fbpx Spotlight Series on Afghanistan | Harvard Kennedy School

In spring 2023, centers and students across Harvard University will host a series of conversations spotlighting the situation in Afghanistan under Taliban rule. The series will examine the multilayered facets of gender, human rights, economic development, humanitarian aid, and political dynamics that shape the lives of over 40 million Afghans today.

The “Spotlight Series on Afghanistan” is cosponsored by the Center for International Development, the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, the Center for Public Leadership, the Women and Public Policy Program at Harvard Kennedy School, and the Lakshmi Mittal and Family South Asia Institute at Harvard University.

Afghanistan Mountains

The series will include the following events, open to Harvard University ID holders and their guests, as specified below:

Date Speaker Talk Title Time & Location
February 16, 2023 Dr. Sima Samar, former Minister of Women’s Affairs of Afghanistan; Spring 2023 Hauser Leader, CPL “Gender Rights and Public Policy: Reflections from Afghanistan & Pakistan”


HKS Wexner WEX-G02 Seminar Room (led by the HKS Pakistan Caucus)

April 5, 2023

Save the Children USA CEO Janti Soeripto, and former Afghan Deputy Foreign Minister Naheed Esar  "Political and Humanitarian Crisis in Afghanistan: Implications for Women and Girls"


HKS R-414AB Democracy Lab or via livestream webinar
(registration required)

April 18, 2023

Dr. Sima Samar, former Minister of Women's Affairs of Afghanistan, and Kenneth Roth, former executive director of Human Rights Watch “Women’s Rights in Afghanistan: A conversation with Sima Samar and Ken Roth”

5-6pm EDT

Livestream webinar (registration required)


April 21, 2023

Baktash Ahadi, Retrograde’s Executive Producer; Lt. General Sami Sadat, final commander of Afghan Special Forces; Koshal Sadat, Deputy Interior Minister of Afghanistan;  Thomas Kasza, a U.S. Army Green Beret, a combat veteran who served in Afghanistan; and Laura Brisbane who an Australian international lawyer and diplomat specializing in multilateral organizations and global peace and security issues.  "Retrograde: A Story of Afghan Persistence and Loss"

12-1:30 PM EDT

HKS R-414AB Democracy Lab or via livestream webinar

(registration required)


Date Title Time & Location
April 12, 2023  Threats to Reproductive Rights Under Taliban Rule: A Workshop with Dr. Sima Samar, former Minister of Women’s Affairs of Afghanistan, and Fatema Sumar, CID Executive Director


HKS Darman Room (T-135)


Study Group

Transitional Justice: Lessons from Afghanistan on the Promotion, Protection of Human Rights
A 4-Session Intensive under the CPL Public Leadership Co-curricular Program. This series is at capacity. Questions can be directed here.

With Dr. Sima Samar, former Chair, Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) Spring 2023 CPL Hauser Leader and 2022 Carr Center Fellow

Students are encouraged to attend as many sessions as possible, because each session builds on the last.

Wednesday, February 22, 12-1:15pm: Role of National Human Rights Institutions Readings: Paris
Wednesday, March 22, 12-1:15pm: Public Consultations on Transitional Justice in Post-Conflict Countries
Wednesday, March 29, 12-1:15pm: Documentation and Protection of Victims
Wednesday, April 12, 12-1:15pm: Domestic and International Mechanisms of Accountability and Justice


E-learning can prevent another lost generation in Afghanistan

OpEd in Devex by Asim I. Khwaja and Fatema Z. Sumar from Harvard University's Center for International Development

credit: Mohammad Rahmani