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Fragile But Sustainable?: A Lunch Discussion With Afghan Activists

Monday, March 17, 2014 - 12:00pm

A private, off-the-record roundtable lunch discussion on women's rights in Afghanistan with four leading Afghan activists.


Monday, March 17, 2014
 noon - 1:45 PM
World Policy Institute
108 West 39th Street, Suite 1000
 New York, NY

This event is by invitation only. Priority registration is given to World Policy members. If you're interested in joining this discussion, email: politicalsalon@worldpolicy.org, and we'll do our best to accommodate you, space permitting.

As Afghanistan’s April 5 presidential and provincial council elections approach, the full political slates are a mixed bag for women’s rights. Fewer women are on the ballots this year than in the past two elections, yet women’s rights feature prominently in the campaigns of all presidential hopefuls. The country’s increasingly vocal women’s rights activists have tangible progress to show, as women now comprise one-third of Afghanistan’s registered voters and just last month the country named its first female police chief to oversee the sprawling District 1 headquarters in Kabul.

Please join four Afghan women leaders for an off-the-record discussion on safeguarding the fragile gains women have made in the past decade. As we look beyond Karzai and beyond Western intervention, what’s at stake for Afghan women? How can small victories coalesce into a sustainable national movement, and how can the international community aid this process?

Speakers include:

  • Hasina Safi, Director of the Afghan Women’s Network

  • Palwasha Hasan, Co-founder of the Afghan Women’s Network and member of Women and Street Children Project and the Afghan Women Advocacy Coalition

  • Lida Nadery, Deputy Chief of Party for USAID’s Land and Reform in Afghanistan Project
  • Mary Akrami, Director of Afghan Women Skills Development Center
 


Moderated by Michelle Fanzo, World Policy Institute Project Leader
 Michelle Fanzo has more than 15 years of international experience in development, humanitarian affairs, and peace and security. From 2005-2009 Michelle was the Vice President of International Operations for Arzu, an NGO that provides education, jobs, and healthcare to strengthen rural Afghan communities and empower women. Before that she worked for the United Nations for seven years, including working in the UN Office of the Secretary-General under Kofi Annan, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, and in the UN Country Team in Myanmar.

 
 ABOUT THE SPEAKERS
 
Hasina Safi is Executive Director of the Afghan Women’s Network, an umbrella organization of more than 100 NGOs and 5000 individuals committed to supporting Afghan women. Hasina has over 20 years of experience in women’s empowerment, program development, training and capacity building, advocacy, peace, and human rights. She has worked for the International Red Cross, the Danish Committee for Aid to Afghan Refugees, the International Organization for Migration, Afghanistan Women’s Education Centre, and the United Nations Development Program. She has represented civil society and Afghan women in national, regional, and international events such as the Consultative Peace Jirga, Traditional Loya Jirga, London Conference, Kabul Conference, and Senior Officials Meetings.

Palwasha Hasan has over eighteen years of experience in women's development and empowerment projects, and is the founding member of the Afghan Women's Network, the Women and Street Children Project, and Roazana. She served as National Director for Child Fund International in Afghanistan and has represented civil society groups in numerous constitutional and peacekeeping negotiations including the Constitutional Loya Jirga, the Peace Jirga on Afghanistan and Pakistan, the Consultative Peace Jirga, and the Afghanistan Reconstruction Forum in Tokyo and Kabul. Palwasha holds a master's degree in Post-war Recovery Studies from York University and is a former fellow of the United States Institute of Peace.
 

Lida Nadery is the Deputy Chief of Party for USAID’s Land and Reform in Afghanistan Project where she oversees the implementation of land tenure reform for market development. She is on the board of the Afghan Women’s Network, helped establish the Afghan Women’s Advocacy Coalition, advised the Ministry of Women’s Affairs in their efforts to include policy development and advocacy in girls’ education, and is a Co-founder of Modern Education for Development, which empowers women to advocate more effectively through public speaking and debate training. She coordinated the Women’s Inheritance and Land Rights Public Information Awareness Campaign and advocated the Elimination of Violence Against Women Law to the Afghan Parliament, the Cabinet, and the President’s office.



Mary Akrami has been the Director of Afghan Women Skills Development Center since 1999. She founded the organization during her exile in Pakistan in order to build the capacity of Afghan women through English and computer literacy classes. In 2001, she represented Afghan civil society in Bonn and has since conveyed her experiences of civil society work at numerous international forums, including the World Social Forum in Brazil 2005. She has been involved in shelters for battered women, micro enterprise schemes for women, and has set up Peace Shuras and Committees with strong female representation in the Parwan Province.

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