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Sarah and Hajar Accords set to bring women diplomats to the fore in West Asia

UNESCO artist Dr Guila Clara Kessous (Right), architect of the Sarah and Hajar accords with His Holiness the Dalai Lama

After the Abraham Accords that opened new routes of communication and trade between Arab states and Israel, a new agreement named Sarah and Hajar Accords, is expected to bring women to the forefront of diplomacy between Israel, UAE, Bahrain and Morocco. The accord, signed last month, is a tribute to Sarah and Hajar, wives of Prophet Ibrahim and mothers of Prophet Ishaq and Prophet Ismael.

Biblical prophets were born in the lineage of Prophet Ishaq and the last Prophet Muhammad was born among offspring of Prophet Ismael. Named after two motherly figures, the accord seeks to revive the strength and courage that gave rise to entire civilisations in the Middle East.

The aim of this historic agreement, developed by UNESCO Artist for Peace Dr Guila Clara Kessous, is to empower women in diplomacy and address women’s rights issues in the region.

Kessous, a longtime advocate for human rights — with an emphasis on women’s rights — told the Jewish Insider in an interview that she reached out to more than 30 prominent women in the region and in Europe, including Nobel Peace Prize winners and royalty in order to convince the governments of the four countries to embrace a Abraham Accords spinoff pact that would highlight women’s rights and elevate women in the diplomatic process.

While the new accord is largely a framework at this stage, Kessous has recruited prominent officials and leaders from each of the Abraham Accords countries. In Bahrain, Nancy Khedouri, the first female member of the country’s Shura Council and deputy chairperson of the Foreign Affairs, Defence and National Security Committee, has joined the initiative.

Maria Belafia, an elected official in the Rabat region and president of the Economic Commission in that region, will represent Morocco. From the UAE is Afra Mahesh Al Hameli, the director of the Strategic Communications Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

In Israel, former Knesset Member Ruth Wasserman Lande, who co-founded the first Knesset Caucus for the promotion of the Abraham Accords, will work with Kessous.

Women, the Vanguard of Diplomacy

The proponents of the accords believe that the women have a very interesting angle to solve even grave issues, they have different ideas and experiences but they are very often they’re less involved in plans to bring peace.

The accord will bring strong, well-connected and experienced women to brainstorm and think of initiatives, whether in terms of consulting or on the more practical, or business-related side, to invigorate the relations among the concerned four nations.

Besides, the Sarah & Hajar Accords represent a significant stride toward gender equality in diplomacy. It underscores the indispensable role women play in peace-building and societal development, particularly in a region historically dominated by male leadership.

The drafters of the accords believe that women pursue the path of peace and cooperative existence more effectively as they shepherd a family that is not different from spearheading a society or country and thus they will find ways in even on labyrinthine roads to achieve consensus and harmony.

It is believed that if the accord is implemented and finds traction among the women of the region, it may turn into a movement to end conflicts and promote trade and prosperity.

Also Read: Abraham Accords weave magic as Israeli tourists flock to Dubai