Public Symposium Details

Thank you for registering for our Saturday Public Symposium.

Date & Time

Saturday, October 14, 2023
8:30 AM to 4:30 PM  

Kindly arrive by 8:15 AM to check in and be seated.

Lunch will be provided. 

Register for the Symposium

Pre-Registration Required

Kindly ensure that you have pre-registered as we are not able to process payments at the door.


McGill University
Faculty of Law
Moot Court Classroom

Please use the entrance near the Nahum Gelber Law Library at 3660 Peel Street, Montréal, Québec H3A 1W9, labelled in yellow on the following map. 

Other entrances to the school may be locked. 



08:30 Symposium Opening

Welcome from Board Chair Laila Rashid
Introduce the MCs
Housekeeping (MC)
Greetings from David Sproule, Canada’s Special Envoy for Afghanistan (virtual)


09:00 Opening Remarks: Heather Barr, Human Rights Watch


09:15 Keynote Speaker: Nila Ibrahimi

Nila Ibrahimi knows what it is to have the right to learn taken away, and she also knows what it is to fight to get it back. Nila will share that story, and her reflections on the current situation in Afghanistan, and what Canadians, and the world, can do to uphold the universal right to education. 


09:45 Announcement of Champion for Education Award

CW4WAfghan Board Chair Laila Rashid will announce the 2023 Champions for Education in Afghanistan. 


09:55 Samira’s Camera

Screening of a powerful animated short film (4 min) that tells the true, harrowing and inspiring story of an Afghan woman during the fall of Kabul. Produced by The 49%.


10:00 Break


10:15 Forging Alternatives: How to Mobilize Canadian Higher Education Institutions in Support of Afghan Women

This session features Canadians involved in innovating and brokering ways to support Afghan women’s access to higher education, from individual actions to representatives of Canadian higher education institutions who are leading the way. Get inspired about what actions are possible, and informed for your own advocacy efforts. With:  Xavier Prudent (DD Academi Volunteer Teacher); Dr. Gavin Brockett (Wilfrid Laurier University &  International Students Overcoming War); Michelle Manks (WUSC Durable Solutions for Refugees Program); Hally Siddons and Fran Harding (University Women Helping Afghan Women); Dr. Carolyn Waters (Dalhousie University), and moderator Emily Regan Wills (University of Ottawa Community Mobilization in Crisis Program)


11:40 #EndGenderApartheid – Facilitating Agency, Accountability and Protest through the Digital Sphere

Sara Wahedi is the CEO and Founder of Ehtesab, Afghanistan’s first civic technology startup. As a technologist and humanitarian, Sara has been dedicated to the mission of democratizing access to information and reporting mechanisms for Afghans. Sara will discuss Ehtesab’s latest app feature for women’s safety and reporting: instant-access digital guides for dealing with threatening or emergency situations, and providing women with tools to safely de-escalate, disrupt, and record incidents in a method which will be integral to support the codification of ‘gender apartheid’ within international law. Sara will also provide an update on technological mobilization across the women’s sphere, current challenges, and her call to action to elevate, document and utilize the voices of Afghan women and girls across the international community.


12:10 Lunch


13:00 CW4WAfghan’s Field Program Updates

Hear an update on our activity over the past year, responding to the evolving needs of Afghan women and girls, in this report of our programs serving Afghans, and the results we have achieved, led by Murwarid Ziayee, Senior Director


14:30 Break


14:45 Panel: Pursuing Justice Through the International Criminalization of Gender Apartheid

In this session, hear from activists advocating for gender apartheid to become a crime against humanity, under international law. Find out how this will create opportunities for accountability for the human rights violations Afghan women and girls are subject to, and what you can do to help. Hear from panelists Nazila Jamshidi, Nargis Nehan, Fatema Kohistani and Shogofa Danish, with moderator Dr. Vrinda Narain.


16:15 Closing Remarks: Lauryn Oates

Join us for the annual address from CW4WAfghan’s executive director, taking stock of the past year, our triumphs and tragedies, and the importance of international solidarity and engagement from all Canadians, inspiring us forward to be part of meaningful change.


16:30 Event ends

Notice of Photography

Some of this event will be photographed or recorded. When possible, we will attempt to blur the likeness/exclude the use of images containing guests who have chosen coloured lanyards.