Keynote Speaker: Friba Rezayee

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The Right to Education: Equality for Women and Girls in Afghanistan

Wednesday, February 8, 2023
7:00 PM, Telus 150 - U of A North Campus (this event will be live-streamed)
Cost: Free

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When the Taliban returned to power in Afghanistan in August 2021, they immediately shut down all girls’ schools and banned women from playing sports. Women aren’t even allowed to go to the gym. In this talk, Friba Rezayee will explain what impact it will have on a generation of women and girls if the Taliban remain in power. 

This talk is about the human right to education, focusing on Afghan women and girls’ education in Afghanistan. 

Friba Rezayee was the first Afghan woman to represent Afghanistan at the Olympics and the first woman in her family to obtain a university degree. She will speak about the work of her organization, Women Leaders of Tomorrow, in both Canada and Afghanistan. 

She will also speak about United Nations Sustainable Development Goal #5: Gender Equality. She will discuss how education supports pursuing this goal and why it is essential. This is the unfinished business of our generation and time. 

Women and girls represent half of the world’s population and, therefore, also half of its potential. Gender equality through education is a fundamental human right and is crucial to achieving peaceful societies with full potential and sustainable development.

She will further discuss the United Nations’ mandate through the UN’s Charter under Article 1 and will explain that women’s rights are human rights.

Speaker Bio: Friba Rezayee

Friba Rezayee is the founder and the Executive Director of Women Leaders of Tomorrow and its leadership in sports project GOAL (Girls of Afghanistan Lead). She was born and raised in Kabul, Afghanistan. At the age of 18, she made history by competing in Judo at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens as Afghanistan’s first-ever female Olympic athlete. Friba’s participation in the Olympics brought Afghanistan back to the world stage in sports after the fall of the Taliban. She inspired hundreds of other Afghan girls to join different sports, in a sports revolution for Afghan female athletes. Friba has resided in Vancouver, Canada, since 2011 and holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of British Columbia, Canada.

Friba has been an outspoken and passionate advocate for women and girls’ education, gender equality, human rights, and women’s rights in Afghanistan and worldwide from an early age to the present. She also worked as an educator in the Vancouver, Canada, public school system.

Friba is currently managing the Afghan Women’s Employment Program at YWCA Metro Vancouver area.

In addition, she has NCCP level 1 certificate in the sport of Judo, along with a certificate to teach women self-defense from Judo Canada.