In fragile states, democracy needs, even more, strengthening in times of pandemics as citizens and institutions are exposed to increased vulnerabilities. In some cases incipient dialogue and reconciliation networks may break down as social groups turn inward as a self-protection reflex, cultural barriers might exclude women and other marginalized groups from receiving healthcare, and armed groups might exploit the situation to increase their influence.
Ferdos Majeed voted in the Iraq parliamentary elections in 2005, her first time voting in a free and fair election.
Before 2003 Iraq was isolated from the world. The country possessed little knowledge of a democratic system, a functioning civil society, a multi-party political system or human rights, especially as they applied to women. As a lecturer at a large university in Iraq, I was speaking with young people every day who expressed their eagerness for freedom of speech. I kept hoping that we would have all of that one day, and I was looking to learn everything I could about democratic systems and human rights.
Ferdos Majeed was selected the first Andi Parhamovich Fellow in 2008. Ferdos worked with closely with Andi in Iraq so her selection was a fitting tribute.
January 17th, 2017, marks the 10th anniversary of the death of NDI Baghdad employee Andi Parhamovich and three security personnel during an ambush in Baghdad, Iraq. While there is no way to adequately respond to such a tragedy, the Parhamovich family hoped to find a way to continue one of Andi’s passions: increasing women’s participation in politics. The Andi Parhamovich Fellowship was created so that young women from all parts of the world would be able to take advantage of resources and connections in Washington D.C. that they could then take home to their countries and move forward Andi’s goals.