- School for International Studies
- SFU Centre for Comparative Muslim Studies
One year after the fall of Afghanistan into the Taliban hands, esteemed Afghan journalist Lotfullah Najafizada will review peacebuilding efforts in Afghanistan in the context of human security, lack of legitimate state structures leading to the current humanitarian crisis and the prospects for the future in Afghanistan. In addition, Najafizada will touch upon the state of free press, including female journalists and Afghanistan's profound social change in the past twenty years. The presentation will also feature an introduction by Nurjehan Mawani, who is a distinguished leader, diplomat and volunteer with a career that includes Chair and CEO of the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB), Commissioner of the Public Service Commission of Canada, Advisor on Diversity to the Canada School of Public Service, and as a Diplomatic Representative of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) to the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.
This lecture is being hosted in honor of the late Andrew Mack, an Adjunct Professor at the School for International Studies and the former Director of the Human Security Research Group (HSRG). Donations to the Andrew Mack Memorial Fund will pay tribute to Andrew by supporting his passion for the School for International Studies at SFU and helping to support this annual lecture series.
Lotfullah Najafizada is an Afghan journalist with Amu TV, a US-based media outlet that he and his colleagues founded after the fall of Kabul in August 2021. At Amu, Najafizada and his colleagues are trying to revitalize free press in Afghanistan by connecting Afghan journalists in exile with those who are inside the country and providing free and unbiased reporting for the Afghan people. Najafizada’s nearly two decades of journalism experience includes leading TOLOnews TV (2009-2021), where he led the largest news operation in the country for over a decade and conducted many high profile interviews with global leaders including British Prime Minister David Cameron, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, Afghan Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, NATO Secretaries General Jen Stoltenberg and Andres Fogh Rasmussen, US NSA Gen HR McMaster and Senator John McCain. On World Press Freedom Day 2016, Paris-based Reporters without Borders awarded him with the prestigious medal of Press Freedom Hero for his fight for free press in Afghanistan. In 2016, TIME Magazine profiled him as a Next Generation Global Leader and in 2017 Forbes magazine selected him among the 30 under 30 Asia influencers in media. Mr. Najafizada was the only Afghan journalist who attended two rounds of civil society talks with the Taliban in Doha (2019) and in Oslo (2022). He is a former fellow with the Institute of Politics, University of Chicago (2021-2022) Asia Society (2012), Rumsfeld Foundation (2016), the Atlantic Council (2019) and World Press Institute (2010). He has a BSc in Economics. He’s married and has two children.
Nurjehan Mawani has a distinguished record of service as a leader, diplomat and volunteer. Nurjehan served as Chair and CEO of the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB), Commissioner of the Public Service Commission of Canada, Advisor on Diversity to the Canada School of Public Service and as Diplomatic Representative of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) first to the Kyrgyz Republic and subsequently to the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. As AKDN ambassador, Nurjehan worked in close collaboration with governments, international partners and civil society institutions. Recognition for Nurjehan’s contributions to the public service and the advancement of women include receiving the Order of Canada and the Public Service of Canada Outstanding Achievement Award.
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