Mission Statement

Women without Borders - SAVE: Include, Involve, Invest!

Edit Schlaffer

“Including women in the security arena is a great challenge, but times of crisis are also often times of opportunity. This is our moment as women to exercise our smart power and meet global challenges with competence and confidence.” – Edit Schlaffer, Founder and Executive Director of Women without Borders/SAVE

Edit Schlaffer is a social scientist, writer, activist and holds a PhD from the University of Vienna. In 2002 she founded Women without Borders, an international research-based NGO, encouraging women to take the lead in their personal and public lives. Her research and activities focus on women as agents of change and as driving forces to stabilize an insecure world.

In 2008 she launched SAVE - Sisters Against Violent Extremism, the world’s first female counter-terrorism platform.

Schlaffer has received numerous accolades for her work promoting women in the security arena: Hillary Clinton has twice highlighted SAVE’s contributions to the field; in 2010 she was named as one of Women’s eNews “21 Leaders of the 21st Century” and in 2011 one of Newsweek’s “150 Movers and Shakers” and she has received many national prizes including the Käthe Leichter Austrian State Prize for Gender Equity and Research, the Theodor Körner Prize for Outstanding Research and the Donauland Book Prize for Excellency in Non-Fiction Writing.

She is a regular speaker in diverse settings: from the TED talks, the Omega Institute, Hedayah, the Global Center on Cooperative Security, the Europe-wide Radicalisation Awareness Network to the OSCE and various United Nations branches.

Our Mission - Women as the first line of defense

Women without Borders, with its headquarters in Vienna, Austria, is an advocacy and research organization for women around the globe.

Women without Borders brings together courageous and determined women to create a new female security paradigm. We advocate for a future without fear, suppression and violence.

Women without Borders encourages women to become active participants in their communities, to co-shape their present and their future.

Women without Borders promotes the role of women in the security sphere and sensitizes mothers in particular to their role and responsibility to challenge violent extremist ideologies.

SAVE – Sisters Against Violent Extremism is the leading global campaign of Women without Borders. SAVE is a unique transatlantic initiative uniting women (and men) from around the world in the first research-based female counter-terrorism platform.

SAVE is mobilizing and promoting women’s roles in alternative diplomacy, dialogue and leadership for security.

SAVE forms the missing link between women at the community level where radicalism is propagated and decision-making levels where counter violent extremism strategies are shaped. In this way, SAVE raises awareness for the potential of women to contribute to new avenues to peace.

SAVE sends a strong message around the world that civil society can and should be the first line of defense against violent extremist ideologies.

Our Work

- SAVE has developed the Mothers School model to empower women to take an active role in safeguarding their families against the threat of violent extremism. The Mothers School curriculum and workshops offer concerned mothers training in personal, communication and parenting skills so they can recognize and react to early warning signs of possible radicalization in their children. Mothers learn to provide counter narratives and offer alternatives that foster positive youth development and resilience.

This innovative approach to security provides mothers the skills and the tools for prevention and intervention right where they have the best access for action: in their homes and communities.

The overall aim is to promote the Mothers School concept on a global scale, creating a Mothers School movement.

- SAVE initiates ground-breaking dialogue between opposing sides and encourages women to challenge extremist thinking.

- SAVE mobilizes victims, survivors as well as perpetrators to move beyond personal tragedy and become part of the solution.


Executive Board

Xenia Hausner

Renowned painter and photographer Xenia Hausner manages the aesthetic design of Women without Borders and SAVE. Before dedicating her life to painting she set designs for more than hundred theater and opera productions, including works for Covent Garden London, Burgtheater Vienna, Théâtre de la Monnaie in Brussels and the Salzburg Festival. Her exhibitions acclaim international attention and travel across the world. (www.xeniahausner.de)


Claudia von Monbart

Claudia von Monbart specialises in gender, culture, and international development. After serving the UN as a diplomat in Lima and Vienna, she pursued a career at the World Bank’s European Office in Paris, where inter alia she founded the German World Bank Forum and promoted the dialogue with main shareholders and the World Bank. Her sustainable development expertise have taken her on extensive field missions across Asia and Africa. She now consults as an impact evaluator and lives between France, Austria, and Uruguay.


Honorary Board & Team

Honorary Board Members

Ben Emmerson is UN Special Rapporteur on Counter Terrorism and Human Rights. An international lawyer, he has 25 years’ experience practicing litigation in international courts and tribunals including the International Court of Justice, the European court of Human Rights or the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia.

Pat Mitchell is the Executive Vice Chair at The Paley Center for Media in New York City. She is a driving force in multi -media received numerous awards including Newsweek's 2011 list of 150 Women Who Shake the World, the Huffington Post’s 2012 list of the Most Powerful Women Over 50, Forbes.com list of ‘Women Changing the World’ and featured in Fast Company’s Special Report, ‘The League of Extraordinary Women’.

Manal Omar is the associate vice president for the Middle East and Africa Center at the United States Institute of Peace in Washington, D.C. Omar has extensive experience in the Middle East from humanitarian aid, capacity building and development, with Women for Women International as regional coordinator for Afghanistan, Iraq and Sudan and in the Libya Stabilization Team and the World Bank’s development economics group among others. Omar is the author of ‘Barefoot in Baghdad: A Story of Identity’ published in 2010 and in 2011 and 2012, she was named among Top 500 World’s Most Influential Arabs by Arabia Business Power .

Vandana Shiva is a famous environmental activist from India. She is the proponent of the Grandmothers' University that aims at both celebrating and validating the wisdom and values of grandmothers. The author of more than 20 books, Shiva is one of the leaders and board members of the International Forum on Globalization; she was identified as an environmental hero by Time Magazine and received the Right Livelihood Award as well as the Sydney Peace Prize.

Juan C. Zarate is the senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), responsible for the Transnational Threats Project and Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Program. He is senior national security analyst for CBS News and visiting lecturer at the Harvard Law School and recently published the book Treasury’s War: The Unleashing of a New Era of Financial Warfare (PublicAffairs, 2013).


Women without Borders SAVE Team

Mag.a Elisabeth Kasbauer is the Program Director for Women without Borders programs as well as the ongoing SAVE campaign. She holds a degree in communication science and Spanish and joined Women without Borders shortly after the organisation took off.

Dr. Ulrich Kropiunigg is a psychotherapist and Professor of Psychology at the Medical University in Vienna. He serves as Director of Research for Women without Borders / SAVE. His consistent incorporation of psychological components is encouraging a new academic interest in the understanding of radicalization processes and de-radicalization methods, such as the recent paper ‘Framing Radicalization and De-radicalization’ published in the US Journal of Individual Psychology.

Georgina Nitzsche MSc is our Special Projects Manager for the SAVE campaign and co-wrote the Mothers School curriculum – a parenting for peace approach to security on the home front.


Co-workers and interns

We cordially thank all our supporters and volunteers, whose contribution is important for the successful realization of our work.