Suraya Pakzad speaks on women’s rights in Afghanistan

Voice of Women Organization’s executive director, Suraya Pakzad, was on campus today to discuss “Afghanistan on the Ground: A Woman’s View” at our final Fall 2010 Schemel Forum World Affairs Briefing.

Ms. Pakzad discussed the difficult conditions experienced by women in Afghanistan and her fight to improve women’s rights in her country, despite many threats to her family’s safety.  She thanked Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and American and international troops for their support, without which she said that her work over the past ten years would not have been possible.  However, Ms. Pazkad also noted that a “bridge of understanding” is desperately needed between the American and Afghani peoples: “Why are our nations so far from each other? Why can’t we understand each other as we should?”  “We need you to stay with us,” she added. “We have to acknowledge and respect each other.”

Many thanks to Ms. Pakzad and to our Schemel Forum director, Sondra Myers, for organizing this event and contributing to the bridge of understanding.

UPDATE:  Many of the attendees of this session have been asking about how they can contribute to Ms. Pakzad’s organization. Tax deductible contributions can be made by making checks out to Traveling Mercies and designating Voice of Women Organization in the memo section. Please send the checks to Sondra Myers at the address below, and she will send them along to Traveling Mercies.

Sondra Myers, Director
The Schemel Forum
The University of Scranton
Scranton, PA 18510

Afghanistan on the Ground: A Woman’s View

Don’t forget, you have one final chance to enjoy this fall’s Schemel Forum World Affairs Briefing luncheons!  On Tuesday, November 16 at 12pm, executive director of Voice of Women Suraya Pakzad will be on campus to speak on “Afghanistan on the Ground: A Woman’s View.”

In a country where females are second-class citizens, Pakzad overcame formidable obstacles to receive an education and more recently, under the oppressive Taliban rule, risked her life to set up covert schools for girls and spread the light of knowledge to the future mothers of her country. Her presentation will focus on the most recent developments in Afghanistan regarding empowering women with basic rights. She will also emphasize, in the wake of the exit of international forces and aid agencies, the need for the United States and its allies to “see us through the transition and not repeat the mistakes of leaving us in the middle of nowhere.”

You won’t want to miss Ms. Pakzad’s inspiring story of struggle for women’s rights in Afghanistan.  Please register with Kym Fetsko at – and invite a friend to come along with you!