing Widad's memoir "The Daughter of Kurdland: A Life Dedicated to Humankind," His Excellency Nikolaos van Dam, former Ambassador of the Netherlands to Iraq, Turkey, Egypt, Germany, Azerbaijan and Indonesia and Special Envoy for Syria, wrote:
"A very impressive personal account of the atrocities and repression of the Ba'thist regime in Iraq against the Kurds. Taking her courageous and open opposition against the Ba'th regime into account, it is a miracle that Dr Widad Akreyi survived. Highly recommendable reading."
A multiple award-winner, Widad is international humanitarian, global women empowerment icon and a lifelong human rights champion 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.
Ranked among the world's notable figures like President John F. Kennedy, Mother Teresa, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and HH the Dalai Lama, 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. From 2006-2013, she advocated for the adoption of 3 UN agreements, including a declaration on the use of rape as a weapon of war in conflict zones. In 2014, she spearheaded the global campaigns: Save Kobane, Save Christians, Save Yazidis, We Want Justice and Save Humanity that ultimately led to the protection of millions of endangered civilians and the liberation of thousands of enslaved women and children.
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 2018 International Woman Harmony Award for devoting her life to defending human rights, the Davenport Mayor Medal for her lifetime of advocacy and commitment to the rights and liberty of the persecuted populations in the Middle East, 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). Widad means the force that stands against the evil forces.
"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
"It was a horrible journey into the underworld... They crept around and their filth polluted my soul in January 1003... When they were done, they returned back to darkness where they belonged. Before their departure, they stole a part of me and threw it inside their dark well. A part of me that I still miss and will probably miss for the rest of my life. That part that in this very moment is howling and screaming. The part that visits me in my sleep in the form of nightmares. The part that searches for a safe haven, well aware it is nowhere to be found. For never was a time more full of horror than when the wind howled a dismal tune. A tune of woe for us and my torture. A sound like sighing echoed in the empty corners, piercing the hearts of our mourners." ~ Dr. Widad Akreyi
The above are excerpts from Widad's book "The Viking's Kurdish Love: Zoroastrians' Fight for Survival"
"Dr. Akreyi is one of the youngest winners of the Pacem in Terris award, but her achievements are no less remarkable than previous winners, Martin Luther King, Mother Teresa, and Desmond Tutu. She brings not only the message of what she's seen and the atrocities she's chronicled, but also energy and vitality to this continuing work. She may very well be part of the next generation of these leaders." ~ Director Kent Ferris
"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
Pushing boundaries to make the world a more equitable place
THE DAUGHTER OF KURDLAND
The Daughter of Kurdland: A Life Dedicated to Humankind is the autobiography of Dr. Widad Akreyi, the Kurdish activist who became a global icon and winner of the Pacem In Terris Peace and Freedom Award and International Woman Harmony Award.
The book takes the reader on an intimate journey to uncover deep truths about universal questions: Should we always do what others tell us to do? How important is it to defy norms?
"This is a truly important book and one of the most impactful I've ever read... I urge you to read this book!" ~ pianist and multiple Award-winning composer Peter Manning Robinson
"A brilliant narration of a story of universal value. Nothing has been easy in her life, but with great dedication she has become a symbol of a people and an example of peace and wisdom in the world." ~ Mr. Paolo Ignazio Marongiu
"I love Widad's spirit! She has been through so much, things I can't begin to imagine! And she still has so much love in her, she still fights for the rights of peoples all around the world... I wish many people would read this book!" ~ Ms. Vicki Andrada
LEARN MORE > Here
THE VIKING'S KURDISH LOVE
The Viking's Kurdish Love: A True Story of Zoroastrians' Fight for Survival is the first in-depth presentation in novel form of the ancient populations of Scandinavia, Mesopotamia, the Middle East and Byzantium.
The book follows two Vikings from Birka, in present-day Sweden, and their journey to Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Empire, and then to Miafarqin, the capital of Kurdland. With a crisp and refreshing approach to writing, Widad tells the love story between Ivar and the Kurdish doctor Vesta. Taking on the big, pressing questions of our time, she 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 the first novel written about the fascinating history of the ancient cultures of Kurdland, Scandinavia and Byzantium. The novel is based on historic events and the characters presented have historic counterparts.
LEARN MORE > Here
Seeking to make the world a safer place
"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..." ~ Dr. Widad Akreyi said, addressing the United Nations conference on illicit arms trade