Together with mothers in Afghanistan for the right to education for their daughters

26.11.20

A look back at our online High Level Panel Discussion of 25 November 2020 - Event recording, highlights, how you can get involved in the #RaiseAPen campaign

See also panelist bios and background information on the invitation article

Our virtual high-level panel discussion answering the call of Afghan mothers for the continued right to education for women and girls in Afghanistan was an inspirational event. There was transparency, courage and honesty not just in the panel discussion room but also in the audience chat room where animated comments and questions flew backwards and forwards – to the panelists – and to fellow attendees.

In her video message, which opened the discussion, Rahela Sidiqi, Founder & Director of the Farkhunda Trust for Afghan Women’s Education, an MMM associate member and partner of the #RaiseAPen campaign, set the tone:

“We need Afghan women’s voices to be a part of the global conversation. Education is a key engine of development and prosperity, the cornerstone for freedom and democracy. Afghan women are a strong catalyst for driving sustainable development and change. There can be no going back for them. The only way is forward.”

Watch the full event recording

Highlights of the discussion

  • “If my mother and father had not allowed me to go to school I would not have been what I am today… education allows us to take bold steps […] I do not want little girls to have no voice just by political decision, but I want them to be able to run a great nation like Afghanistan […] In Afghanistan, we lack role models particularly at local and provincial levels. We need more women educators, especially for older girls. We need investment in girls’ education, especially in some of the most conservative areas of the country.”  H.E Rangina Hamidi, Minister of Education I.R of Afghanistan
  • “Investment in Afghan women’s education is investment in Afghanistan […] Sustainable peace and development is not possible without the meaningful contribution and role of educated women.” Ambassador Mohammad Wali Naeemi, Deputy Permanent Representative of I.R of Afghanistan to the UN
  • “Girls’ education is one of the most powerful investments we can make for a better society, it has an impact on other sectors beyond education itself. You invest in girls’ education you invest in the future.”  Stefania Giannini, UNESCO Assistant Director General of Education
  • “What is it about education that makes extremists SO afraid? […] There is no better bulwark against conflict than education […] raising a pen is critically important. I’m proud to come together with mothers of Afghanistan.” Ambassador Melanne Verveer, Executive Director Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security
  • Violence against women should be stopped. Afghan women today suffer the potential danger of the possibility of education being taken away from them.Staffan de Mistura, Former UN Special Envoy to Afghanistan

How you can get involved

It was an emotional wrap to the event. When asked by our Moderator Mary Kaldor, Professor of Global Governance and CEO of the Conflict Research Program, IDEAS, London School of Economics and Political Science, to raise their pens in solidarity, all the panelists in unison did exactly that, pledging to support the campaign going forward.

It is clear that we all have a responsibility to spread the message far and wide, to raise the voices of Afghan women and girls loud and clear. To this effect, MMM President Anne-Claire de Liedekerke called on each of us to commit to concrete actions to take the campaign forward by presenting a ‘how you can get involved’ pledge.

A short video concluded the event, exemplifying what each of us can do: the more pens raised globally, the louder our collective voice.


Our sincere thanks to our panelists, the virtual audience, our partners and supporters, and a special thank you to UNESCO for its patronage of the event

 

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