(Seattle, WA, USA) The Aurora Humanitarian Initiative named Fartuun Adan and Ilwad Elman of the Elman Peace Center in Somalia as the 2020 Aurora Prize Laureates. Adan is a Founding Board Member of Every Woman Treaty, and Elman currently serves on our Steering Committee. The following is a statement from Every Woman Treaty CEO Lisa Shannon, who cofounded the Sister Somalia program at Elman Peace – the first rape crisis center in Somalia.
“Gratitude in Action. The Aurora Humanitarian Initiative advances and recognizes this principle as central to humanitarian work, and as the world will now see: it is central to the world-changing work my sisters Fartuun Adan and Ilwad Elman continue to do in Somalia.
“In 2011, Fartuun welcomed me to Mogadishu. We met with sexual violence survivors, and I supported the launch of Sister Somalia – the Elman Peace Center’s program for rape survivors. While post-conflict and conflict-related sexual violence disproportionately affects women and girls, Fartuun and Ilwad persevere, undaunted by statistics or the constant threats.
“For many women around the world, there is no easy path to justice. Laws, government systems, and social norms favor perpetrators. In courtrooms, media, communities, and homes across the world, female victims of violence are often blamed, ignored, and not believed, entrenching the world in a system of silence and impunity.
“I have had the great privilege of watching, up close, Ilwad’s extraordinary life work unfold, as she shunned the comfortable life, trading it for courage beyond measure, stepping into being a fierce advocate for the world’s most marginalized, combating violence at its roots, through Elman’s extraordinary work ending violent extremism, and violence against women.
“Ilwad is the African leader of the future: Bold, compassionate, unrelenting in her work for every human being to realize human dignity and flourishing.
“I have also seen first-hand these women grapple with the deepest loss: That of daughter/ sister/ partner Almaas Elman last November. They carry on her spirit, and that of their father, through their tenacious commitment to human rights, safety, and dignity for all.
“Their family’s work stretches back over nearly 30 years – work that transforms the lives of Somali youth and embraces nonviolence and peacebuilding. Thankful to see recognition of their leadership and their generosity with the Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity.”