PROGRESS & HISTORY
The Transformative Peace team collaborates with organizations and stakeholders from all levels of society. Our mission has seen us establish meaningful partnerships with women’s organizations, faith-based groups, government and opposition leaders, human rights agencies, and grassroots movements.
Every relationship we forge is rooted in the belief that a world without violent conflict is possible, and that there is no problem that cannot be solved peacefully. We are fiercely committed to ensuring our partners achieve their goals, and offer unyielding support to those who are working to build peace.
The Institute for War & Peace Reporting
The Center for Global Policy
The Carter Center
London School of Economics
PRAISE FOR HOUDA ABADI &
International Organization for Migration
Folke Bernadotte Academy Swedish Agency for Peace, Security, and Development
International Center for Religion & Diplomacy
"To Houda Abadi -
Rosalynn joins me in thanking you for all you have done for us over the last five years. You have played a vital role in our Conflict Resolution Program, and we are grateful for your dedication. You have been a fine representative of The Carter Center.
We wish you much happiness and success in your future endeavors."
39th President of the United States
Founder | The Carter Center
"I have known Dr. Houda Abadi for at least the last 5 years, but have worked closely with her for the last three years while she was Associate Director for Conflict Resolution, focused on the MENA region especially. My knowledge of her and her work is based on close co-operation and partnership with The Carter Center in preventing and managing the phenomenon of both extremism and bigotry.
Dr. Abadi’s recruitment of my expertise and experience was most welcome. I welcomed her project design in preventing violent extremism, rather than simply combatting it. Firstly, she herself has her roots in the region she is working on and brings an intimacy and empathy to her work. She understands why, in the MENA region that starves young people of opportunity and freedom, the siren call of extremism may be alluring to some. She grasps the medium through which the call is made as well as the fertile ground on which the call may land.
Her work has a comprehensive focus, both geographically, where she connects the detail of the domestic context with the trends in the transnational one, as well as in transcending single disciplines-she is not confined to the religious discourse, but brings her understanding of the historical, the cultural, the political and the economic to bear on complexity involved in managing the distempers of extremism and bigotry.
The more extremism is defeated territorially and militarily the more the battle will shift to the communication-online-space to mobilize grievance and recruit individual acts of terror. Dr. Abadi’s expertise in Political Communication and Media Studies make her one of the foremost experts who can equip us in facing this challenge. Similarly given the alarming rise of supremacist agenda in the western world, the prospect of rising bigotry-among them, islamophobia-creates the environment for disaffection, desperation and recruitment to extremist causes. Dr. Abadi, while at The Carter Center, has touched the heart of these challenges. We, in turn, who benefitted from her work, became more directed and skilled in our work to combat the twin scourges of extremism and islamophobia.
Dr. Abadi has the courage to enter contested terrain, to gather her information and test her analysis, demonstrating a fortitude to be successful at what she does, brooking no half measure in her efforts. Her analysis of, and research into, extremist recruitment material, is not through translation, but is based on the subtle nuances of the language, understanding inflection where others see only message. Her research skills, added to her own cultural and linguistic background, her empathy for her field of study, her connections of trust with the people she engages, and her own passion to combat extremism and bigotry, mean that she is driven by evidence, analysis and rational outcomes, rather than fervor and emotion."
South African Ambassador to the United States (retired)
Founder and Executive Director | World for All Foundation
"I have had the privilege and the pleasure to work under Dr. Houda Abadi’s direct supervision for three years at the Carter Center. Houda’s integrity and dedication to lead the Inclusive Approaches to Preventing Violent Extremism project were unparalleled. She’s a person who strives for excellence in all things she does. A highly strategic thinker, Houda is very effectively able to turn strategy into results while skillfully balancing the project deadlines. Dr. Abadi has always been highly respected and appreciated by people with whom she works at all levels. She brought into the Carter Center an invaluable amount of experience and a passion for excellence that is evidenced by the high standards she sets for herself and her team. She brilliantly led one of the first grassroots projects at the center and gained the trust of religious and community leaders across ideological and political spectrum.
Working with Houda taught me a lot. Her vision, commitment, her integrity and keen emotional intelligence are unsurpassed. Her dedication consistently motivated the entire team to go the extra mile. She also has the rare and much appreciated skill of delivering projects on time by working with and coaching the talents and efforts of other people- allowing them to grow and feel good about their individual contributions. She’s open to new ideas and encourages outside the box thinking. She always emphasized that being professional does not contradict with being compassionate. Houda treated every member of the team with the utmost courtesy and respect and successfully drove the team to achieve stellar results.
Houda has been a great supportive senior and an amazingly encouraging and inspiring manager. I attribute my professional growth to her continuous mentorship. I was given the freedom and flexibility to look for creative solutions. She always had me accompany her on field trips, so I can gain a deeper knowledge and understanding of grassroots work. It’s her innovative encouragement that led to my professional growth over the last three years. I have always felt encouraged, supported and intellectually stimulated in the work environment she created.
I really hope our paths cross again soon as Houda is a true leader and a delight to work with."
Program Associate, Conflict Resolution | The Carter Center
"Dr. Houda Abadi is a leader and an innovator in the fields of conflict resolution, countering Islamophobia and countering extremism. Her research is daring, creative and thoughtful and puts her on the cutting edge of the profession. I have seen her create community across the globe, lead programs, build consensus and generate change.
She understands the gendered dimensions of both conflict and peace building, and her programs reflect inclusivity in analysis and remedies.
Dr Abadi had the vision to bring together made and female community leaders and imams from the United States, North Africa and Europe to empower them to confront social injustice and co-optation, on one hand, and youth extremism recruitment on the other. She has the right message, the right personal approach and at the right time. I've also seen that she supports the professional development of her staff and colleagues."
Dr. Anthony Wanis
Associate Professor | School of International Service, American University
"In 2013, on behalf of The Carter Center, I sought advice from Houda Abadi on the Arab Spring aftermath. Impressed with the depth of her insight on the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) in general, the Arab Spring, violent extremism and conflict resolution in particular, I recruited Houda in June 2014 for a full-time position at The Carter Center, helping manage our work in the MENA.
Houda proved to be an invaluable resource, highly insightful and resourceful, and an out-of-the box thinker, with an unparalleled sense of initiative. Throughout her tenure at The Carter Center, Houda demonstrated integrity, empathy, academic rigor, intellectual courage and discipline. She grasped the mission of The Carter Center and initiated new projects for our work in Israel/Palestine and Syria, prioritizing collaboration with women and youth, helping to improve the quality of our work on the ground, and working closely with diplomatic representatives. Her contribution to our Syria work was outstanding.
Early in her tenure at the Carter Center, Houda initiated a new project helping to prevent the recruitment of foreign fighters to ISIS (Daesh) in four high recruitment countries – Morocco, Tunisia, France and Belgium. Two aspects were unique and original with Houda’s initiative as opposed to other PVE projects implemented elsewhere. First, the initiative was based on solid scholarly and field research on ISIS’ recruitment strategy and ideology. Second, the initiative recruited community and local religious leaders to help counter the ISIS recruitment propaganda from the ground. Women and youth were a prominent part of the effort.
In the second year of the initiative implementation, Houda expended the project to include preventing other forms of extremism – namely ultra-right wing ideologies and Islamophobia, as the other face of violent extremism advocating the notion of “us vs. them”, a factor contributing to the recruitment efforts of ISIS and other extremist organizations. Again, the project expansion was based on solid scholarly research and deliberations at a major
symposium on the subject, which Houda spearheaded.
With her multi-lingual skills (Arabic, French, Spanish), giving her a unique understanding of multi-cultural environments, and intellectual brilliance, very quickly Houda became a valuable resource for the PVE policy and decision-making community, think-tanks and academia. She was called upon frequently to publish articles and comment on the subject. The written material produced by the PVE project under Houda’s leadership is considered an important contribution to the subject matter and a resource material for the PVE policy and decision making
I recommend Houda Abadi without reservations, she would be an invaluable asset for any institution. I am confident she has an exceptional career ahead of her, in academia, the policy world and grassroots organizations."
Director, Conflict Resolution Center | The Carter Center
“Dr. Houda Abadi is such a gift to the world. The way she centers community’s needs and supports leadership from within affected communities is a real skill she possesses. I’ve seen her transform shy quiet people into leaders in their communities. She understands people’s grievances and does an amazing job listening to people.
One of the things I most like about Dr. Abadi is her humbleness. She listens with care to everyone and makes everyone feel better after having talked with her. She is also one of the most dedicated people I know giving all her projects special care and dedication.
All her research and scholarly work speak for themselves. I call her a silent warrior because she has no interest in becoming famous or being the center of attention. She does this work because it’s in her DNA to help people. "
(community leader, workshop participant)
Lead Organizer | United Valley Interfaith Project