“Women and the Post-2013 Afghanistan: What is the West’s Responsibility?” ─ May 9, 2013

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Babson College President Elect Dr. Kerry Healey moderates this year’s prestigious Weidenfeld Debates on an issue of international importance, “Women and the Post-2013 Afghanistan: What is the West’s Responsibility?” on May 9th, 2013 at Jesus College, Cambridge, England.

Dr. Healey and the Debate speakers─the current Minister of Health, Dr Suraya Dalil; former British Ambassador to Kabul, Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles; and Frances Guy, the UN’s Women’s representative for Iraq─will look at the future of women’s rights in Afghanistan as international forces pull out next year. They will also explore options for hope in maintaining progress and creating an equal society in Afghanistan.

2014 is a critical year for Afghanistan. As the national elections draw closer, women’s rights, peace, stability, and employment are issues that take center stage. This new era in Afghanistan’s history, fraught with confusion and uncertainties, poses major challenges, among them the importance of protecting the rights of women and preserving their gains - their presence in political arena, their progress in education and their opportunities for employment. After the U.S. intervention, ‘saving’ Afghan women and creating a stable nation state was the West’s prioritized mission but many now believe that progress in achieving these goals has been less than originally promised. As a new chapter opens in Afghanistan’s history, the prospect of taking a step backwards on women’s rights is a major concern. So, what should be the West’s and Afghanistan’s responsibilities to assure women’s rights and maintain a stable and discrimination-free space post-2014?

Speakers: Suraya Dalil, Minister of Public Health, Afghanistan Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles, former British Ambassador to Afghanistan Frances Guy, UN Women Representative in Iraq

Moderator: Dr Kerry Healey, former lieutenant governor of Massachusetts and the current president-elect of Babson College, Massachusetts, USA

Format: Panel discussion followed by Q&A

The Weidenfeld Debates are an annual program of public debates, organized by the Weidenfeld Scholars, which focus on major questions in contemporary international public policy. The aim of this program is to contribute to the academic discussions at Oxford by providing a unique interdisciplinary, cross-cutting and policy-oriented approach to current issues. The Debates have thus far addressed an array of themes ranging from the financial crisis to the cultural diversity of contemporary Islam.

The fifteenth Weidenfeld Debate is organized with the support of St Hilda's College and the Institute for Strategic Dialogue.

By Barbara Spies Blair, 781-239-4621 | 05/09/2013 06:00