Shirin Ebadi, who won the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize for her work on human rights in Iran, will visit CU Boulder on Friday, April 7, for a special evening event, film screening and audience Q&A to be held in the Chancellor’s Hall in CU Boulder’s CASE building from 5 to 8 p.m.
The event is sponsored by the Office of the Provost in partnership with the Boulder Faculty Assembly and the Deptartment of Women & Gender Studies, and requires registration (sold out). Additionally, attendees may join via livestream.
The event, which will feature a screening of the biographical film on Ebadi titled Until We are Free, written and directed by Dawn Engle, was organized by a consortium of CU Boulder faculty with familial and cultural ties to Iran, led by CU professors Shawhin Roudbari of environmental design and Shideh Dashti of civil, environmental and architectural engineering.
“Dr. Ebadi’s visit will be a historic opportunity for the CU Boulder community to hear from one of the most remarkable human rights advocates of this century, and from someone leading the effort to transform Iran’s society and government,” said Roudbari.
“For those who have been stunned and horrified by the repressive acts of the Iranian government against women and girls during the uprising this past fall, Dr. Ebadi offers an inspiring, long-term commitment to change and the strategies to achieve it,” said Dashti, who also serves as acting associate dean for research in the College of Engineering and Applied Science.
Ebadi, who holds a doctorate in law from Tehran University, is a lawyer and was the first female judge in Iran until 1979, when the Islamic Revolution overthrew the government of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. After that, Ebadi was not allowed to work as a judge due to the revolutionaries’ interpretation of Islamic law, which holds that only men are able to judge and sentence wrongdoers.
In 1994, she co-founded the Society for Protecting the Rights of the Child, and in 2002, she co-founded the Defenders of Human Rights Centre (DHRC) with other lawyers to assist those working towards promoting democracy. In 2003, she received the Nobel Peace Prize, and then co-founded the Nobel Women's Initiative in 2006, using some of her prize money to support DHRC.
In 2008, the Iranian government closed down DHRC by raiding her office, which had by then 30 lawyers working on cases. While she was traveling abroad, her professional archives and personal belongings were confiscated, and her sister was arrested on spurious charges and later released after massive public pressure in Iran.
Ebadi has lived in exile in London since 2009.
“Dr. Ebadi’s advocacy for women’s rights, human rights and for the transformation of Iranian society, embody Chancellor DiStefano’s and the university’s commitment to strengthening democracy,” said Moore.
“We are delighted to partner with the Office of the Provost and the Deptartment of Women & Gender Studies in this historic opportunity to host Dr. Ebadi in person as a statement of our bedrock belief in human rights, free speech and academic freedom,” said Tiffany Beechy, chair of the Boulder Faculty Assembly.