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Panel discussion at UCLA: Secularism and Gender in Iran of Today

Sunday, March 04, 2012 at 3:00 PM
147 Dodd Hall, UCLA

  • Abdol-Karim Lahidji: "Secular State as the Alternative to the Present State in Iran"
  • Mehrangiz Kar: "Woman's Body, a Symbol of Political Changes in Contemporary Iran"
  • Granaz Mousavi: Poetry Reading
  • Moderator: Nayereh Tohidi, Professor, California State University, Northridge
  • Discussant: Akbar Mahdi, Professor Emeritus, Ohio Wesleyan University

Bio of Speakers:

Karim Lahidji has been a human rights activist since 1958, while he was attending Tehran University Law School. During his years at the Law School, he was twice arrested and imprisoned for publicly defending the right to free expression and political dissent. In March 1982, Mr. Lahidji fled (was smuggles out of) Iran via Kurdistan and went to Paris, France to begin his life of exile. Six months later his wife and two children joined him. Once settled in Paris, he invited a group of Iranian exiles in France to establish a new organization, the League for the Defense of Human Rights in Iran (LDDHI), in order to expose the Islamic Republic’s human rights record and publicize the danger facing Iran’s political dissidents at home. In 1984, LDDHI joined the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and took some initiatives to expand its activities throughout Europe and North America. Over the past years, LDDHI has had a steady and influential presence in the international human rights community and Mr. Lahidji’s name has become virtually synonymous with the League. He regularly participates in a variety of non-governmental meetings and conferences to promote the objectives of the League and provide information and analysis about the situation of human rights in Iran. He also writes articles for a number of Persian publications in exile. His books and essays address a variety of human rights issues, including torture of political prisoners and gender-related discrimination and discrimination against religious minorities. In 1990, Mr. Lahidji was a recipient of Human Rights Watch award for outstanding monitors of human rights in the world. He is also vice-president of the International Federation of Human Rights since 1998, elected in five consecutive congress of this NGO.

Mehrangiz Kar is presently Aga Khan Visiting Professors in Islamic Humanities at Brown, Pembroke Center. She is an Iranian attorney, scholar, and human/women’s rights activist. She is author of numerous articles and books, including: Crossing the Red Line: The Struggle for Human Rights in Iran (Mazda Publishers, 2007), Kar has been actively promoting democracy, rule of law, and human rights within the framework of Islamic law of the Islamic Republic of Iran since the revolution in 1979. Along her role as an active public defender in Iran's civil and criminal courts, Ms. Kar published regularly in several influential and independent Iranian journals. Since the government banning of her publishing and making public appearances within her country, she has used international forums to voice her opinions and advocate democracy and human rights for Iran. In April of 2000, following her participation in a symposium in Berlin, Kar was arrested and imprisoned on several charges, including “acting against national security” and “spreading propaganda against the regime of the Islamic Republic.” Kar was to be additionally tried on charges of “violating the Islamic dress code at the Berlin Conference,” “denying the commands of the shari‘a,” and abusing sacred principles. Three of the five charges against her are pending, for which she may again be arrested upon her return to Iran. Ms. Kar has been recipient of several awards and fellowships, including the Ludovic Trarieux Prize in 2002, the Human Right First award in 2004, the National Endowment for Democracy, the Woodrow Wilson Center, Harvard University, American University, University of Virginia, and Columbia University. Kar has also been recognized as a Scholar at Risk through an international network of universities and colleges working to promote academic freedom and defend the human rights of scholars worldwide.

Granaz Mousavi, born January 26, 1974 in Tehran is an Iranian-Australian contemporary poet, film director and screen writer. She received a degree in Screen Studies from Flinders University and a postgraduate degree in Film Editing from the Australian Film Television and Radio School. She is the author of four collections of avant-garde poetry and has directed and edited several short films and documentaries. She is primarily renowned for her avant-garde poetry in the 90's. Her award winning debut feature film My Tehran for Sale is an internationally acclaimed Australian-Iranian co-production in 2009.

Ali Akbar Mahdi, Ph.D., is currently a faculty at College of the Canyons and Professor Emeritus of Sociology at Ohio Wesleyan University. He has also taught at Michigan State University, Adrian College, and Central State University. He is author of Sociology of the Iranian Family, and Iranian Culture, Civil Society, and Concern for Democracy, editor of Teen Life in the Middle East and Resources for Teaching Sociology of Development and Women in International Development, and co-author of Culture and Customs of Iran and Sociology in Iran. He has also authored numerous chapters, articles, and book reviews on topics ranging from sociology of knowledge to the political economy of Iran and Islam. He has served as the executive director of the Center for Iranian Research and Analysis (CIRA), Editor of Michigan Sociological Review, and President of Michigan Sociological Association.

Lectures in Persian

Sponsors: Amuzegar Chair in Iranian Studies of UCLA; Farhang Foundation; and Center for Near Eastern Studies of UCLA in collaboration with Iranian Studies Initiative of UCSB.

Event's Page:

Cost: Free and Open to the Public
How to Park at UCLA

For more information please contact
Hanna Petro
Tel: (310) 825-1181

... Payvand News - 02/22/12 ... --

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