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Colvin Center to host panel on women’s uprising in Iran Nov. 16

Woman protesting in Iran
A woman shouts during a protest against the Iranian regime, in Berlin, Germany, Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022, following the death of Mahsa Amini in the custody of the Islamic republic’s notorious “morality police”. The 22-year-old died in Iran while in police custody on Sept. 16 after her arrest three days prior for allegedly violating its strictly-enforced dress code. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

Women. Life. Freedom.

Those three words and the fires women are using to burn their hijab have ignited a protest across Iran, challenging the Islamic republic and the face of a nation.

The Marie Colvin Center for International Reporting at the School of Communication and Journalism and the Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives (DI3) will host a conversation at 6 pm November 16 to discuss the growing movement, its significance and its potential impact on the future of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The panel will include:

Leili Soltani
Leili Soltani

Leili Soltani, director of VOA’s Persian language broadcasts to Iran. An award-winning television journalist with more than 19 years of experience, Soltani began her career at Voice of America’s sister network under USAGM, Radio Farda in Washington D.C., as a broadcast journalist. After joining VOA in 2007, she worked as a television reporter and anchor, investigative journalist, writer, assignment/news desk editor, field producer and executive producer. Prior to assuming her role as the division director ,for about 5 years, Soltani served as VOA Persian’s supervising executive producer, in charge of live and special programming. Born in Tehran, Iran, Soltani holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration.

Roya Hakakian, poet, writer, journalist and human rights activist. Roya came to the US from Iran as a refugee. She is the author of several books, including Journey from the Land of No: A Girlhood Caught in Revolutionary Iran. She is a co-founder of the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center and is a member of the Council for Foreign Relations. Her essays on Iran have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal.

Kaveh Basmenji, writer, broadcaster and translator. He is the author of Tehran Blues: Youth Culture in Iran and editor of Afsaneh, a collection of short stories by Iranian women. He has translated many Western works of literature into Person and worked as a journalist in Iran, including for Reuters, until 2001. He regularly appears on VOA. 

The discussion will be moderated by Sara Valinejad Lejuez, journalism instructor and former producer with Radio Farda and Voice of America. Lejuez lived in Tehran, the capital of Iran, until she was 19. 

The event will begin with a special recorded video message by Christiane Amanpour, chief international anchor for CNN and a longtime friend and colleague of Marie Colvin, who was killed by the Syrian regime in 2012.

The conversation will be at 6:30 Nov. 16 in the Wang Center Theater. A reception, beginning at 6 pm, will precede the conversation in the theater lobby.

The event is free and open to the public. Registration is recommended.


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