E4-S3 "Don't become a gender expert, always bring a gender lens" with Sanam Anderlini

Summary & Key Takeways

One of the main leaders behind Resolution 1325 and other groundbreaking U.N. Resolutions that changed the way women and gender issues are integrated in the global architecture for peace making. Equal parts scholar and activist and a thought leader who is responsible in part for the huge advancement of women, peace and negotiations in the last decade. Listen to Episode 4 of Season 3 to learn about the life and incredible professional trajectory of Sanam Anderlini.

In this episode we discuss:

  • How she grew up in Iran until the age of 11
  • Growing up during the Iranian revolution and she was sent abroad
  • 10 days turned 7 years
  • The experience of the Iranian revolution shaped her life to pursue a career in conflict transformation
  • Her BA is in English Literature and a MA in Social Anthropology
  • How she got her job at International Alert as assistant to speechwriter and later a ghostwriter
  • How at International Alert Sanam worked with some of the earlier work on gender and peacebuilding with Hutu and Tutsis women
  • In 1998, IA organized an event in Queens College bringing one of the first meetings of women working in conflict areas, and that inspired Sanam to continue the work on women and peacemaking
  • Sanam speaks about how WRITING well has been the key skill to her career
  • Sanam participated and was behind the campaign Women Building Peace from the Village Council to the Negotiation Table: an advocacy campaign with grassroots activism, peace prize and an advocacy arm to seek UN Council Resolutions
  • The importance of building partnerships and the power of collaboration
  • How Sanam was able to live on a modest salary in order to pursue her calling of organizing the global campaign for women
  • How her work on peace and conflict prevention is also her calling, her way of life and how she exercises self-care
  • Sanam talks about how she moved to the US when her children were small and started working at Hunt Alternatives
  • Sanam reflects on being a UN consultant which drove her to the idea to start her own NGO ICAN
  • Sanam shares a story of how she back-chanelled with the UN Security Council as she took care of her sick child in her living room
  • The story of how she incorporated and grow her NGO, ICAN
  • Advice from Sanam about starting your NGO and reflects on the issues of NGO funding
  • Sanam reflects on working for various UN agencies
  • Why NGOs give you the best experience and best skills possible to take on any job
  • The importance of having field experience
  • Sanam shares the best career advice she has received in her life
  • Sanam reflects on the benefits of having multiple skills
  • Sanam reflects on failure as a source of adaptation and creativity
  • Sanam’s top three things to pursue a career of impact

Related topics

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