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SEREDA Project Team Member Hala Nasr has been named as one of the top 40 under 40 most inspiring young alumni from the University of Auckland, New Zealand. She has also been nominated for ‘Young New Zealander of the year’ for her positive impact on survivors and perpetrators of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV).  Hala is currently a doctoral researcher at the University of Melbourne, Australia and is part of the GBV (Gender-Based Violence) Community of Practice, a global forum for co-ordination and collaboration on GBV prevention and response in humanitarian settings.  As part of the SEREDA Project, she is currently investigating how safe spaces can prevent and respond to SGBV in refugee settings within the Levant Region.  

Hala explained:

‘Most of the work I have done has been with survivors of SGBV, as well as people with harmful sexual behaviours. Listening in this space can be very challenging, especially when confronted with the unacceptable behaviours and attitudes in the first person. Listening doesn’t mean condoning behaviours or attitudes you don’t agree with, but it leads to connections being built and windows of opportunity for change. It requires an absolute belief in the transformative potential of humans.’ 

The SEREDA Project is a major research initiative being undertaken across the United Kingdom, Australia, Sweden and Turkey by a multi-country research team from the University of Birmingham, University of Melbourne, Uppsala University and Bilkent University.  Hala’s valuable research will contribute to the SEREDA Project aim of understanding the incidence and nature of SGBV experienced by refugees, in order to strengthen mechanisms for recognising and recording the extent of SGBV, and to provide appropriate responses – from the time of displacement, whilst in transit, and upon resettlement.  The project is being conducted in partnership with national and international NGOs providing services and support to refugees who have experienced violence, including the Women’s Refugee Commission, Doctors of the World, Foundation House and the Association for Solidarity with Asylum Seekers and Migrants (ASAM).