"Iranian women have learned to resist peacefully when they can, aggressively when forced--but they never give up," writes Afkhami in her new essay "Open Windows and Fresh Air: The Struggle for Women's Rights in Iran" which is included in catalogue for the Shirin Neshat: Facing History exhibit which opened in May 2015 at The Hirshhorn Museum.
Culture is not always worth preserving. This sentiment was echoed throughout the panels and workshops at "Breaking Barriers: What it will take to achieve security, justice and peace," a recent conference at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice at the University of San Diego. The three-day conference drew 150 delegates, mostly women, from nearly 50 countries to discuss working solutions for developing sustainable peace.
Americans are bombarded with media coverage of the three-decade-old Islamic Republic and its nuclear aspirations. But there's more to Iran than Ahmdainejad, as can be seen in the Smithsonian's Freer and Sackler Galleries' new project, Feast Your Eyes: A Taste of Luxury in Ancient Iran. The Atlantic invited a panel of Iranian-American leaders to discuss the exhibit. Taking part in the dialogue are Azar Nafisi, the much-acclaimed Iranian-American author of long-standing New York Times bestseller Reading Lolita in Tehran; Massumeh Farhad, chief curator and curator of Islamic Art Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery; and Mahnaz Afkhami.
"The essential problem in relation to our predicament as women, but also with our world, is the architecture of human relations - a system of social organization that is based on hierarchy. This architecture is all pervasive from the family to the state and it holds across the world. We decided that we cannot “fix” what ails women without attending to what ails the world". Mahnaz Afkhami talks to Deniz Kandiyoti.
KQED Forum with Michael Krasny interviews Mahnaz Afkhami, Isobel Coleman, and Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and on women, social change and social justice in the Middle East.
“The infringement of women’s rights is usually exercised in the name of tradition, religion, social cohesion, morality, or some complex of transcendent values. Anyway, it is justified in the name of culture.” Gender Apartheid, Cultural Relativism, and Women’s Human Rights
“We must pose the question: why is it that the denial of the most rudimentary rights to civil treatment for women is always based on some fundamental point of culture? Is this culture real, or is it a fetish that is used to maintain some economic, social, or simply psychological privilege?” A Vision of Gender […]
At The American Academy in Berlin / Watch
The most taxing contradiction women leaders in Muslim countries face today is the one between the demands of modernity and the requirements of tradition as determined in advance by the modern Islamist world view. At the center of this conflict is the dilemna of Muslim women’s human rights: whether muslim women have rights because they are human beings or whether they have rights because they are Muslim women.
Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars “Dialogue Radio” / By George Liston Seay / Listen
To affect change, women must take charge of their own destiny. They must reclaim the tenets of their faith. They must also be willing to challenge deeply rooted traditions.
The Government of Iceland in cooperation with The Council of Women World Leaders hosted a Special Meeting of Women Ministers of Culture in Reykjavik, Iceland, on 29-30 August 2005 on the theme Women's Voices and Cultural Understanding. Afkhami was in attendance. The meeting was arranged in honour of Iceland's former President and first Chair of the Council of Women World Leaders, Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, who celebrated her 75th birthday in April 2005. Vigdís Finnbogadóttir served as President of the Republic of Iceland from 1980 to 1996. She was the first woman in the world to be elected Head of State in a democratic, national election.