Dr. Sakena Yacoobi, Founder of the Afghan Institute of Learning and Opus Prize Recipient, to speak at MIIS

S Yacoobi - Profile Photo


When: Wednesday, October 29, 2014, 4 – 6pm

Where: McCone Irvine Auditorium

Dr. Sakena Yacoobi, an award-winning social innovator who is Founder and CEO of the Afghan Institute for Learning (AIL), will speak at the Monterey Institute in Irvine Auditorium on Wednesday, October 29, at 4pm. Dr. Yacoobi’s visit to the Institute will be hosted by the Center for Social Impact Learning (CSIL) in partnership with The Women’s International Perspective (The WIP).

“Globally, women and girls are not afforded the same educational opportunities as men. One dramatic consequence is lower health outcomes,” says Kate Daniels Kurz, The WIP Director. “We are looking forward to Dr. Yacoobi’s talk on the successful innovations she has put forth to improve the education and health of Afghan women and children.”

Dr. Yacoobi founded AIL in 1995 as a way to provide training, education and healthcare to Afghans, with a particular focus on women and children. AIL was the first organization to open Learning Centers for Afghan women – a concept that has been replicated by many organizations across Afghanistan. AIL has become internationally recognized for improving the health and education of Afghan women and children. Under Dr. Yacoobi’s leadership, AIL has helped 12 million Afghans through schools, learning centers, and medical clinics. In 2005, Dr. Yacoobi was awarded the Democracy Award from the National Endowment for Democracy. Sakena was among the 1,000 women nominated to jointly receive the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize. In 2013, Dr. Yacoobi won the prestigious Opus Prize, an award that “honors unsung heroes of any faith tradition with a $1 million award for efforts to solve today’s most persistent and pressing global issues, including poverty, illiteracy, hunger, disease, and injustice.”

“I am honored to be the first speaker in CSIL’s Impact Pioneers Speakers Series,” says Dr. Yacoobi. “I really believe that students today, like those at the Monterey Institute, are going to be the ones who make the world a better place, and I look forward to speaking with the MIIS students about my work over the last 20 years, and the situation of the people of Afghanistan.”

Dr Yacoobi with PEP student 06-XX9E0258

Dr.Yacoobi was born in Herat, Afghanistan and educated in California. She holds a master’s degree in public health from Loma Linda University and a B.S. in biological sciences from the University of the Pacific. Dr. Yacoobi holds honorary doctorates from the University of the Pacific, Loma Linda University, Santa Clara University, the University of St. Joseph and Princeton. She is an emeritus member of the board of directors of the grant-making Global Fund for Women and serves on the advisory board for the Monterey Institute’s Center for Social Impact Learning, as well as New Global Citizens, which connects young people with international NGOs to help solve some of the world’s most pressing issues at a grassroots level. Previously, she was a professor at D’Etre University and a health consultant.

During her guest lecture, Dr. Yacoobi’s speaking topics will cover the challenges she faced in starting AIL and the current status of women and girls in Afghanistan. The event will mark the launch of CSIL’s Impact Pioneers Speaker Series.  Throughout the year, CSIL will host a series of practical and compassionate entrepreneurs and change makers as a way to drive inspiration and thought leadership on social innovation at the Monterey Institute of International Studies.  Visit: go.miis.edu/csil

This event is free and open to the public. For further inquiries, visit go.miis.edu/csil or contact Erina McWilliam-Lopez at 831.647.4645.

CSIL Door Sign 3

About CSIL: The Center for Social Impact Learning (CSIL) is a premier action learning and research institution focusing on the social impact of business and financial investment, specifically in the areas of social enterprise and impact investment management and mainstream business perspectives and decisions regarding the long-term impacts of today’s actions.

CSIL serves a full spectrum of budding social entrepreneurs offering them valuable and practical learning experiences as well as a launch pad for an impact driven career.

About The WIP: Based at the Monterey Institute of International Studies, The Women’s International Perspective (The WIP) is your global source for women’s perspectives. The WIP reports news, world opinion, and commentary through our Feature Articles, Byline Portal, Current Headlines, and community blog. Our mission is to provide quality articles from the unique perspectives of women, accessible worldwide, and free to readers. The WIP is a balanced media source that promotes diversity. We are not associated with any religious, political, or cultural affiliation. As a worldwide collective of writers, The WIP is an opportunity to balance the tremendous under-representation of women journalists and offer a greater diversity of background and opinion than typically found in mainstream publications. The WIP strives to bring together divergent cultures, opinions, and ideas in solution-based dialogue.

About MIIS:The Monterey Institute of International Studies, a graduate school of Middlebury College, has been preparing graduate professionals for global careers since 1955. Located in Monterey, California, the Institute offers advanced degrees in international business,international education management, international environmental policy, international policy studies, language teaching, localization management, nonproliferation and terrorism studies, public administration, and translation and interpretation, as well as a variety of specialized certificates and programs. The Institute, whose approximately 800 students come from more than 50 countries, is also home to the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, the Monterey Terrorism Research and Education Program (MonTREP), the Center for the Blue Economy, and the Center for Conflict Studies. Visit www.miis.edu forcampus news or tofind an expert.


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