The Subir & Malini Chowdhury Center for Bangladesh Studies at UC Berkeley celebrate International Women's Day with talks by Monira Rahman, Executive Director, of the Acid Survivors Foundation (ASF), which provides support services to women, men and children who have been attacked with acid or petrol in Bangladesh and Anika Rahman, Bangladeshi-American lawyer and former President and CEO of Ms. Foundation for Women.
- Anika Rahman: Women - A Bold Force for Empowerment and Change
- Monira Rahman: From Victim to Change Agent - Experiential Learning from the Acid Survivors
Speaker Bios Anika Rahman is a Bangladeshi-American lawyer and a leader for human rights and social justice. She is a prominent advocate for the advancement of marginalized and vulnerable communities worldwide. Her expertise is focused on human rights, women, health and economic development. Ms. Rahman served as President and CEO of the Ms. Foundation for Women from February 2011 to August 2013. During her tenure, the women's rights organization launched a new rebranding campaign and focused on three key national issues. Prior to that, from 2004 to 2010, she was President of Friends for UNFPA, an NGO that supports the work of the United Nations Population Fund. During her tenure, she campaigned for the restoration of the U.S. government's funding for the United Nations Population Fund. In 2009, President Obama resumed the U.S. government's support for the United Nations Population Fund. Rahman was also the founding director of the International Legal Program of the Center for Reproductive Rights, where she worked from 1993 to 2002. She was a plaintiff in a 2002 lawsuit challenging the Global Gag Rule, also known at the Mexico City Policy. She is the co-author, with Nahid Toubia, of Female Genital Mutilation: A Practical Guide to Worldwide Laws and Policies (2000), published by Zed Books. Ms. Rahman was awarded Women's Enews "21 Leaders for the 21st Century" Award in 2009 and the Lawrence A. Wien Prize for Social Responsibility in 2002 by Columbia Law School. Ms. Rahman is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Ms. Rahman obtained a BA from Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, and her JD from Columbia Law School, before joining the law firm Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton.
Monira Rahman is a human rights defender, who works to create a society where women live a life free from the fear of violence. As Executive Director of the VSO partner organisation Acid Survivors Foundation (ASF) in Bangladesh, Monira has raised awareness and brought about institutional change, including new laws to discourage attackers and prevent future violence. ASF runs a 20-bed hospital and treats 600-700 acid attack survivors annuallymany were attacked years ago and never received care. Through ASF, survivors also access mental health services and employment opportunities. In 2005 the Amnesty International German Section awarded her with International Human Rights Award for her extraordinary contribution towards promoting the rights of victims of violence. She was also awarded the prestigious 2011 Human Rights Prize by the French government.
Established in 2013 with a generous gift from the Subir & Malini Chowdhury Center for Bangladesh Studies at UC Berkeley champions the study of Bangladeshs cultures, peoples and history. The first of its kind in the US, the Centers mission is to create an innovative model combining research, scholarships, the promotion of art and culture, and the building of ties between institutions in Bangladesh and the University of California.