Mahnaz Afkhami


Country: Iran/USA

Organization: Women’s Learning Partnership (WLP)


Mahnaz Afkhami is President and CEO of Women's Learning Partnership (WLP). She is former Secretary General of the Women's Organization of Iran and Minister for Women's Affairs. She has authored numerous publications and training manuals including Leading to Choices: A Leadership Training Handbook for Women (2001) and Leading to Action: A Political Participation Handbook for Women (2010).


Women’s status in society has become the standard by which humanity’s progress toward civility and peace can be measured.


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Blog Posts by Mahnaz:

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On Generations: Curating Change with IMOW

Posted on 30 November 2012 by mafkhami

This fall Mahnaz Afkhami curated On Generations for the International Museum of Women’s Curating Change exhibit. This exhibit features the voices of women leaders, filmmakers, and activists who curate their favorite stories from IMOW’s rich global archives.

Writing stories with my granddaughter opened me to her world of endless possibility. My childhood world was one of small wonders and many limits; hers is open-ended. We spend a lot of time opening windows into each of our worlds for one another. We share a desire for change and the willingness to do what it takes.

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Toward Women’s Rights in the Middle East

Posted on 02 November 2011 by mafkhami

The Middle East has seen unprecedented movement toward democracy in recent months, and women have been in the front lines of the Arab Spring demonstrations from Cairo to Damascus. Still hoarse from cheering in the streets, however, women now find themselves largely voiceless in the political process of rewriting national laws and constitutions.

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Mahnaz Afkhami Present WLP Video Blog

Posted on 18 September 2011 by mafkhami

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Mahnaz Afkhami WLP president launches WLP new Video blog

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“Can a Boy Be President?”

Posted on 11 July 2011 by mafkhami

In 2000, I participated in a non-governmental meeting in Warsaw, organized in conjunction with the ministerial meeting of the Community of Democracies, the brainchild of then U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and the Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bronislaw Geremek. The two meetings were kept completely separate with minimal interaction. Last week, I had the opportunity to participate in the sixth meeting of the Community of Democracies in Vilnius, Lithuania. What a difference a decade makes! There was ongoing interaction between the ministerial meeting and the non-governmental activists. A special Forum for Youth and one for Parliamentarians had been established, and both were exuberantly working to improve the democracies within the community and develop programs to support the countries in transition to democracy.

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Hope for a Revolution with a New Ending: Democracy & Women’s Rights in Egypt

Posted on 02 March 2011 by mafkhami

A new day has dawned in Egypt. The dictator has been brought down. Euphoria is in the air. How will women fare as euphoria yields to reality?

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Michelle Bachelet to Head UN Women

Posted on 16 September 2010 by mafkhami

President Michelle Bachelet of Chile has been appointed Under-Secretary General of the United Nations to head UN Women, a new institution for gender that encompasses and supersedes INSTRAW, UNIFEM, Division on the Status of Women, and other UN entities dealing with the status of women. The new portfolio will include managing a potential budget of one billion dollars. Michelle Bachelet, a pediatrician and epidemiologist, has served as Minister of Health, Minister of Defense, and President of Chile with honor and distinction and has left each office with her reputation and popularity intact.

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Obama, Ahmadinejad, and the Women of Iran

Posted on 29 October 2009 by mafkhami

This month, for the first time in 30 years, formal negotiations between the United States and Iran took place in a relatively positive atmosphere. As President Obama had promised during his campaign, dialogue took the place of diatribe. This is an important development.

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Women are Driving Iran Toward Democracy

Posted on 11 August 2009 by mafkhami

Women Vote, photo by

Women Vote, photo by

The images from Iran in the last two weeks have stunned the world: hundreds of thousands of women and men marching peacefully, first in support of reformist candidates and later protesting the government’s version of the results. Women played a prominent role at every level in this movement; in fact what unfolded in Iran would not have been possible without them. It is their quiet and thoughtful community organization, constituency building, message development, and pioneering use of the internet in recent years that accounts for the scope of the protest in Iran. Their grassroots mobilization has showed that more lies at the heart of democratization than burning tires and shouting slogans, and that a democracy requires more than ballot boxes and purple-inked fingers. And that accomplishment will prove consequential not only for Iran’s future but also for the future of the whole Middle East.

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