J. Jobe and Marguerite Jacqmin Soffa Lecture

The J. Jobe and Marguerite Jacqmin Soffa Lecture supports regular lectures on contemporary issues of global significance. For more than a decade, this fund has brought renowned women from across the globe to lecture and meet with classes. Holders of the lectureship have included well-known “grassroots” leaders in the struggle for human rights and international understanding.

2021 Lecture

“As Women Rise, so Does the Nation”

Keynote speaker: Dr. Sakena Yacoobi, President & Executive Director of the Afghan Institute of Learning

4 p.m., Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Alumni Lounge, Pyle Center

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To facilitate planning, please register ahead of time. Walk-ins are welcome too.

Sakena Yacoobi
Dr. Sakena Yacoobi

About the lecture

Women’s rights are human rights and essential to the advancement of any nation. Nations with protections for women’s rights are stronger and more prosperous. We can see, as women in Afghanistan gained rights, the nation became more prosperous and peaceful. With a population where greater than 60% of the people are under 30, they have spent their lives connected to the rest of the world, unlike Afghan people in the 1990’s. Demonstrations against undemocratic principles that violate human rights occur regularly, led by women not willing to be intimidated by guns in the hands of those they oppose. Afghan women wish to work and go to school, with the support of the young men who stand with them. The loss of human rights anywhere, leads to the loss of rights everywhere. The silence of the world regarding Afghanistan is discouraging, and follows a global trend of the roll back of women’s rights that started in 2020.

About the speaker

Dr. Sakena Yacoobi is the President & Executive Director of the Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL), an organization she founded in 1995 in response to the lack of education and health care that the Afghan people faced after decades of war and strife. Dr. Yacoobi is also the President & Executive Director of Creating Hope International (CHI). Dr. Yacoobi has established 352 Learning Centers, four schools, a hospital, and a radio station and TV station in Afghanistan and is the recipient of six honorary doctorates including from Princeton University. Each year, Dr. Yacoobi speaks at numerous events, conferences and at institutions such as the UN, Stanford University and Oxford University. Dr. Yacoobi particularly enjoys engaging with youth at schools, inspiring them to be globally minded citizens.

Dr. Yacoobi serves on a number of boards and panels including, New Global Citizens, the Advisory Council for the Center for Social Impact Learning at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, Women’s Refugee Commission, and is a former board member for the Global Fund for Women. She is an advisor to the Fetzer Institute, the International Academy for Multicultural Cooperation, and is a member of the US – Afghan Women’s Council. Dr. Yacoobi is a respected expert and speaker especially on the subjects of girls’ education, life in Afghanistan, health, refugees and women’s empowerment. Dr. Yacoobi was honored in 2017 with the Sunhak Peace Prize, and, in 2016, was the Harold W. McGraw Prize in Education awardee, the 2015 WISE Prize for Education Laureate and the 2013 recipient of the Opus Prize. Dr. Yacoobi is a Skoll Social Entrepreneur, Schwab Social Entrepreneur, and Ashoka fellow, a Harvard University Executive Fellow, and was nominated as one of 1,000 women for the Nobel Peace Prize.

About the lecture

Marguerite Jacqmin Soffa ’46 established this fund to support an annual public lecture on a contemporary issue of global significance by a distinguished woman in international public life. The lecture is sponsored by the International Division, with current co-sponsors including the Human Rights Program, and Global Legal Studies Center.

Past speakers

2020-2021: Wanjiku Kabira,”Shifting The Center Of Gravity: Women’s Movement And Constitution-Making In Kenya”
2019: Charlotte Bunch, “The Dance of Feminism with Human Rights: Reflections on Three Decades of Global Women’s Human Rights Organizing”
2019: Brigitte Baptiste, “Queering Ecology”
2018: May Sabe Phyu, “Gender Inclusion for Lasting Peace”
2017: Vandana Shiva, “Women Lead the Way: From Violence to Non-Violence, from Greed to Sharing, From Hate to Love”
2015: Renana Jhavala, “Structural Inequalities and Poverty: Organizing for Economic Rights in India”
2014: Jean Geran, “Right to Identity: Child Abandonment, Trafficking, Migration and Protection”
2013: Sahar Elmougy, “Resurgence of the Feminine: Transformation of Egyptian Psyche,”
2012: Fatima Sadiqi, “North African Women’s Rights in the Aftermath of the Arab Spring”
2012: Thulisile Madonsela, “Righting State Wrongs: Enforcing the South African Constitution through the office of the Public Protector”
2010: Luz María de la Mora Sánchez, “Latin America’s New Stature in the Global Economy”
2010: Yakin Ertürk, “Universalizing Women’s Human Rights: The Quest for Gender-Just Peace”