Can Women Wage War in a Peace Zone?

Mon, April 16th

Rangina Hamidi on Security Strategy and the Future of Afghanistan

Speaker followed by Student Panel and Lunch

About the Speaker: Rangina Hamidi, an Afghan American immigrant with a degree in religion and women's studies from the University of Virginia, traveled solo back to Afghanistan after 9/11 to help poor women in her native Kandahar.  While still in her 20s, she built up the first women-owned-and-operated business in this deeply patriarchal province, the Taliban's "spiritual capital."

As grieving women who were losing sons, husbands, fathers, brothers, and other relatives to the spiraling violence in Kandahar became angry, Rangina helped mobilize a grassroots Muslim women's peace movement to give them a voice. This unprecedented public show of solidarity from women who rarely leave their homes amazed and inspired women all over Afghanistan to demonstrate for peace on International Women's Day several years running.

Rangina will talk about her lessons from the last eventful nine years of living and working in Kandahar, issues of Afghan women's rights, and sustainability strategies for small business development in a country like Afghanistan. Speaking from direct experience, deep knowledge of the country, and constant reading of national and international media, she will also discuss the declining security conditions on the ground in Afghanistan after President Obama's "surge" and give her analysis of what has not been done, and could be, to bring stability and peace.

Rangina returned to Virginia last fall after her father, the new reforming mayor of Kandahar City, was assassinated last summer, most likely at the direction of a government-connected local strongman rather than by the Taliban. While her traditional crafts business (see <www.kandahartreasure,com>) continues to support hundreds of women and their families, Rangina's new job with an international NGO will enable her to focus on the conundrum of security strategy in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region.

Supported by the Committee to Advance our Common Purposes. Co-sponsored by American Studies, Center for Migration and the Global City, Program in Women's and Gender Studies, Depts of English, Political Science, Management and Global Business, Division of Global Affairs, Center for the Study of Genocide and Human Rights, R-N/ NJIT Amnesty International, International Institute for Peace, Graduate School-Newark and The FASN Dean's Office.