Lesley Abdela is an international expert on the advance of women in Politics and Public Life, Gender/post-conflict reconstruction (UNSCR1325/1888)mainstreaming Gender, Media and women's human rights. She has worked as an adviser in 40 different countries to governments and IGOs (United Nations, CoE, IOM, OSCE), NGOs and the European Commission. She is also a Journalist, broadcaster, public speaker and women's rights campaigner.
Lesley Abdela was in Kathmandu for six months to March 2008 as Senior Gender Adviser to the United Nations’ Humanitarian programmes in Nepal. Her work has included on-the-ground stints in Kosovo (OSCE), Aceh (IOM), Iraq ([Research Triangle Institute (RTI) Iraq Local Governance Programme) and [[Sierra Leone]] (DfID/British Council).
Recent assignments include (2011)Facilitator EuroMed Human Rights Gender Network workshops in Madrid for women activists from Egypt,Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria.(2010)Compiled assessment on ' Women’s Meaningful Participation in Peacebuilding and Governance in Nepal - UNSCR 1325' - NGO CARE Nepal, CARE Austria and CARE International funded by the Austrian Development Agency: Lead Expert compiling Gender Review on women in parliaments and Gender-sensitive Parliaments (for the Inter-Parliamentary Union, SIDA,CIDA and Irish Aid). Facilitator (2009) - workshops for Pakistan Journalists on Media coverage of Gender, Minorities and Religion (UN Alliance of Civilisations International Centre for Journalists). GenCAP Senior Gender Advisor UN Agencies Nepal (2008-09). Trainer International Civilian Peace-building and Training Programme Specialisation Course for women and men working in Armed Conflict situations. Participants included staff from UN agencies, INGOs, NGOs and Government officials (Austrian Study Centre for Peace and Conflict Resolution, 2009). Juror on the 2009 European Jury ‘For Diversity. Against Discrimination’ Journalist Awards (European Commission Directorate General for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities).Moderator and Speaker at the Council of Europe Seminar with National specialised bodies to combat racism and racial discrimination, Strasbourg 2009 - European Commission Against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI).
Lesley Abdela was a guest talking about the new UN Agency for women on BBC Radio 4 Women's Hour with Secretary for State for International Development Andrew Mitchell MP - New Year's Eve 2010.
Guest in March 2009 'For a Good Read' – host Sue Macgregor - talking about ‘Desert Queen’ the extraordinary life of Gertrude Bell.
Has also been a guest on: BBC Any Questions, Question Time and Have I got News for you.
Voted UK Woman Political Journalist of the Year 2009 by the UK Parliamentary Press Lobby, Members of the House of Commons, and Members of the Lords. www.womeninpubliclifeawards.co.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=18:lesley-abdela-political-journalist-of-the-year&catid=1:past-winners-2009&Itemid=9Past winners include the BBC’s Financial Editor Stephanie Flanders (2008), and the Guardian's columnist Polly Toynbee (2007).In 2009 her submission to the House of Commons Speakers Conference on the lack of women in Parliament was published online at http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/spconf/167/167we71.htm
Winner of ‘Today’s Youth Asia’ annual award January 2010, chosen by the publishers of the quarterly magazine based in Kathmandu devoted to news about pan-Asian youth and issues affecting them.Prior winner Dr Dee Aker of the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice (IPJ) at the University of San Diego.http://sites.sandiego.edu/ipj/blog/tag/dee-aker/
Lesley Abdela lives in Burwash, East Sussex.
Lesley Abdela is considered an expert in the field of gender and is an award-winning journalist. She has received many awards, including the UK Woman of Europe award for her work seeking the empowerment of women in Central and Eastern Europe. She was also the first Political Editor of Cosmopolitan in 1993. Recently, Lesley Abdela was voted into the New Statesman's poll "Top 50 Heroes Of Our Time.". She was chosen July 2007 United States Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs European Alumni of the Month
. Member of the Governing Board of the British Council- shared overall responsibility for British Council Policy in 109 countries 1995–2000•Governor - Nottingham Trent University 1997–2000•Board Member – International Institute of Environment and Development (IIED), 1992 to 1997•Founder and Leader of the 300 GROUP – all Party Campaign to increase the number of women in Parliament (40 branches across the UK) 1980–1985•Liberal Parliamentary Candidate - General Election - 1978 - 1979•Policy Researcher – in both Houses of Parliament - House of Commons and House of Lords 1977–1979
Lesley Abdela is the last direct descendant bearing the name of the British shipbuilding family which owned yards on the Manchester Ship Canal, Queen’s Ferry, and Brimscombe in Gloucestershire, UK. Isaac Jacob Abdela was the third son of Jacob Elias Abdela, a prominent leader in Corfu's political and economic life came to UK from Corfu in about 1870 when Isaac Jacob was 3 months old. Jacob Elias Abdela obtained a Certificate of Naturalisation in England in October 1878, having settled in Manchester. At about this period other Abdelas had migrated from Corfu to Egypt. Some had gone onward to Brazil and the USA. The exact timing of this diaspora is not yet available but it may explain the pattern of the three Abdela boatyards' later principal export market,the Peruvian Amazon and Mexico, and also to the White Nile/East Africa, Singapore, and Ceylon.
Gender/Post-Conflict activities: Lesley Abdela was the keynote speaker at the War Crimes Conference – Retrospectives and Prospects, at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, University of London, February 19/20/21 2009. Her talk concerned 'Women's Justice versus Peace' and protecting women witnesses in the lead-up to the trial, at the time of the trial, and after the trial - is justice for women often ignored in an attempt to achieve peace at any price?
May 2009 - ‘Voices of Peace from the Balkans and Caucasus’ Celebrating International Women’s Day for Peace and Disarmament, Lesley Abdela and EU Parliamentarian Kathalijne Buitenweg were participants at the Rasa Centre for World Cultures in Utrecht, The Netherlands, hosted by The Women Peacemakers Program in collaboration with Musicians without Borders
Lesley Abdela is Senior Partner in Shevolution, a gender equality consultancy; Chief Executive of Project Parity, a non-partisan NGO working to increase the proportion of women in politics, with particular emphasis on the developing world; a partner in consultancy Eyecatcher Associates; and co-founder (with Tim Symonds) of the all-party 300 Group for women in politics and public life.
Nepal and the Implementation of UNSCR1325 in Contemporary Security Studies’. Chapter in ‘Women, Peace and Security: Translating policy into practice’ (King’s College London 2011). ISBN 978-0-415-58797-6
. Egypt: the transition to democracy needs women. OpenDemocracy 9 February 2011 http://www.opendemocracy.net/lesley-abdela/egypt-transition-to-democracy-needs-women
‘Finally, a UN Super-Agency for women’: feature by Lesley Abdela in Britain’s Guardian Newspaper 27 May 2009. ‘ Many say the UN Agencies on the whole have failed the world's 3 billion-plus women – but a welcome change may be in the offing. Soon the UN general assembly will vote yes or no to a new ‘super-agency for women’; US$1bn is being discussed as the starter annual budget.Read at http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/may/27/un-super-agency-women• Bring women to the tableGuardian 31 Oct 2008: Lesley Abdela: Women must be recognised around the world for crucial role they play in resolving conflicts and building more peaceful societies. http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/oct/31/gender-women• Where are the women in British politics?Guardian 7 Jul 2008: Lesley Abdela: A woman's place: Despite the promise of the 1997 general election, the UK still has fewer female MPs than Cambodia. http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/jul/07/women
Guardian 8 May 2001: • Women lose ground' 'Lesley Abdela: Quotas are the only way to ensure an adequate number of female MPs. http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2001/may/08/houseofcommons.election2001
• Vote for chaos13 Jun 2000: Lesley Abdela: Early elections in Kosovo are just a way for the west to cut and run. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2000/jun/13/kosovo.comment
To be published in 2011. ‘Nepal and the implementation of UNSCR1325’ in Women, Peace and Security: Translating Policy into Practice. Routledge’s Contemporary Security Studies series. Introduction by ‘Funmi Olonisakin, Director of Conflict, Security & Development Group, King’s College London ISBN 978-0-415-58797-6 (hbk)
Fifty-six reels of audio recordings reflecting Abdela's experiences in Kosovo 1999/2000, attached to the OSCE, to Nepal 2007/2008, attached to UN OCHA, via Sierra Leone (British Council), Iraq (RTI/USAID), Afghanistan and Aceh (IOM), were recorded by Imperial War Museum archivist Lyn Smith during 2008.
Lesley Abdela’s interview for ‘Sisterhood and After: The Women’s Liberation Oral History Project is to be archived with the National Life Stories collection at The British Library: info on this project at Sussex University www.sussex.ac.uk/clhlwr/1-7-11.html
18 May 2011 public discussion House of Lords Committee Room 1: ‘Involving Civil Society in the work of the Council of Europe. Opening speaker Lesley Abdela. Chair Baroness Falkner May 18, 2011: Guest speaker Lesley Abdela, Royal United Services Institute Whitehall London. ‘In an Era facing worldwide deadly conflict and mass uprising, Peacemaking and Peacebuilding negotiations are overwhelmingly controlled by the men - but left to themselves, men have not proved good at it’
Professor De Groot spoke on the subject at a UNIFEM conference in Rwanda recently, quoting from a piece Lesley Abdela published on openDemocracy.net three years ago.
When men are injured or killed in battle they are lauded as heroes and statues are raised to them in city squares; when women are raped in deadly conflicts they suffer shame and humiliation, even in their families and towns and villages.
2011: ‘Sisterhood and After: The Women's Liberation Oral History Project.’ Extensive recordings of Lesley Abdela’s political memoires (but also including her growing-up years) by Dr. Margaretta Jolly, Co-Director, Centre for Life History, University of Sussex Falmer tel. +44 1273-873585