Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Women: Politics and Leadership

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Women: Politics and Leadership

Article excerpt

THE WOMEN'S Learning Partnership for Rights, Development, and Peace (WLP) held a joint panel on April 3 with the Dialogue Project of Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) titled: "The Politics of Participation: Women and Transformative Leadership."

Introductory remarks were made by Reading Lolita in Tehran author Azar Nafisi, who currently is a SAIS visiting scholar and the Dialogue Project's director. Noting that "Women have become the canaries of the mines," Nafisi added that, as such, their situation provides the best indicator of a nation's condition. Moderating the discussion were former Iranian Minister for Women's Affairs Mahnaz Afkami, now executive director of the Foundation for Iranian Studies and WLP's president/CEO, and Zainah Anwar, board member of Sisters in Islam and a free-lance writer.

The six panelists are exemplary international activists working toward ensuring women's empowerment and political participation: Chibogu Obinwa of Nigeria, program officer of Baobab for Women's Human Rights; Malena de Montis of Nicaragua, founder of the NGO El Fondo para el Desarollo de la Mujer; Rose Shomali of Palestine, director general of Women's Affairs Technical Committee; Masuma Hasan of Pakistan, former ambassador to Austria and a member of the board of governors of the Aurat Foundation Lahore, Sustainable Development Policy Institute, and Pakistan Institute of International Affairs; Tolekan Ismailova of Kyrgyzstan, director of the Human Rights Center/Citizens Against Corruption and founder of the Coalition for Democracy and Civil Society; and Aminetou Mint El Mokhtar of Mauritania, president of the Association des Femmes Chefs de Familles (AFCF).

Each woman briefly described her agency's operation and the level of female participation in her country's municipal and national governments. …

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