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UAlbany Conference Focuses on the Role and Impact of Middle Eastern Women

UAlbany is hosting a special conference highlighting the impact of Middle Eastern women both in the region and abroad.

ALBANY, N.Y. (October 18, 2013) -- The University at Albany is hosting a weeklong conference highlighting the cultural roles of Middle Eastern women from Monday, Oct. 21 through Friday, Oct. 25. Organized by UAlbany’s Global Institute for Health and Human Rights, The conference on "Women of the Middle East" will include a series of events highlighting the impact of women on democracy, performing arts, literature, higher education and human rights.

Each day of the conference will include panel discussions, lectures, performances, and film screenings. Beginning on Monday, Oct. 21 with an opening ceremony and a special piano concert by renowned musician Tara Kamangar, the series is designed to broaden understanding of the social, cultural, political and economic roles of Middle Eastern women, both in the region and abroad. With a diverse repertoire, Kamangar brings audiences rarely heard works by Iranian composers of the past century. Her recent performance credits include such venues as London's Cadogan Hall, Washington D.C.'s National Gallery of Art and Los Angele's Walt Disney Hall.

UAlbany Conference highlights role of Middle Eastern women
Among the conference events include panel discussions and performances highlighting democracy, performing arts, literature, higher education and human rights.

The event is cosponsored by Albany Law School, the Institute of International Education -Scholar Rescue Fund, the New York State Writers Institute, the Turkish Cultural Center, and the University at Albany's Alumni Association, Center for Women in Government and Civil Society, Department of Music, Department of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, the Office of Intercultural Student Engagement, the Office of International Education, the University at Albany Student Association, University Auxiliary Services, and the University at Albany Foundation.

Among the highlights:

  • Monday, Oct. 21: Panel discussion, “The Role of Female Faculty in Higher Education,” 4 p.m., Standish Room, Science Library. Opening ceremony, 5:30 p.m., Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center, followed by Kamangar’s piano concert at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $5 for faculty, staff and seniors or $10 for general admission.
  • Tuesday, Oct. 22: Panel Discussion, “Art as a Form of Activism,” 3 p.m., Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center. “Sufi Dance” performance by Banafsheh Sayyad, 5:30 p.m., Recital Hall: a world-renowned dance performer, Ms. Sayyad will perform a Sufi dance as well as recite poetry. Film presentation and discussion, “No One Knows About Persian Cats,” (Iran, 2009, 106 minutes, color, in Persian with English subtitles, directed by Bahman Ghobadi, co-written by Roxana Saberi), 7 p.m., Recital Hall. Rana Farhan, a celebrated blues singer and featured artist in the film, will give the film’s introduction and post-screening discussion. The event is free and open to the public. The film won the Cannes Film Festival Un Certain Regard Jury Prize and the Miami Film Festival Audience Award.
  • Wednesday, Oct. 23: Panel discussion, “Social Change, Activism, and Human Rights,” 2 p.m., Recital Hall. Speakers will discuss elements of social change in their experience as human rights activists. Film screening, “The Pear Tree,” (Iran, 1998, 95 minutes, in Persian with English subtitles, directed by Dariush Mehrjui), 7:30 p.m., Recital Hall, free and open to the public.
  • Thursday, Oct. 24: Panel discussion, “Law and Culture: Middle Eastern Women in the Region and in Diaspora,” 12 p.m., Albany Law School. Speakers will discuss their collective experiences as professional Middle Eastern women grappling with cultural and legal norms both in the region and in diaspora. Panel discussion, “Women and Religion – A View From the Abrahamic Faiths,” 2 p.m., Albany Law School. This forum will juxtapose Jewish, Christian, and Muslim speakers in order to facilitate discussion and shed light on women in the context of their respective Abrahamic faiths. Topics will include the prejudices they face, the strengths they have, how their religion has historically treated women and how their religion regards women today.
  • Friday, Oct. 25: Film screening and discussion, “Asmaa,” (Egypt, 2011, 96 minutes, in Arabic with English subtitles, directed by Amr Salama), 3:15 p.m., Milne 200, Rockefeller College. The film and discussion will tackle the issue of women living with HIV in the Middle East, and how AIDS patients are treated in the region.

Additional programming:

Rafia Zakaria, a Pakistani-American journalist, lawyer & Director of Muslim Women’s Legal Defense Fund, will speak on “Impact of the War on terror on Pakistan Women,” at 3:30 p.m., on Wednesday, Oct. 23, in the Assembly Hall of the Campus Center. The event is free and open to the public, and is cosponsored by the Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, UUP Albany Chapter (Peace & Justice Committee), the UAlbany Journalism Program, UAlbany Peace Action, and Women Against War.

Learn more about the conference on Women of the Middle East.

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