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Panel marks International Women's Day

Friday, February 11, 2011

FREDERICK, Md.—Efforts to empower women in Afghanistan will be the focus of a panel presentation marking International Women’s Day March 10 at 7 p.m. in the Whitaker Campus Center at Hood College.

Fahima Vorgetts, director of the Afghan Women’s Fund; and Alicia Lucksted, Ph.D., clinical-community psychologist and assistant professor of psychiatry on the research faculty at the University of Maryland School of Medicine will comprise the panel entitled “Afghan Women: Survival, Rebuilding, Resistance.” Katherine Conway-Turner, Ph.D., vice president for academic affairs and provost at Hood, will serve as the moderator.

A reception will follow the presentation.

From an early age Vorgetts has been an avid supporter of women’s rights and education for Afghan women and children. She has received numerous awards for her humanitarian efforts on behalf of those populations, including a Soroptimist award and a community human rights award from the United Nations Association of the National Capital Area. The Afghani native has appeared on a number of national and international television and radio stations, has been featured in such publications as The Baltimore Sun and the Washington Post, and has addressed the United Nations and audiences at universities and religious organizations across the nation.

Lucksted has been involved in volunteer solidarity work with women’s groups in Afghanistan since 1998, including the Afghan Women’s fund, a grassroots civil society organization sponsored by Women for Afghan Women dedicated to securing and protecting the rights of disenfranchised Afghan women and girls; Rubia, which assists women and girls in the valley of Darrai Noor with cultural preservation, income generation and literacy; and Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan, a women’s organization that promotes women’s rights and secular democracy through nonviolent strategies. Her professional work focuses on applied research toward improving public mental health services for people with serious mental illnesses; self-help interventions among mental health consumers and their family members; qualitative methods in mental health services research; the welfare of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in the mental health system; and consumer views of mental health services.

Conway-Turner is a lifelong educator, scholar author and humanitarian. During her nearly 30-year academic career, she has served in various leadership and administrative positions and as a professor of psychology at five universities. She has traveled to Haiti regularly during the past decade performing humanitarian work there as a member of H.O.P.E., a not-for-profit, volunteer organization based in Rochester, N.Y., assisting the people of Borgne, Haiti, in achieving equitable, just and sustainable living conditions.

Proceeds from the sale of Afghan jewelry and handicrafts, available for purchase throughout the day in the Whitaker Campus Center, will benefit the Afghan Women’s Fund.

Each year, Hood’s Social Visionary Speaker Series brings to campus local, state and national leaders from nonprofit, academic, government and business sectors who have successfully guided and nurtured ideas into real and practical solutions that enhance the quality of life for others. Previous panels addressed domestic violence, the death penalty and the genocide in Darfur.

This event is sponsored by the Hood College Career Center and Office of Service Learning, the offices of the chaplain and multicultural affairs and international student programs.

For more information, contact Yvette Webster, community service coordinator, at (301) 696-3751 or by e-mail at webster@hood.edu.