We are still here: Afghan women on courage, freedom, and the fight to be heard - Panel Discussion

A pre-launch panel discussion of the book 'We Are Still Here: Afghan Women on Courage, Freedom, and the Fight to be Heard'
  • Date 30 June 2022 - 2.00 p.m. - 30 June 2022 - 4.00 p.m.
  • Location Auditorium, Garden Quad, St John's College

We Are Still Here

Attendance is free but tickets are required.

Book on Eventbrite at: https://bit.ly/39rfviq.

The panel discussion will be followed by a reception.

'The narrative must be informed by Afghans, especially Afghan women experts.'

Nahid Shahalimi

After decades of significant progress, the prospects of women and girls in Afghanistan are once again dependent on radical Islamists who reject gender equality. When the United States announced the end of the twenty-year occupation and the Taliban seized control of the country on August 15th, 2021, so began a swift and drastic regression of social, political, and economic freedoms for women in the country. Now, almost a year later, the gains that had been made in the quest for gender equality might seem forever lost were it not for the women of Afghanistan themselves.

In WE ARE STILL HERE: Afghan Women on Courage, Freedom, and the Fight To Be Heard (Original publication in German, Wir sind noch da!, Elisabeth Sandmann Publication, November, 2021) author, artist, and social entrepreneur Nahid Shahalimi has collected the first-hand accounts of thirteen Afghan women who have worked as politicians, journalists, scientists, filmmakers, artists, coders, musicians, and more immediately after the fall of Kabul. In her foreword, Margaret Atwood shares how a trip to Afghanistan in 1978, and the near invisibility of women in public spaces, inspired her construction of women’s roles in The Handmaid’s Tale.

This panel discussion, a pre-launch event for the book, includes two of the women featured in the book, in conversation with Nahid Shahalimi and Zuzanna Olszewska, an anthropologist of Afghanistan.

Mariam Safi founded the Organization for Policy Research and Development Studies, a Kabul-based institute for research, community development, and women’s empowerment. She has been instrumental in several peacebuilding efforts, including speaking to the United Nations Security Council, and was a part of the Afghan delegation invited to Qatar for a two-day meeting with the Taliban political office.

Fawzia Koofi was a member of parliament and chairwoman of the Committee on Women and Human Rights. From 2005 to 2019 she was the first vice president of the National Assembly. To ensure that she could not pose a threat to Ashraf Ghani as a challenger in the 2014 presidential elections, the age for presidential candidacy was raised to forty.

Nahid Shahalimi was born in Afghanistan and left with her family when she was young to begin a new life in Canada. She later moved to Germany, where she works today as an author, artist, and social entrepreneur. She started travelling to Afghanistan in 2011, visiting Kabul and remote provinces to interview Afghan women. In 2017 she published her first book in German, Where Courage Bears the Soul, to great acclaim. The following year she released her award-winning film We The Women of Afghanistan: A Silent Revolution. Although Shahalimi is the author of numerous publications in journals, newspapers and German books, We Are Still Here is her first English language book publication.

Dr. Zuzanna Olszewska is Associate Professor in the Social Anthropology of the Middle East at the University of Oxford, and Tutorial Fellow in Archaeology and Anthropology at St. John’s College, Oxford. She is the author of numerous academic publications foregrounding the creativity and resilience of Afghan refugees, including the award-winning book The Pearl of Dari: Poetry and Personhood among Young Afghans in Iran (Indiana University Press, 2015).

Dr. Elisabeth Sandmann, an alumna of St. John's College, is the founder and publisher of Elisabeth Sandmann Verlag based in Munich, Germany, where the original edition of We Are Still Here was published.