International: “Challenges of Change: Religion, Secularism & Rights”

Women's Learning Partnership

A one-day event will be held on “Challenges of Change: Religion, Secularism & Rights” in Washington, DC on 21 September 2010. The event is organized by the Women’s Learning Partnership (WLP) in cooperation with Cultural Conversations of the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), Johns Hopkins University.

Where: Kenney Auditorium, SAIS, John Hopkins University, 1740 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington DC

When: September 21, 2010   9:30 am - 5:30 pm

Registration: $15 (includes light lunch, coffee and refreshments)

Students: Free (ID required, optional lunch $10)

In a world plagued by ethnic and religious clashes, where some strive to impose their beliefs and lifestyles on all, women leaders from Africa, the Americas, Asia, and the Middle East will speak to the challenges of accommodating diversity while striving for human rights.

Speakers will discuss the impact of a decade of "clash of civilizations" rhetoric on the intellectual as well as pragmatic work of those who struggle for gender justice and seek to transform cultures of violence into cultures of peace. They discuss the interrelation between violence against women in the home and violence in the community, nation, and internationally. They will share strategies for mobilizing communities to bring about non-violent, positive change.


  • Mahboubeh Abbasgholizadeh (Iran), Former Editor-in-Chief, Farzaneh Women's Studies Journal
  • Mahnaz Afkhami (Iran/USA), Founder and President, Women's Learning Partnership
  • Zainah Anwar (Malaysia), Founder, Sisters In Islam
  • Karima Bennoune (Algeria/USA), Professor of Law, Rutgers University
  • Marian Wright Edelman (USA), Founder and President, Children's Defense Fund
  • Yakin Ertürk (Turkey), former United Nations Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women
  • Anne Gahongayire (Rwanda), Secretary General, Supreme Court of Rwanda
  • Pregs Govender (South Africa), Deputy Chairperson, South Africa Human Rights Commission
  • Asma Khader (Jordan), Secretary General, Jordanian National Commission for Women
  • Azar Nafisi (Iran/USA), Executive Director, Cultural Conversations, SAIS, Johns Hopkins University
  • Thoraya Ahmed Obaid (Saudi Arabia), Executive Director, United Nations Population Fund
  • Jacqueline Pitanguy (Brazil), Co-Founder and Director, Cidadania, Estudo, Pesquisa, Informação e Ação (Cepia)
  • Eleanor Smeal (USA), Founder and President, Feminist Majority Foundation


  • LaShawn Jefferson (USA), Women's Human Rights Program Officer, Ford Foundation
  • Frances Kissling (USA), Visiting Scholar, Center for Bioethics, University of Pennsylvania
  • Carolyn Long (USA), Director of Global Partnerships, InterAction
  • Regan Ralph (USA), Executive Director, The Fund for Global Human Rights

For more information: +1-301-654-2774 | |