Thanks & Tributes

"There is so much to be thankful for,"  Widad has said. "I'd like to express my deepest gratitude to all the exceptional people with extraordinary hearts who have supported me in various ways throughout the years. Their kindness is a blessing. I owe them more than words can say."

The following is a collection of quotes and (art)works that others have created to support Widad or her efforts:

Mr. Claude Arfaras, USA
Contemporary impressionist artist

Most Reverend Bishop Thomas Zinkula, USA
Bishop of Davenport, Iowa

"The 2017 Pacem in Terris Peace and Freedom Award is presented to Dr. Widad Akreyi... in light of your lifelong commitment to peace and justice. You have worked tirelessly for peace and justice and advocate for human dignity for all in the Middle East. Your mission has been to save lives, alleviate suffering and promoting peace and equal rights and opportunities for all. Your fearless documentation of torture and other human rights violations, as well as your pursuit of justice through medical research and the monitoring of peace initiatives. Your findings regarding crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing have brought horrific acts to light for all the world to see. You embody the words of Pope John XXIII in his encyclical Pacem in Terris as a 'spark of light, a center of love, a vivifying leaven' to your sisters and brothers around the world." October 2017

"Her commitment to the causes she espouses is contagious. I thanked her for accepting this award as well as for the inspiration she provided to us." October 2017

Mr. Kent Ferris, USA
Director of the Davenport Diocese's Social Action and
Chairman of the Pacem in Terris interfaith Coalition

"She was able to courageously chronicle atrocities. Even after she was able to do that and draw attention to it internationally, she has continued to be involved in humanitarian efforts and exposing grave violations or human rights... Doctor 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." 12 October 2017

"Dr. Widad is an incredible addition to the list of Pacem Award winners. She became involved early in her life in responding to human rights violations that were happening around her, courageously chronicling the atrocities. And even after obtaining her PhD in global health and cancer epidemiology as a young adult, her life work remains focused on human rights. She is younger than many of the recent award recipients. I think this is based partly on her life experiences. And I also strongly believe that Dr. Widad is part of an emerging cohort group that is responding to the great injustices of our present day." September 2017

"Blessed is the first word that comes to mind when I think of the opportunity we were afforded last weekend. The Diocese, two universities and the general public here in the QC benefited by learning of the work of two incredibly wise and caring women. But the blessing was also personal for Lori and I and our two daughters who helped host Widad while she was here. 'Priceless' is what the tag reads on the experience where a girl and young adult woman can meet a woman who is a world leader of peace and justice. The future is bright because it is theirs!" 26 October 2017

Mrs. Loxi Hopkins, USA
CCHD and CRS Diocesan Director and
Member of the Pacem in Terris Award Committee

"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." October 2017

Mr. Allan G. Ross, USA
Executive director of Jewish Federation of the Quad Cities and
Member of the Pacem in Terris Award Committee

"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 and will bear fruit eventually... Good always eventually triumphs over evil." December 2017

"Congratulations on winning this prestigious award (International Woman Harmony Award) and for the incredible work you do every day to make our world a better place." December 2018

Mr. Mamosta Muhamad, Iraq

"Congrats our dearest Dr. Widad Akreyi. We  Kurds owe you so much because we have your highness among the international communities to be proud of. Kurds and many other oppressed nations and minorities need generous personalities like you. You are really one of a kind... Warm wishes and regards." December 2018

Mr. Bill Gibson-Patmore, New Zealand
Political writer and Director

"I am with Widad! Congratulations, Widad, on the presentation of this most significant award! Another well-deserved acknowledgement. Congratulations, again. Proud of my friend. I am thrilled for you and the cause, Widad. From your friends and our family in New Zealand." October 2017

Mr. Benedetto Loprete, Italy
Professional in transport, logistics and safety systems

"The best compliments and the highest esteem, the best wishes for this very important recognition as the International Woman Harmony Award. I am happy for the recognition, so really very important for all the efforts you are making for peace My Dearest Widad. With particular affection and an embrace!" November 2018

Mr. Khorsheed M Rasheed, Kurdistan
University Lecturer

"Dr. Widad is the founder of the great campaigns. Her charitable and professional activities awaken the world so as not to see the oppressed people as blindly as before. She has shown that Kurds are also one of the nations who must be saved from Genocides. We really appreciate her charity, and all Kurds owe her forever." August 2019

Mr. K. Flemming Olesen, Denmark
Civil Engineer R.a.D

"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 and by taking the initiative to create the organisation Defend International, as she has the ability to influence the decisions of world's leaders, the media, etc. She fully deserves the international Pfeffer Peace Prize for her efforts, and she is clearly a natural candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize." June 2017

Reverend Kristin Stoneking, USA
Executive Director of Fellowship of Reconciliation

“The momentum you created in favor of a UN resolution on a strong and an effective Arms Trade Treaty, your commitment to combat armed gender-based violence, and your successful lobbying for the adoption of the new UN Declaration of Commitment to End Sexual Violence in Conflict as well as the UN Resolution 2117 exclusively dedicated to illicit transfer, destabilizing accumulation and misuse of small arms and light weapons around the World are outstanding contributions to shifting the current culture of violence, and we are grateful for you..." July 2014

Mr. Al Colvin, USA
Advocate, motivational speaker and
Member of Board of Directors of NC Chapter American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

"You are the epitome of global peace and the greatest humanitarian for human rights. Your life is such a powerful inspiration! Thank you for dedicating your life to humanity and global peace!" June 2016

"Dr. Widad is an extraordinary leader for Global Peace! This world needs more like you!" October 2015

"Toxins and chemicals are a global health hazard in the midst of current war and global displacement. Your work is truly admirable... God bless these Yazidi children, bring swift justice. Love and protection to Dr. Widad... I concur! Your dialogue is important to global peace. Your dialogue is the correct path! It's understood to be an uphill challenge, but the courageous has to stand up! Coexistence needs a different global approach... Dr. Widad is a humanitarian hero... in God's time the world is witnessing your huge heart! We now feel your pain and respect you for your compassion" Summer 2015

"God blessed you with a strong and courageous spirit! May his glory forever smile upon you! Be encouraged..." May 2015

Mr. Paoloi Marongiu, Italy

"For a true  global peace with justice and freedom, support Dr. Widad Akreyi" June 2016

"We have  to support Dr. Widad for a world in peace, for our peace, for a world  teeming with freedom... A continuous action for freedom, to free the bishops Paul Yazigi and Yohanna Ibrahim... An everyday duty: We Demand Peace Now. Freedom can never be silenced, voices of peace are loud. Thank you ever Dr. Widad. Very important to support Dr. Widad in all her missions, the force of a voice, the force of million of voices for peace. The flower of peace always blooming against all odds..." October 2015

"A great pride for all of us that Dr. Widad is awarded the Pacem in Terris Peace and Freedom Award. This is a great day for a better world... Dr. Widad is a great woman, a gift for humanity, the force of peace and freedom... It's an award for a deep action for universal peace and freedom." September 2017

"You are a great gift for us Dr. Widad. We are grateful for your incredible action." October 2017

"Congratulations from the bottom of my heart! Thanks for your invaluable example Widad!" November 2018

Mr. Zar Ali Khan Afridi, Pakistan
Chairman of FATA Commission of Human Rights and
Executive Director of Society for Rights and Development

"Dr. Widad is an icon of international peace and a well-known humanitarian with a history of protecting and promoting human rights, particularly the rights of women and children. She is a sincere person struggling all times, thinking how to protect and promote rights of people and give them relief. She is one of the leading women who peacefully has been fighting for the rights of the oppressed Kurdish and Yazidi women, who are the victims of ISIS and Turkey both. She has raised every issue particularly issue of Alan Kurdi – the child who was drowned in sea in Turkey. Her work and commitment at global level for the rights of humanity will be remembered and written in golden words.
Dr. Widad is also a writer and her new book, The Viking's Kurdish love, is very much appreciated. She is an intellectual and a poet. Her courage shows that she is an iron lady and she takes brave steps always to help humanity. I appreciate her and her work and spirit!" November 2016

"I am very much pleased to read that Dr. Widad was selected for this great award (Pacem in Terris Peace and Freedom Award) which was given previously to world-known figures like John F. Kennedy, Dr. Martin Luther king, Desmond and mother Teresa. Dr. Widad deserves it, and I congratulate her on behalf of my own and on behalf of my people from FATA and pashtunistan. We are proud of you doctor for raising voice for those who are voiceless." September 2017

Mr. Scotty Bruer, CA, USA
Founder and Executive Director of Peace Now

"A giant of human rights that fought persecution with determination and utilized kindness and compassion to save others as she did with herself..." September 2022

Mr. David Curry Holmes
Geographer and author

"She is the only one on the forefront fighting this evil that I personally know of. Let us show her we stand with her... Keep up the wonderful work that you do! I wish we could save them all, but any number brought back is a triumph for humanity." September 2015

"May the New Year bring you success in giving voice to the voiceless and hope to those who have forgotten hope." January 2015

"Keep speaking out... More will listen and hopefully act. Brave soul!" 2014

Dr. Dan McQuillan, UK
Amnesty International's Web Manager

On behalf of the International Secretariat of Amnesty International, Dr. McQuillan thanked Widad for promoting Amnesty's campaigns.
"We realise that the most effective way to use the internet for human rights impact is to engage with online discussions, blogging and other interactive techniques. It is also critical for us to create online bridges to Arabic speaking audiences by becoming part of online dialogue and debate. These are challenging goals for Amnesty, but with the cooperation of people like yourself we can greatly boost our chances of success." March 2006

Ms. Jean Laurienti

"Dr. Widad is kind, compassionate and sincere in her calls for peace, a refreshing voice in the face of so much violence... You are a great woman who advocates peace for all people. I wish more would listen and follow your example. RIP Ankara victims." October 2015

Mr. Mukesh Kumar Sahay, India

"Congratulation and Happy Women's Day... This is an era of democratic values, not medieval barbaric era. So this type of cruelty is not acceptable... We salute you and your work... Well done... Keep doing it. Important to support Dr. Widad for Humanity." 2015

Mr. Andrew Frennier, USA
Veteran with specialty in weapons of mass destruction

"Dr. Akreyi (Widad to her friends) was awarded the 2017 Pacem in Terris (Peace on Earth) Peace and Freedom Award from the Diocese of Davenport in Davenport, Iowa last weekend. She will add this to her extensive collection of other humanitarian awards. Her Wikipedia page gives you an idea of what one person can achieve. In addition to her work in medicine, Widad has devoted her life to a wide variety of causes, all to reduce the suffering of humanity. As a Kurd, Widad was forced to flee Iraq after the failed uprisings of 1991. She has seen first hand the things she stands against now. She has devoted her life to helping others, but her heart is still in Kurdistan... One day, Dr. Widad Akreyi will be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize... I only hope that, when that day comes, Widad invites me to come with her." October 2017

Ms. Rose Rossi, USA
NYC educator

"God bless you Dr. Widad. He will bless you for doing the Lord's work  looking after others in need. Be strong!" October 2015

Ms. Christine Duhaime
Lawyer and founder of Digital Finance Institute

"A woman who tirelessly advocated for Syrian refugees long before the world started caring --> Dr. Widad." September 2015

Mr. Peter Wallace, Australia
Leader and politician

"Your account is a history of tragedy. Good for you for speaking out. You stand at the top echelon of humanity." December 2015

Ms. Yehudith Shraga, Israel

"Dr. Widad congratulations! Keep doing your outstanding work, the world may be deaf, but not for ever, I hope." October 2014

Ms. Kim Wyatt, USA
Contemporary artist

"Dr. Widad is a great advocate for peace and human rights." October 2015

Ms. Kinnari Vaidya, India

"Dr. Widad: Your continuous, meticulous ongoing hard work for peace is very inspiring for everyone. Hearty congratulations to you." October 2014

Mr. M. Taher

"Genuine people deserve Rewards. Congratulations! Almighty will always support you in your noble cause. You are an inspiration for all Kurdistan." September 2017

Dr. Zahen Aseeb
Physician and former WHO professional

"Heartiest congratulations on being conferred the Pacem in Terris Peace and Freedom Award. You really deserve such prestigious awards." September 2017

Mr. Robert Gillespie

"My sincerest congratulations and delighted to see an award go to a worthy recipient rather than to someone for celebrity, money or position." September 2017

Ms. Dissident Fairy, USA
Artist, writer and humanitarian

"Very distraught over the photos of the Yazidi girls. Look into their faces and you can feel them... Your interview was informative and filled with compassion and practical solutions. I was very moved by the endless plight of the Yazidis." September 2014

"Congratulations Dr. Widad for being honored with the International Peace Award. You deserve it for all your tireless work... We are proud of you Dr. for your relentless pursuit of peace and justice for the oppressed Yazidis, Kobane, and Christians." October 2014

"Dr. Widad is a real legend. She is making an indelible impact/imprint in her quest to save the Yazidis... Widad is passionate about saving the Yazidis because she was a child refugee. She feels their fear, and hunger and pain... Dr. Widad is outstanding in her fight to save the Yazidis and free the oppressed... An excellent interview! You painstakingly detailed the suffering and persecution of Christians, Kurds, and the Yazidis... You are a rare jewel in a sea of despair! I feel an overwhelming feeling of love coming from you. I hope Peter Kassig's family feels it too. His work was not in vain! So senseless and sad. I just lost a close family member last night, the same age, due to a traffic accident. This/it hurts." November 2014

"Dr. Widad is a great leader and humanitarian, the rest of us followed her lead. Kudos to Dr. Widad." January 2015

Mrs. Katheren Szabo, Canada
Poet and Artist

"BRAVO Dr Widad! You are amazing! Thank You for all the hard work you are doing to lift community!
I smile deeply toward you and your success -today and always!" December 2018

Mr. Peter M Robinson, USA
Award-winning pianist-composer and inventor of the Refractor Piano™

"Congratulations Dr. Widad! Another wonderful feather in your well coiffed hat... You are truly inspirational... Your grace and courage is a constant reminder to me and many others of what can be accomplished!" fall 2017

Ms. Kali T, NY, USA

"Amazing as usual and so very deserved award. You have inspired many, me included! Voices like yours shaped me into an LGBTQ youth/rights advocate and I am eternally grateful!" October 2017

Mr. Andrew Peel

"A strong woman and worthy recipient of Pacem in Terris Peace and Freedom Award who has campaigned to bring the World's attention to the plight of Coptic Christians..." September 2017

Mr. Rezgar, Kurdistan

"I am very happy and hounored to extend my congratulations to you on a well-deserved award, which is a natural result of the hard work you have done throughout your life. I have watched you commit yourself to the causes you care about. We all know you have devoted your life to the service of humanity since when you were a student and lived in Kurdistan. I will never ever forget your courageous humanitarian positions. Nor will I forget the times when you took good care of my mother at the hospital. I have met a lot of people in my life, but I haven't met any who is at your level of humanity." October 2017

"I congratulate her on receiving this award. She deserves more because since her childhood her goal in life has been to serve humanity, and her humanitarian projects are countless. At every stage of her life she has taken positions to protect the rights of the downtrodden, and those who know her closely know that." November 2017

Fr. Thom Hennen, USA
St. Ambrose University Chaplain

"I think too of the woman we honored this afternoon with the Pacem in Terris Peace and Freedom Award. Dr. Widad Akreyi, having witnessed violence and human rights abuses first hand and knowing what it is like to be a refugee, has devoted herself to calling attention such injustices, from illegal small arms trade to gender-based violence, to human trafficking and torture... Those who had the privilege of meeting her today would say that she radiates the love of God. So, let's not get too full of ourselves and forget that there are others who are arm in arm with us in the cause of justice. Yes, we are stamped in the image of God, and ... God can work in and through us to further the kingdom of peace and justice on earth." October 2017

Mr. Ali, Turkey

"Dr. Widad, I want to thank you. We need a voice in Europe for the innocent people, for peace. And you are always with us..." October 2015

"I was in Istanbul with my Armenian friend when Hrant Dink was killed. I still remember the silent-centennial tears of my friend." January 2015

"Dear Widad, you deserve this award. You have always called the people to peace. I also thank you for your special effort to save Kobane."  October 2014

Dr. Salan Zerdeşt, Sweden

"Jina Kurd Afrînera Şaristan e
Kurd bi Te serbilind e
Te vejand jina Kurdistanê
Ji Gundwana û Medistanê
Jinûve geş bû şaristanê
Geşbû cîhan bi Kurdistanê
TU bû XELATA ji Dûristanê"

"Zanîna Te, Tîrêjên roja ezman e
Serkeftina Te, ronahiya tavan e
Xelata Te, kulîlka Çaxê darê ye
Rêzgertina Te, meywa wê darê ye
Te dilê Kurd û Kurdistanê hênik kir
Te axa ''Erdê û Aştiya cîhanê'' şa kir
Ji bo ''Aştiyê'', Te berhema tavê revand
Û li Mezpotamiya yê, Te li ''Erdê" barand "

"Jinek zor delal e
Widad dota Zal e
Ronakek zelal e
Herzana Şingal e
Noşiya Ezda ye
Periya Xweda ye
Neviya Mazda ye
Horiya Kurda ye
Akreya xwecî ye
Tij e bîr û mêjî ye
Bi zanînê rejî ye
Ew Kurmancî ye" October 2017