Resources for Teachers and Students on Mahnaz Afkhami

Prepare: Mahnaz Afkhami is considered one of the leading proponents of women's rights in the Islamic world. She served as Secretary General of the Women's Organization of Iran prior to that country's Islamic revolution, and currently lives in exile in the United States. Her biography can be found on the website of the World Movement for Democracy.

Read: Mahnaz Afkhami wrote an original essay for the Architects of Peace project. In it, she makes the claim that women's status is society has become the standard by which humanity's progress toward civility and peace can be measured.

Explore: Mahnaz Afkhami founded an organization called the Women's Learning Partnership for Rights, Development and Peace, WLP. Their major projects include leadership training for activists and organizations, engaging in human rights campaigns via the internet, and entering into discourse toward developing a culture of peace.

Write: In her Architects of Peace essay, Mahnaz Afkhami claims, "We have the ability to achieve, if we master the necessary goodwill, a common global society blessed with a shared culture of peace that is nourished by the ethnic, national, and local diversities that enrich our lives." Is this pie-in-the-sky thinking, or is Afkhami's vision an actual possibility? Specifically, what obstacles must be overcome to "master the necessary goodwill" to bring this vision to fruition? Write a three-to-five page analysis of these questions where you outline specific problems that will be encountered in developing a global culture of peace.

Extend: To celebrate International Women's Day in 2002, the WLP published an anthology titled Toward a Compassionate Society. The anthology, which can be downloaded free of charge in PDF format, contains articles from leading scholars on topics of human rights, women's rights, and developing a culture of peace.

Biography of Mahnaz Afkhami