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The Sexuality Institute

What is the Sexuality Institute?

Designed as a comprehensive curriculum on sexuality, sexual and reproductive health and rights with an in-depth discussion on the linkages between research and practice, the CSBR Sexuality Institute offers a holistic interdisciplinary program combining history, theory, research and politics of sexuality with applications of advocacy and fieldwork.

Held previously in Turkey (2009), Indonesia (2010), Malaysia (2008, 2011), Egypt (2012), Nepal (2013), Tunisia (2014), Sri Lanka (2016), and Kyrgyzstan (2017), the CSBR Sexuality Institute has supported leading advocates from over 150 organizations/networks throughout 36 countries in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Europe to strengthen their advocacy and organizing for sexual and bodily rights as human rights across Muslim societies.

Over a dynamic six days, the Sexuality Institutes uses a participatory methodology to engage participants’ own experiences around sexuality, and combines lectures, group work, round-tables, panels, site visits and film screenings to strengthen collaborative learning & strategy sharing towards sexual rights advocacy.

Institute Goals & Aims

The realization of sexual and reproductive health and rights is an integral part of gender equality, development and social justice. However, sexuality continues to be a contested site of political struggles both in Muslim societies and across the globe. Increasing global militarism, conservatism, and nationalism over the last two decades provoked a serious backlash on sexual and reproductive health and rights, both at national and global levels. Given the current polarizations, it is more pertinent than ever to strengthen critical insight, further research, enhance knowledge and capacity on sexual and reproductive health and rights, and build an inclusive and affirmative discourse on sexuality.

In the above mentioned context, the aims of the CSBR Sexuality Institute are:

  • To further knowledge on the multi-dimensional and intersecting aspects of sexuality, health and rights;
  • To develop a deeper theoretical understanding of sexuality through a historical overview and analysis of current debates and research at the global level;
  • To provide a comprehensive and holistic understanding of sexuality in Muslim societies through a discussion of the history, legal frameworks, research, and current discourses;
  • To enhance participants’ sexual and reproductive health and rights advocacy skills on national and international levels;
  • To increase participants’ capacity as leading advocates, practitioners and researchers on sexuality issues at national, regional and international levels.

Who Can Participate?

The Institute will be limited to 25 participants, as it is designed as an intensive six-day participatory group training. Applications will be reviewed by the CSBR Training Committee. The language of the Institute will be English.

Eligible applicants for the Institute must:

  • Have a minimum of 2 years experience working in the field of sexual and reproductive health and rights;
  • Have a commitment to undertake efforts to promote sexual and bodily health and rights at national and international levels;
  • Represent an organization/institution engaged in sexual and reproductive health and rights advocacy, research or fieldwork;
  • Be fluent in English.

Tuition, Travel and Accommodation

Tuition for each participant is 100 USD.

  • A limited number of scholarships to cover international travel & attendance costs are available for participants from smaller organizations based in the Global South.
  • Applicants from international NGOs, and organizations based in Europe and North America, are not eligible for scholarships and must cover their own travel & attendance costs for the training.


Faculty & Resource People 

The Institute faculty & resource people consist of internationally renowned experts in the field of sexuality in the Global South. Over the years, we have brought in over 30 faculty members, hailing from Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Lebanon, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Tunisia, and Turkey.

Issues the Institute addresses include a conceptual and historical framework of sexuality; contemporary discourses and debates around sexuality, sexual and reproductive health rights; sexuality in Muslim societies; sexual diversities; sexuality & citizenship; rights-based approaches to ending gender-based violence; youth sexuality; national and international advocacy on sexual and bodily rights.

The Institute also incorporates sessions focused on application and experience-sharing, including round-tables featuring participants’ work on sexuality and strategizing sessions.

Participant Testimonials

“I would summarize the experience I had at the CSBR Institute in one word – that is: LIBERATING. The novelty of this [CSBR’s] discourse in our socio-cultural context is certainly one important aspect, but more importantly, the silence that our society harbors around sexuality has become so “normal” that we often forget how integral it is to our existence and well-being.” (Mahrukh Mouhiddin, BRAC University – Bangladesh, CSBR Sexuality Institute 2008).

“In one sentence; the Institute has shown me that sexuality is not only about problems, ill-being and repercussion; it is also about pleasure, happiness, well being and CHANGE” (Gulalai Ismail, Aware Girls – Pakistan, CSBR Sexuality Institute 2009).

“The Institute provided us with a very holistic picture about the issues around sexuality. The sessions were interconnected and helped me integrate feminist perspective into the sexual health perspective. The Institute gave me very important tools to deal with the issues in my own country, and empowered me to talk about the real issues of the society from the perspective of sexuality, sexual health and rights.” (Dr. Muhammed Aslam Bajwa, Organization for Participatory Development – Pakistan, CSBR Sexuality Institute 2010).

“In face of the rise of the so called fundamentalism or hard line Islamic revivalism, the Institute gave me the basic paradigm to see and analyze how we take position in order to challange the repression.” (Dwi Ayu, Komnas Perempuan – Indonesia, CSBR Sexuality Institute 2008).

“I have never been to anything this exhaustive and detailed. It shed light on the intersections between religion, sexuality, health, the terminology and bodily rights. I learned more about the international arena and how to use it to advance your case. It was very instrumental for me both at the personal and professional level, basically shaping the way I will address my work.” (Joelle, MEEM – Lebanon, CSBR Sexuality Institute 2009).