Professor Mehrangiz Kar, a human rights lawyer from Iran, is an internationally recognized writer, speaker and activist who advocates for the defense of women’s and human rights in Iran and throughout the Islamic world. A common theme in her work is the tension between Iranian law and the core principles of human rights and human dignity. She will discuss the women’s rights movement in Iran with Dr. Abbas Milani, director of Iranian Studies at Stanford. The conversation will be followed by a Q&A session with viewers. The event will be live-translated from Persian/Farsi to English.
In 2000, Professor Kar and sixteen other Iranian journalists, activists and intellectuals attended a conference held at the Heinrich Böll Institute in Berlin entitled “Iran After the Elections,” where Professor Kar made remarks about the urgent need for constitutional reform. Upon her return to Iran, she was arrested, taken to Evin Prison, and leveled with various charges, from “acting against national security” to “spreading propaganda against the regime of the Islamic Republic.” On 13 January 2001, she was sentenced to four years imprisonment. Currently, she is the Senior Technical Advisor for Rule of Law at Siamak Pourzand Foundation. She was formerly a visiting scholar at Harvard University, Brown University, University of Cape Town, Wellesley College, California State University Northridge (CSUN) and the Brookings Institution.
She practiced law in the Islamic Republic of Iran for 22 years and has published numerous books and articles on issues related to law, gender equality and democracy in Iran and abroad. Professor Kar has received several international awards for her human rights endeavors including the Democracy Award from the National Endowment for Democracy, Ludovic-TrarieuxInternational Human Rights Prize, and the Human Rights First Award. Her books published in Iran related to this topic include: Women’s Participation in Politics: Obstacles and Possibilities (2001), Violence Against Women in Iran (2000), Legal Structure of the Family System in Iran (1999), and Elimination of Gender Discrimination: A Comparison of the Convention On Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and Iran’s Contemporary Laws (1999). Her book, Violence Against Women in Iran (2000), has become essential reading and a reference for research on violence against women in Iran. In recent years, she has also published a number of journal articles and book chapters in English.
This event is part of the ongoing conversation on the women’s movement in Iran that has been a part of the Iranian Studies Program since its inception. Conversations with Simin Behbahani, Ziba Mir-Hossaini, Farzaneh Milani, Shahrnush Parsipur, Mahshid Amirshahy, Masih Alinejad, and Jila Baniyaghoob, are just a few of the many voices we have hosted over the years. This important subject will continue to be a part of our programming.