International Women’s Day: Empowering Women to Counter Violent Extremism

March 09, 2016
03:00 pm - 05:00 pm




Saba Ismail (Pakistan), Director of Aware Girls, NED grantee

Myra Dahgaypaw (Burma), Policy Advisor for the U.S. Campaign for Burma, NED grantee

Niemat Ahmadi (Sudan), Founder of Darfur Women Action Group

Najla Mangoush (Libya), Peacebuilding Consultant


Mahnaz Afkhami
Founder of Women’s Learning Partnership for Rights, Development, and Peace

About the Speakers

Mahnaz Afkhami is the founder and President of Women’s Learning Partnership for Rights, Development, and Peace (WLP), Executive Director of Foundation for Iranian Studies, and former Minister of State for Women’s Affairs in Iran. She founded the University Women’s Association of Iran and served as Secretary General of the Women’s Organization of Iran prior to the 1979 Islamic revolution. In exile in the United States, Ms. Afkhami has been a leading advocate of women’s rights for more than three decades and founded several international NGOs focused on advancing the status of women.

Niemat Ahmadi is Founder and President of Darfur Women Action Group and the former director of global partnerships for United to End Genocide. She has worked with a variety of international NGOs on human rights advocacy. In 2008, she was recognized by President George W. Bush as one of the eight global human rights fighters for freedom of their people. Since settling in the U.S., Niemat has been a vocal advocate on behalf of Darfuri genocide survivors and women victims of sexual and gender-based violence.

Myra Dahgaypaw is Policy Advisor for the U.S. Campaign for Burma and a human rights activist from Karen State, Eastern Burma. She was an internally displaced person for about 12 years and a refugee for 17 years until she resettled in the United States. Myra has played a strong role in her community as an organizer and a human rights advocate. As a member of the Karen Women’s Organization and a board member of the Karen American Communities Foundation, Myra has testified before the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission. She assists and advocates for refugees from Burma who are resettled in the U.S.

Saba Ismail is Executive Director of Aware Girls, a women-led organization working to strengthen the leadership capacity of young women, enable them to work for social change, and advocate for equal access to health, education, and social services. Saba’s organization focuses on promoting the political participation of young women, educating them about sexual and reproductive rights, and combating violence against women. Saba also founded and serves as Vice Chairperson of the Coalition on Rights and Responsibilities of Youth (CRY), a network that seeks to build the capacity of youth to promote tolerance in their communities.

Najla Mangoush is a lawyer and a professor of law, with a focus on war-to-peace transitions, political negotiations, and peace processes. She previously served as the country representative for the United States Institute of Peace in Libya, and she was a senior staff member of Libya’s National Transitional Council. She is currently pursuing her PhD at George Mason’s School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, with an academic focus on religion and violence, conflict resolution, and social justice.