Last summer, the world witnessed the United States’ withdrawal from Afghanistan, one of the largest and most rapid humanitarian evacuation missions in U.S. history. As the Taliban reclaimed power, Afghans fled the country, both to neighboring states by foot and via evacuation by the U.S. and its allies to be ultimately resettled as refugees. A two-part event series, hosted by the Women’s Rights, Human Rights and Refugees program at Baker Hall, brought together experts to discuss the evacuation efforts as well as what lies ahead for the future of Afghanistan — focusing in particular on the rights of Afghan women — and for those Afghan nationals able to resettle abroad.
The first event in this series featured a conversation with Dr. Sima Samar, a renowned Afghan women's and human rights advocate and activist. Samar is a member of the United Nations Secretary-General’s High-Level Advisory Board on Mediation and a former member of the UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Internal Displacement, as well as the former minister of women's affairs in Afghanistan. Sehba Sarwar, an artist, author, activist and founder of the Houston-based social justice nonprofit Voices Breaking Boundaries, moderated the conversation.
6:00 p.m. — Reception
6:30 p.m. — Discussion
7:15 p.m. — Q&A Session
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Sima Samar, M.D., is a renowned Afghan women's and human rights advocate and activist who has worked to help restore the rights of women and improve their economic, political, legal and social status in Afghanistan. She is a member of the United Nations Secretary-General’s High-Level Advisory Board on Mediation and a former member of the UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Internal Displacement. She is also the founder of the Shuhada Organization, which supports the education and health needs of Afghan refugee women and girls. She previously served as chairperson of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC), minister of women's affairs in Afghanistan, vice-chair of the Emergency Loya Jirga and UN special rapporteur on human rights in Sudan.
Dr. Samar has received several international awards, including the 1994 Ramon Magsaysay Award for Community Leadership and the 2004 Jonathan Mann Award for Global Health and Human Rights, and was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009. She has a degree in medicine from Kabul University Medical College and an honorary doctorate of humane letters from Brown University.
Founder and Former Director, Voices Breaking Boundaries