This event is part of a series highlighting themes from “Imagine: Reflections on Peace,” a multimedia exhibit from USIP and The VII Foundation that explores the challenges of peacebuilding through an immersive look at societies that suffered — and survived — violent conflict.

The Taliban claim they have brought peace to Afghanistan now that the foreign occupation of the country has come to an end and they no longer operate as an active insurgency. However, for most Afghans, peace is not just the absence of violence — real peace also requires the presence of hope, respect for human rights, rule of law, and a lack of fear. By those measures, Afghanistan’s peace process has a long way to go, and women are the greatest victims of Taliban rule.

Over the 10 months since the Taliban assumed power, thousands of Afghan women, men and children have fled the country to escape possible persecution, oppression, imprisonment and torture. The Taliban have done little to govern the country but have passed a raft of regulations on women’s rights, including a ban on co-education, the closure of schools for girls’ grade 7 and up, banning women’s employment in government, and prescribed dress codes requiring women to be covered head to toe, including their face. Afghan women are once again bearing the human costs of the lasting legacy of decades of conflict and a failure to achieve sustainable peace.    

On June 27, USIP held a discussion with leading Afghan women experts and activists who have shown extraordinary resilience and courage in the face of great uncertainty and fear. They talked about their journey from Afghanistan to the United States, the conditions currently facing Afghan women, and what the United States and international community can do to support a more inclusive and sustainable peace in Afghanistan.

Continue the conversation on Twitter using #AfghanWomen

Speakers

Palwasha Hassan
Senior Fellow, Institute for Women, Peace and Security, Georgetown University

Lima Ahmad
Doctoral Candidate, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University 

Muzhgan Sadat
Gender Activist and Novelist

Belquis Ahmadi, moderator
Senior Program Officer, U.S Institute of Peace 

Latest Publications

Despite Ukraine Focus, Asia-Pacific to Play Prominent Role at NATO Summit

Despite Ukraine Focus, Asia-Pacific to Play Prominent Role at NATO Summit

Monday, June 27, 2022

By: Mirna Galic

NATO countries meet this week in Madrid, Spain amid Russia’s war on Ukraine, the biggest test the alliance has faced in decades. The summit is expected to focus heavily on demonstrating NATO’s unity, support for Ukraine and the bids of Finland and Sweden — propelled by Russia’s aggressive incursion — to join the alliance. But developments in the Asia-Pacific, chiefly the rise of China, will also be a top item on the agenda, with Australia, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea participating at the leader level for the first time at a NATO summit.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Global Policy

Climate Change, Migration and the Risk of Conflict in Growing Urban Centers

Climate Change, Migration and the Risk of Conflict in Growing Urban Centers

Monday, June 27, 2022

By: Tegan Blaine, Ph.D.;  Julia Canney;  Chris Collins;  Jessica Kline;  Rachel Locke

From 2015 to 2050, the world’s urban population is expected to nearly double, in part because migrants from rural areas devastated by climate change are being driven to cities in search of economic and social stability. However, many of the world’s fastest-growing cities are already struggling to handle their own climate issues. From rising seas to freshwater scarcity, the complex interplay of climate change, population growth and fragility in cities has made them hotbeds for social and economic inequalities — increasing the risk of violence and having a profound impact on human security in urban centers around the world.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

EnvironmentConflict Analysis & Prevention

A Ripe Moment for Building Peace by Promoting International Religious Freedom

A Ripe Moment for Building Peace by Promoting International Religious Freedom

Monday, June 27, 2022

By: Peter Mandaville, Ph.D.;  Knox Thames

In late June and early July, two global convenings will highlight challenges to international religious freedom and the search for solutions: the IRF Summit for nongovernmental organizations and the International Ministerial Conference on Freedom of Religion or Belief. These timely gatherings will bring together government representatives, activists and faith leaders from different religious, regional and political backgrounds to discuss a common goal of ending persecution. Two keys for their success will be creating diverse coalitions to advance international religious freedom (IRF) in a nonpartisan manner and linking the issue to broader concerns about peace and stability. 

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Human RightsReligion

Amid Historic Crisis, Has a New Hope Emerged in Lebanon?

Amid Historic Crisis, Has a New Hope Emerged in Lebanon?

Thursday, June 23, 2022

By: Adam Gallagher

As Lebanon suffers from an historic economic crisis propelled by the venality of its political establishment, the May 15 elections have injected a glimmer of hope amid gloomy prospects for the future. Thirteen independent candidates — part of what is dubbed the “change opposition” — won seats in the 128-member Parliament. “The election of these 13 MPs [members of Parliament] is a very important, gradual first step toward more peaceful political change and reform in Lebanon,” said Mona Yacoubian, a Lebanon expert and senior advisor for the U.S. Institute of Peace. But the road ahead is fraught with internal challenges and external forces that could impede Lebanon’s much-needed reform.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Democracy & Governance

The Persistent Challenge of Extremism in Bangladesh

The Persistent Challenge of Extremism in Bangladesh

Thursday, June 23, 2022

By: Mubashar Hasan;  Geoffrey Macdonald

On July 1, 2016, Bangladeshi militants carried out an attack, targeting mostly foreigners and non-Muslims, at the Holey Artisan Bakery in Dhaka. The Bangladeshi government responded to the attack with a concerted and controversial counterterrorism campaign. Although the number of terrorist incidents has been in steady decline since 2016, Islamist groups continue to operate, recruit, and carry out small-scale attacks while aspiring to perpetrate greater violence. This report examines the dynamics, drivers, and manifestations of extremism in Bangladesh and discusses measures to weaken its appeal.

Type: Special Report

Violent Extremism

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