Challenges of Change: Welcome and Introduction (video)

Challenges of Change: Welcome and Introduction (video)

Resource Type
Event Recording
Publication Year
English (US)




This video presents welcome and introductory addresses from Challenges of Change: Religion, Secularism & Rights, a WLP conference. 

Azar Nafisi, executive director of Cultural Conversations at the Foreign Policy Institute of Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies (event host), welcomes participants to the day-long event. She notes that the status of a country’s women reflects the overall well-being of that country, and that the global nature of women’s struggle for rights reflects the globalization of the women’s rights movement. 

Mahnaz Afkhami, founder and president of Women’s Learning Partnership, comments that the 20 countries of WLP seek to address stereotyping, mistrust and misinformation in their grassroots work on religion and women. Religion is both a political tool and personally useful in a person’s life and in society, and today’s conflicts reflect that dual role. 

She tells of a woman who wondered why generations of women in her family had been ritually cutting the head and tail off every fish they prepared. Her great-grandmother finally said it was because her pot had been too small. “Some of the cultural things we are following are actually meant for a different pot,” she said. Times and lives have changed, and our behaviors must change as well.