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Loyola Welcomes Afghan Scholar Professor Negina Khalili

By Loyola University on Mon, 09/12/2022 - 10:15

A former Afghan prosecutor, Khalili will speak on gender-based violence and human rights at Loyola in October

(New Orleans – September 12, 2022) With the return of Taliban rule in Afghanistan, Loyola University New Orleans wanted both to play a role in securing the safety of scholars and ensure the university educates its students on the global impact to the education and human rights of women.

 During the 2022-23 academic year, Loyola will host Afghan scholar Professor Negina Khalili, a lawyer and expert in gender and the rights of women and girls. Through a partnership involving the College of Law and College of Arts and Sciences, Professor Khalili will serve as a guest lecturer at the law school and teach a human rights course for the undergraduate Honors Program at Loyola.

Students are invited to hear her speak next month at 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday, October 4 in Room 405 of the College of Law, located at 526 Pine Street. Professor Khalili will meet the Loyola community and discuss her experience and the situation in Afghanistan with a focus on women and girls.

“I came from a situation where there are no fundamental rights for females and the people are struggling with poverty and the girls are fighting for their rights,” said Khalili, adding that in Afghanistan, girls are banned from school and university. “I hope by teaching here I can raise the voice of my homeland so the world will learn what is going on in my country. I am thankful to Loyola University which provided me this opportunity to continue learning."

A prominent Afghan lawyer, Professor Khalili worked in Afghanistan as a prosecutor of crimes against women and girls.  Her goals as a lawyer are to help bring justice and equality to the women and girls of Afghanistan and to support democracy.

 Professor Khalili was the first female prosecutor in Ghor Province, the province where she grew up, where she served under the first female attorney general, specifically prosecuting cases of violence against women.  She received her law degree in Afghanistan and served as a law professor there before the Taliban take-over, which forced her to flee her homeland last summer. She told the BBC in October  “they freed all prisoners…we investigated those cases, now they are free, they are coming and they know all the prosecutors who investigated their cases and they are looking to take their revenge.”

Professor Khalili received an LLM from Ohio Northern University in 2018 with a focus on law and democracy. When she evacuated to the U.S. last year, she spent seven months as a refugee in Albania before arriving in Washington D.C. and moving to New Orleans to begin her position at Loyola.

 Clinic Professor Davida Finger, who serves as director of the Stuart H. Smith Law Clinic and Center for Social Justice and the Gillis Long Poverty Law Center at Loyola, led the Loyola team in its efforts to secure Professor Khalili’s arrival.  With pro bono assistance from the New York-based law firm Fragomen, Del Ray, Bernsen and Loewry, Professor Finger coordinated various immigration and refugee resettlement issues.  

“It is a tremendous opportunity for Loyola to host Professor Khalili and our students will gain invaluable lessons from Professor Kahlili as she lends her expertise on gender and democracy.” said Finger. “By securing this visiting position, Loyola is a leader among U.S. institutions in demonstrating support for Afghan women and female scholars who could not continue to live safely in Afghanistan,” she said. 

The deans of the College of Law and College of Arts and Sciences partnered to host Prof Khalili.  
“Professor Khalili is a young woman with strength beyond measure,” said Law Dean Madeleine Landrieu, J.D. ’87, H ‘05. “She is brave and kind. She has already taught us so much, not the least of which is to care dearly about our democracy and the rights afforded to us.”

“We are thrilled to welcome Professor Khalili as part of our faculty,” said Maria Calzada, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “These types of cross-college and international collaborations are part of what makes a Loyola education special. Our students will have the incredible opportunity to learn directly from Professor Khalili about many important issues related to human rights, justice, and democracy.”