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Global Changemakers | International Women’s Day 2023

March 8, 2023 @ 5:15 pm - 7:00 pm

Global Changemakers: Women & the Fight for Freedom

Join us on Wednesday, March 8 at 5:15PM ET for this virtual program in recognition of International Women’s Day. We’re highlighting Global Changemakers leading the global fight for freedom, democracy, and women’s rights. These three remarkable women will discuss the current state of the fight for freedom in Ukraine, Afghanistan, and Iran; and their role as a changemaker. Moderated by Council CEO Megan Torrey.

This important event represents an ongoing collaboration between the Women’s Leadership Center at the University of Saint Joseph and the World Affairs Council of Connecticut.


H.E. Oksana Markarova Ambassador of Ukraine to the United States

Since before the war in Ukraine began, Ambassador Markarova has been a remarkable advocate for her country to the U.S. government, garnering nationwide and bipartisan support for Ukraine in its fight for freedom and democracy.

H.E. Adela Raz | Former Ambassador of Afghanistan to the United Nations

Ambassador Raz was Afghanistan’s first female Ambassador to the UN and the last Ambassador of the former Afghan government to the United States. She unofficially maintained her role for six months after the government she represented ceased to exist to offer help to displaced Afghans: unpaid and unaffiliated with the Taliban. She has since been an advocate for women’s rights in Afghanistan and is the Director of Princeton University’s Afghan Policy Lab.

Roya Hakakian, an Iranian-American Jewish journalist and former refugee, will return to the Council to talk about the state of women’s rights in Iran.

The Details

When: Wednesday, March 8th | 5:15 PM

Where: Zoom Livestream

Tickets: Free | RSVP Required | Register here

The Speakers

H.E. Oksana Markarova

Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ukraine to the United States

Oksana Markarova was appointed the Ukraine’s Ambassador to the USA and arrived in DC on Apr 20, 2021. She served in Ukraine’s Ministry of Finance in 2015-2020 as First deputy Minister and Government commissioner on investments and then since 2018 as a Minister of Finance. During her time at the Ministry she was a co-author of Ukraine’s macroeconomic revival program, has conducted unprecedented fiscal consolidation leading to deficit to GDP of 2% and debt to GDP reduction to below 50%, introduced midterm budgeting, gender oriented budgeting as well as negotiated, structured and coordinated successfully two IMF programs and other IFI cooperation programs.

During her tenure she and her team has also created UkraineInvest government promotion agency, Ukrainian Startup fund and an eData ecosystem of government public finance portals including spending.gov.ua, openbudget.gov.ua and analytical instrument BOOST, which opened the majority of the public finance data to the public and increased Ukraine in all major international data transparency ratings.

Prior to career in public service Mrs. Markarova spent 17 years working in private equity and financial advisory having leadership roles in ITT investment group, Western NIS Enterprise Fund, Chemonics and and World bank, as well as founded Archidata startup electronic archive company in between service positions in 2020.

Oksana Markarova serves at the Boards of UkraineHouse DC foundation in Washington DC, Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, Ukrainian Development Foundation and supports Ukrainian Catholic University and Ukrainian Press Museum-Archive.

She holds BS and MS degrees in Environmental Science from Kyiv-Mohyla Academy in Ukraine and MPA in public finance from Indiana University with academic excellency and best international student awards.

Markarova is married with four children and grandson.

H.E. Adela Raz

Former Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the United Nations; former Ambassador of Afghanistan to the U.S.

Twitter: @AdelaRaz

Ambassador Adela Raz served as the last Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the United States. Prior to that Amb. Raz served as the first female Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the United Nations.  At the U.N., Amb. Raz was the Vice President of the 75th session of the General Assembly, and was also appointed by the President of U.N’s General Assembly to serve as the co-coordinator on COVID-19-related initiatives.

Before her arrival at the U.N. Amb. Raz was the Deputy Foreign Minister in Afghanistan. At the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA,) she managed the regional and economic cooperation portfolios and led the two major platforms: the Regional Economic Cooperation Conferences on Afghanistan and the Heart of Asia – Istanbul Process. On behalf of MFA, she helped to manage and coordinate the Brussels (2016) and Geneva (2018) Donor Conferences on Afghanistan and led the negotiations on the outcome documents.

In 2013, she served as the first female Deputy Spokesperson and Director of Communications for President Hamid Karzai.

She began her career with the U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan and continued to work in a variety of positions at various international development organizations in the U.S. and Afghanistan.

Amb. Raz holds a Master of Arts degree in Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School at Tufts University, and a Bachelor of Arts, with honors, with triple majors on International Relations, Political Science, and Economics from Simmons University in Boston. She also earned a certificate in International Development from the Fletcher School at Tufts University.

Roya Hakakian

Roya Hakakian is an Iranian American Jewish journalist, lecturer, and writer. Born in Iran, she came to the United States as a refugee and is now a naturalized citizen. She is the author of several books, including an acclaimed memoir in English called Journey From the Land of No, Assassins of The Turqoise Palace, and A Beginner’s Guide to America: For the Immigrant and the Curious.

Her opinion columns, essays and book reviews appear in English language publications like the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and NPR’s All Things Considered, among many others. She has collaborated on over a dozen hours of programming for leading journalism units in network television, including CBS 60 Minutes. She currently serves as an editorial board member of World Affairs. An active thinker of foreign relations, Roya is a founding member of the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center. She has been featured in the Washington Post and the US News and World Report, among other publications. In the book, Political Awakenings by University of California at Berkeley’s Professor Harry Kreisler, she has been highlighted “among the most important activists, academics, and journalists of her generation.” Roya is the author of two collections of poetry in Persian, and is listed among the leading new voices in Persian poetry in the Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern Islamic World. Her poetry has appeared in numerous anthologies around the world, including La Regle Du Jeu, Strange Times My Dear: The Pen Anthology of Contemporary Iranian Literature.

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