Global Speaker Series featuring Sonita Alizadeh
Moderated by Yasmine Jumaa
FREE & OPEN TO THE PUBLIC!
Please join the Muhammad Ali Center in partnership with the World Affairs Council in a conversation with Sonita Alizadeh, a young Afghan rapper working to end child marriage. Sonita was honored with the Muhammad Ali Core Principle Award for Conviction by the Muhammad Ali Center in 2021.
Sonita was born in Herat, Afghanistan under the reign of the Taliban regime. Her family walked hundreds of miles to Iran in the rain and snow to escape. She grew up an impoverished, undocumented, refugee street child in Tehran. Without official papers, she could not attend school until a local non-governmental organization offered assistance; they provided a basic education to undocumented, refugee Afghan children.
At the age of ten, she was sold into forced marriage. The contract fell through. Her family again tried to sell her when she was sixteen. She escaped.
Witnessing the injustices of the world, and her friends swiftly disappearing as they were forced to marry, she wrote the song “Daughters for Sale.” With the aid of an Iranian filmmaker, a music video was recorded.
Her story can be viewed in the award-winning documentary by Rohksareh Ghaemmaghemi which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2016, titled Sonita. You can watch the movie’s trailer here.
The movie, music, and video provided the opportunity to attend school in the United States and offered a platform to advocate against the practice of forced child marriage. Sonita has been privileged to be named as one of Foreign Policy Magazine’s Global Thinkers of 2015, BBC’s 100 Women of 2015, an Asia Societies Game Changer of 2017, a 2018 MTV Generation Change Award recipient, Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia 2019, and featured by CNN, NPR, BBC, Buzzfeed News, and over 150 publications in 20 countries.
More than 12 million girls are forced to marry as children every year. Sonita hopes to aid in finding a solution to the problem—to help save the lives of the next generation.
Reception and registration for this event will take place at 5:00pm on April 19th at the Muhammad Ali Center.
This event is FREE and open to the public. However, registration is required. Click here to register in advance!