Maha Abu-Dayyeh Shamas


Maha Abu Dayyeh Shamas was the co-founder and executive director of the Women’s Centre for Legal Aid and Counselling (WCLAC), an independent Palestinian organization in Jerusalem. The center works for the defense and promotion of human rights of Palestinian women and contributes to the development of a new feminist discourse in Palestine. Ms. Abu Dayyeh worked locally in the occupied Palestinian territory to address the complex political, legal, social, and cultural needs of Palestinian women living under occupation. She was also deeply engaged in regional and international arenas, where she advocated to ensure full rights and justice for all women and to promote genuine security for all people. Ms. Abu Dayyeh was a recipient of the French Republic Human Rights Award (1998) and the Ms. Woman of the Year Award (2002). She was active in Palestinian civil society and founded and/or sat on the boards of several local Palestinian human rights organizations promoting democracy and civil society. She was also a member of the board of directors of Equality Now. Ms. Abu Dayyeh received her bachelor’s degree in English, education, and history at University of Tennessee.