Sanam Naraghi-Anderlini is the Founder and Executive Director of ICAN, spearheading the Women’s Alliance for Security Leadership (WASL) with member organizations active in preventing violent extremism by promoting peace, rights and pluralism in over 30 countries. She is an adjunct professor at Georgetown University. In 2011, she was the first Senior Expert on Gender and Inclusion on the UN’s Mediation Standby Team. For over two decades she has been a leading international advocate, researcher, trainer and writer on conflict prevention and peacebuilding. In 2000, she was among the civil society drafters of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security.

Between 2002 and 2005, as Director of the Women Waging Peace Policy Commission, Ms. Anderlini led groundbreaking field research on women’s contributions to conflict prevention, security and peacemaking in 12 countries.  Since 2005, she has also provided strategic guidance and training to key UN agencies, the UK government and NGOs worldwide, including leading a UNFPA/UNDP needs assessment into Maoist cantonment sites in Nepal. Between 2008-2010, Ms. Anderlini was Lead Consultant for a 10-country UNDP global initiative on “Gender, Community Security and Social Cohesion” with a focus on men’s experiences in crisis settings.

In 2018 she was invited to join the Commonwealths Panel of Experts on Countering Violent Extremism (CVE). She is also a member of UNDP’s Civil Society Advisory Council. Prior appointments include the Advisory Board of the UN Democracy Fund (UNDEF), the Civil Society Advisory Group (CSAG) on Resolution 1325, chaired by Mary Robinson in 2010 and the Working Group on Gender and Inclusion of the Sustainable Development Network and between 2005-2014 she was a Research Associate and Senior Fellow at the MIT Center for International Studies.

Ms. Anderlini has published extensively on peace and security issues, including on Iran and Saudi Arabia, the phenomenon of violent extremism, and women’s agency in shaping national security. In 2007 she published Women building peace: What they do, why it matters (Lynne Rienner) . She was the 2014 recipient of the United Nations Association of the National Capital Area Perdita Huston Award for human rights and the 2016 Greeley Peace Scholar at the University of Massachusetts.  Her media appearances include the BBC World Service television and radio. Her editorials have appeared in The Guardian, Foreign Affairs, Open Democracy, Ms. Magazine and other publications.

She holds an M.Phil in Social Anthropology from Cambridge University. Iranian by birth, she is a UK citizen, and has twin daughters.


 Click here to listen to Sanam talk about the unique role women play in efforts to counter violent extremism

Op-Eds and Commentaries

The War Whisperers, Their Successful Iraq War, And The Targeting Of Iran

An op-ed by Sanam Naraghi Anderlini addressing the Iraq war and the targeting of Iran through the lens of regional geopolitics.
“The U.S. should be wary of these [war] whisperers, for while it foots the bill and the world pays for unknowable and uncontainable consequences, others will reap the reward.”

To Sustain Peace: Heed the Warnings & Prevent the Next War

By Sanam Naraghi-Anderlini
As the May 12 deadline looms for the US’s endorsement of the JCPOA, world leaders who claimed to support Mr.Guterres’ sustaining peace agenda, have a clear moral imperative: to stand by their words and sustain the peace for the millions of civilians in Iran and beyond who would pay the price if violence escalates.

Iran After Protests: Change Does Come

By Sanam Naraghi Anderlini
If past events are any predictor of the present, it would be erroneous to assume that they will result in either the status quo remaining or the hardline reasserting control.

Peacekeeping is a Woman’s Job

Some 17 years after the UN resolution on women, peace and security, women make up just 5 percent of deployed blue helmets. It’s time to find the political will to upend the status quo.

Iran: The Change that Matters Is Happening Already

By Sanam Naraghi Anderlini and Sina Azodi
The change in the Iranian political sphere is prompted by the dynamic transformation of its social and cultural space since 1979. One of the best indicators of this transformation is the status of women, who have been key players all along.

UN Peacekeepers’ Sexual Assault Problem

By Sanam Naraghi-Anderlini
Sexual abuse by peacekeeping forces demands the international community’s attention. Sanam discusses how to end it once and for all.

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