GDSC Seminar on "Women in Afghanistan and the Region"
Join LISD’s Seminar on Global Diplomatic and Security Challenges (GDSC) for a session with Ms. Fawzia Koofi, Ms. Hasina Jalal, and Ms. Aizhan Chynybaeva on "Women in Afghanistan and the Region." This session will explore the framework for the withdrawal of American forces in Afghanistan and the importance of ensuring democratic safeguards and rights for women and minorities throughout the region. GDSC is a yearlong interactive seminar for graduate and undergraduate students led by Founding Director, Wolfgang Danspeckgruber. This seminar is co-sponsored by The American Whig-Cliosophic Society and the Program in Gender & Sexuality Studies at Princeton University. The seminar is open to the public and rsvp is required.
About the Speakers
Fawzia Koofi is a member of the Afghan parliament, women’s rights activist, and one of just four Afghan women at the negotiating table during current peace talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government in Doha, Qatar. In her role as a negotiator, Koofi has survived two assassination attempts — the first in 2010, when the Taliban targeted her convoy, and the second in August 2020, when she was shot by unknown gunmen. Koofi is an accomplished author, and internationally known outspoken advocate for the rights of women and children, democracy, and moderate Islam. She is the first female in the Afghan parliament to be elected as Second Deputy Speaker, and she heads the parliament’s Women Affairs Commission. Not only has Koofi humanized the otherwise faceless international discussion of the struggles and abuse of Afghan women, but she is also on the forefront of educating the international community as to the consequences for her, and other advocates of reform should the international community and their security forces be withdrawn. Koofi started her political career in 2001 when she began to promote a “Back To School” campaign targeted at the rights of women in Afghanistan to an education. By 2002 she took employment as a Child Protection Officer with UNICEF, and in 2005 she was elected as a parliamentary representative for Badakhshan province, her native region in the rural mountains of northern Afghanistan. Some of the key initiatives she has worked on include efforts to improve the living conditions for women in Afghan prisons, to mitigate violence against children, and to protect human rights. Koofi was recently nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.
Hasina Jalal is a promoter of women’s rights, democratic principles, writer, and lecturer from Afghanistan. With a focus on education and training for marginalized women in her community, Jalal has advocated for, and encouraged, the voices of young women to promote partnerships and collaboration with women’s groups and individuals. Jalal is a founder, co-founder, and director of several non-profit organizations and civil society alliances such as the National Association of Afghanistan Civil Society, the Afghanistan Women Empowerment and Capacity Building Center, the South Asian Female Alliance on Women’s Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, and the South Asian Women's Coalition for Cooperation. She has also co-founded the Afghani weekly Freedom Message Newspaper, an activist tabloid that exposes abuses of women’s rights and promotes freedom of expression, tolerance, and understanding of democratic principles and laws on human rights. Between 2016 and 2017, Jalal was a college lecturer at both Khorshid University and Saber University, as well as a Policy Analyst and Research Team Leader at the Presidential Palace. She has also worked as a Policy and Aid Effectiveness Advisor to the Minister of Mines and Petroleum of Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, other than being the Acting Director of the Donor Coordination and Program Design Directorate at the same Ministry. Jalal holds an MBA from the American University of Afghanistan and has advanced her studies in Women’s and Gender Studies from the University of Northern Iowa as a Fulbright scholar. Hasina Jalal is fluent in Persian, Pashto, English, Turkish, and Hindi/Urdu.
Aizhan Chynybaeva is the Vice Mayor of Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan where she develops policy and implements a set of measures in the social sphere of the city. She graduated from the American University of Central Asia (AUCA) with a degree in Business Administration. She received a master’s degree in Public Administration and Law at the Academy of Public Administration under the President of the Kyrgyz Republic (APAPKR). Prior to her previous role, she was General Director of “Dostuk Holding” CJSC, Director of “Talisman Village” LLC, General Director of “Club Hotel” LLC, and General Director of “Design Bureau” LLC. She has also been a member of the NGO Women’s Forum Kurak and the chair of the Public Association of Women of Kyrgyzstan.