November 2, 2007

Introducing Zohl

Nobel Peace Prize nominee, Dr. Zohl dé Ishtar is an Honorary Research Fellow at the Institute for Social Science Resesarch: Australian Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Queensland. An Irish-Australian sociologist, Zohl has worked in collaboration with Indigenous Australian and Pacific peoples since 1979.

Zohl has been a member of the Indigenous-led global Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific network since 1983. She was the founding-coordinator of Britain’s Women for a Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific, operating out of Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp, from 1984 to 1988. In 1983, Zohl joined the World Bike Ride for Peace riding a bicycle through seven European countries to raise awareness about colonisation and militarisation in the Pacific, including Australia. In 1998 & 1999 Zohl was the Oceanic Representative (Female) for the International Peace Bureau and organised the Pacific stream at the United Nations' Citizen Centennial Conference in 1999 in The Hague.

Publishing extensively on the Pacific, Zohl is the author of Daughters of the Pacific (1994, Spinifex Press, Melbourne) and editor of Pacific Women Speak Out for Independence and Demilitarisation (1998, Raven, Christchurch). Her most recent book is Holding Yawulyu: White Culture and Black Women’s Law (Spinifex Press, 2005) which documents the story of the Kapululangu Aboriginal Women’s Association. (You can order copies at

Since 1993, Zohl has been involved with the remote Aboriginal community of Balgo in Western Australia's south-east Kimberley. First working as a facilitator with the Manungka Manungka Women’s Association (1993-1994). Then, from 1999 through 2001, as the founding-coordinator/administrator of the Kapululangu Aboriginal Women’s Association and facilitator of the Kapululangu Women’s Law and Culture Centre cultural program, at the women elders' request. As Kapululangu’s ongoing coordinator since 2005, Zohl is working with the elders to develop their whole-of-community, whole-of-life Circles Of Cultural Learning pedagogical program in response to social issues such as violence and sexual abuse against women and children.

In recognition of this work, and Zohl's contribution to Australia’s and the global lesbian community, she was nominated to the Nobel Peace Prize 2005 as part of the global “1000 Peace Women for the Nobel Peace Prize” project initiated by SwissPeace, the Swiss Peace Foundation, and supported by the Swiss government. Raising awareness of women peace builders around the world covering 150 countries, this ambitious campaign to continues as Peace Women Across the Globe (

Zohl was awarded Deakin University’s prestigious Isi Liebler Prize (2003) for her PhD thesis, “Holding Yawulyu: White Culture and Black Women’s Law” granted “for advancing knowledge of racism, religious or ethnic prejudice in any time and place, and for advancing multiculturalism and community relations in Australia”.

Zohl’s skill in networking Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples throughout the region is internationally recognised. Conducting 14 international research and speaking tours to 32 countries and has also organised and hosted tours for 33 Indigenous Australian and Pacific women and men to Britain, Europe, Hawaii and the North Americas.

With a background in puppetry, circus and theatre, Zohl has run innovative workshops in cross-cultural awareness, unlearning racism, cross-cultural communication and cross-cultural conflict resolution. Since 1983, she has lectured and run workshops in Australia, Britain, Canada, Fiji, the Philippines, Guam, the Marshall Islands, Palau (Belau), the Federated States of Micronesia, Tahiti-French Polynesia, the USA, and across Europe.

Zohl's research interests are White cultural practices and their impact on Indigenous women’s cultural projects; cross-cultural collaborative community development, Indigenous cultural revitalisation, social change and sustainable development, the impact of militarisation on small Indigenous communities, and cross-cultural methodologies.

Contact: Dr Zohl dé Ishtar, CEO, Kapululangu Aboriginal Womens Association


Zohl's Books


Holding Yawulyu: White Culture and Black Women’s Law

Order it from your local bookshop or directly from Spinifex Press
A multi-paged preview is online at Google Books


Daughters of the Pacific

A multi-paged preview is online at Google Books



Pacific Women Speak Out for Independence and Denuclearisation

This book is available online at

Edited Zohl dé Ishtar.
Joint project of
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (Aotearoa New Zealand), the Disarmament and Security Centre (Aotearoa New Zealand),
and Pacific Connections (Australia):
Christchurch, Aotearoa New Zealand

Pacific Women Speak Out has been translated into:

1999: Japanese translation of Pacific Women Speak Out for Independence and Denuclearisation (1998). Translated by Hiro Iwasaki and Satomi Oba. Kyoto Gakugei University, Japan. (80pp).)


2000: German translation of Pacific Women Speak Out for Independence and Denuclearisation (1998). Lernen Aus Dem Leid. Frauen der Pazifik-Inseln schildern die Schlicksale ihrer Volker. Neuendettelsau, Germany: Pazifik Netzwerk, Pazifik-Infostelle, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (Aotearoa), the Disarmament and Security Centre (Aotearoa), and Pacific Connections (Australia). (100pp).)

To order Zohl's books go to
Spinifex Press website at



Read about the Kapululangu Aboriginal Women's Association, the only women's organisation of the Kutjungka-Tjurabalan region of the south-east Kimberley, with the local women elders striving to foster resilience and cultural sustainability for their grandchildren and great-grannies. Kapululangu is a cultural education, healing, safety and community development project. A local response to locally identified problems.

For more information about Kapululangu go to