Warda Sahtout


Warda Sahtout is a humanitarian practitioner with over six years of experience in designing, developing, and implementing humanitarian intervention strategies focused on peace-building, development, and empowering women. While her family originates from Palestine, Warda was born and raised in Syria as a Palestinian refugee. She is fluent in both Arabic and English languages.

Shortly after completing her primary education, Warda found herself engulfed by Syria's vicious civil war. Despite the escalating threats and dangers, she started work as a Livelihood Focal Point with the Danish Refugee Council (DRC), and as a children psycho-social support specialist and humanitarian intervention team member with the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East (GOPA). She conducted needs assessments and analysis, organized women's empowerment activities, and youth capacity building trainings for DRC, GOPA, and several of their peer organizations. She became an entrepreneur when she co-founded an online sharing economy platform for Syrian people to exchange skills and services. Unfortunately, the project had to end because of the war.

Once in New York City for studies, Warda was invited to volunteer with the UN Alliance of Civilization during the 8th UNAOC Global Forum, and at the International House of Columbia University. She interned with UNICEF where she contributed to the knowledge management portfolio by conducting research on UNICEF's work on strengthening social cohesion in the Middle East and North Africa Region.

Warda graduated with a Master's degree from Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs | SIPA with a concentration in Economic and Political Development and a specialization in International Conflict Resolution. Warda is a recipient of SIPA scholarship, Jusoor scholarship "100 Syrian Women, 10000 Syrian Lives", and was previously awarded the Chevening Scholarship, and Women International Leadership Award.

Warda Sahtout is now focused on bolstering women's participation in peacebuilding in conflict zones, which is the topic of the research she is currently involved in with CCSI. Warda believes that without strategic policies for women participation in peace-building conversations, no peace agreement will survive in the long run; excluding women will just exacerbate gender-based violence and extend the existing conflict.

"Peace comes from being able to contribute the best that we have, and all that we are, toward creating a world that supports everyone. But it is also securing the space for others to contribute the best that they have and all that they are." -Hafsat Abiola

Why is gender violence rarely if ever targeted with effective countermeasures such as UN sanctions resolutions or other powerful policy and development decisions?