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Women and Peace in Afghanistan

On Friday, November 14, Trent University will host Cheshmak Farhoumand-Sims, a well-respected member of the Canadian Committee on Women, Peace and Security and the UN representative for the Canadian Voice of Women for Peace.

She will deliver a guest lecture, hosted by the Association for Bahá’í Studies, on the role of women in the peace building process in Afghanistan. The lecture will begin at 7 pm at the Bata Film Theatre and will be followed by an informal reception at the Lady Eaton College Pit.

Cheshmak has just returned from Afghanistan where she was working with government-funded human rights agencies on two projects focused on women's human rights and peace building.

In her presentation, Cheshmak will discuss the important role of women as peace builders, and spend some time to discuss the challenges women continue to face in a post conflict context, and reflect on the future of Afghanistan.

In April 2003, Cheshmak traveled to Afghanistan to work on two projects for two months. The first project provided training on gender/human rights and peace building to women's non government organizations (NGO), government employees and UN staff in Kabul and Jalalabad. In the second, she worked with a Canadian NGO, Rights and Democracy, on a project focusing on the Afghan Constitution.

In 2001, Cheshmak helped to organize a leadership and governance training workshop for Afghan women in Canada, followed by a series of workshops on a United Nations Resolution on women, peace and security. She subsequently wrote the report about these roundtables. The report entitled "A Stone in the Water" was formally presented to Canada's Minister for Foreign Affairs and other government officials in November 2002.

Since her return from Afghanistan, Cheshmak has been very busy giving public talks about her experiences and work to acquaint Canadians with Afghanistan, its people and conflict and to share thoughts on the barriers to peace and how they can be overcome.

Presently, she is a lecturer at the Centre for the Study of Peace and Conflict at the University of Toronto and at the department of Political Science, University of Western Ontario. She is happily married and lives in Toronto with her husband Michael Sims.

Posted November 12, 2003

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