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Afghanistan’s Education Crisis: Ensuring Access to Education for Women and Girls

March 27, 2023

Embassy of Italy 

Afghanistan is the only country in the world where women and girls are denied an education because of their gender. As the Taliban’s rule continues, Afghan women and girls face a dark future without proper access to education and are caught in a tortuous cycle of disappointment and despair. Despite the unprecedented challenges they face, Afghan women refuse to accept a full-scale reversal of their hard-earned gains and demand their right to access quality education. International attention is urgently needed to coordinate and scale up efforts to enable women in Afghanistan to access their inalienable human right to education.
This high-level event brought together Afghan experts, international partners, diplomats and leading policymakers to reflect on the urgency of this situation, and share their top recommendations for ensuring a future for Afghan girls’ education.

Featuring (in program order): 

Amb. Mariangela Zappia, Italian Ambassador to the United States of America

Rina Amiri, U.S. Special Envoy for Afghan Women, Girls and Human Rights

Amb. Adela Raz, Director of SPIA Afghanistan Policy Lab and Afghanistan’s Former Permanent Representative to the U.S. and U.N.

Richard Bennett, U.N. Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Afghanistan

Dr. Habiba Sarabi, Former Minister of Women’s Affairs and Governor of Bamyan Province, The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan

Gianfranco Petruzzella, Italian Special Envoy for Afghanistan

Sarah Wahedi, Founder and CEO of Ehtesab

Jo Bourne, Chief Technical Officer, Global Partnership for Education

Palwasha Hassan, Senior Fellow, Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security

Dr. Loredana Teodorescu, President of Women in International Security Italy and Head of the Mediterranean Women Mediators Network

Moderated by

Amb. Melanne Verveer, Executive Director, Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security

This event was hosted by the Embassy of Italy, Women in International Security Italy and the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security.


About the Onward for Afghan women initiative

Onward for Afghan Women is an initiative of the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security (GIWPS) aimed at elevating and equipping Afghan women leaders with opportunities to continue their advocacy on behalf of Afghan women and girls. For over a decade, GIWPS has stood with Afghan women to advance inclusive peace and ensure their voices are centered in global policy debates. Since the fall of Kabul in August 2021 and the Taliban’s swift rollback of women’s rights, GIWPS has played a leading role in the evacuation and dignified resettlement of prominent at-risk Afghan women leaders.

Onward for Afghan Women honors the leaders that they are and will continue to be.

GIWPS engages in rigorous research, hosts global convenings, and nurtures the next generation of leaders. Housed within Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service, the Institute is headed by the former U.S. Ambassador for Global Women’s Issues, Melanne Verveer.



Contact the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace, and Security by email here.

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