Monday, March 23, 2009

Global Challenge: 'Equality of Women and Men' Examined at Washington College

Chestertown, MD — Award-winning human-rights crusader Layli Miller-Munro will present "Equality of Women and Men: An Evolving Global Challenge" at Washington College's Casey Academic Center Forum on Thursday, April 2, at 4 p.m. The lecture is presented by the Goldstein Program in Public Affairs.

Miller-Muro is the Executive Director of the Tahirih Justice Center, a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting women from human rights abuses through the provision of legal aid and social services ( Previously, she was at attorney at Arnold & Porter where she practiced international litigation and maintained a substantial pro bono practice. Prior to joining Arnold & Porter, she was an attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice at the Board of Immigration Appeals.

While only a student in law school, Miller-Muro argued before an Immigration Judge and assisted in the appeal of a high-profile case involving a woman's right to receive refuge in the United States from a tribal practice called female genital mutilation.

This case, which involved a young woman from Togo named Fauziya Kassindja, was the first in which the Board of Immigration Appeals (the highest appellate immigration tribunal) recognized female genital mutilation as a basis for asylum. The case set nationally binding legal precedent and made legal history.

Miller-Muro assisted Fauziya write a book about her life, flight from Togo and fight for freedom in the United States, titled Do They Hear You When You Cry (Bantam Doubleday Dell, 1998). All of Miller-Muro's portion of the proceeds were donated to enable the creation of the Tahirih Justice Center. The book subsequently has been published in 14 different languages and an audio version has been recorded. The movie rights have been sold to Abandon Entertainment.

Miller-Muro's writings on the subject also have appeared in Journal of Women's Health, American University Journal of Gender and the Law and Human Rights Law Brief.

Miller-Muro has received numerous honors including the Feminist Majority Foundation Award, the Africa's Children's Fund Award, the Voices of Courage Media Award and several others. She frequently gives speeches at colleges and universities throughout the United States and at conferences throughout the world on issues relating to women's rights, harmful traditional practices and the treatment of refugees.

She has appeared as a commentator and as the personal subject of numerous stories on CNN, BBC, ABC's "Nightline," PBS, CNBC, the 700 Club, NPR's "Fresh Air with Terry Gross" and "The Diane Rehm Show," and in the New York Times and the Washington Post.

Washington College's Louis L. Goldstein Program in Public Affairs was established in 1990 to encourage students to enter public service by introducing them to exemplary leaders, both in and out of government. The Goldstein Program has hosted journalists, political activists, foreign policy analysts, diplomats, military commanders and government officials of both national and international stature.

The Goldstein Program sponsors lectures, symposia, visiting fellows, student participation in models and conferences, and other projects that bring students and faculty together with leaders experienced in developing public policy.

Admission to "Equality of Women and Men: An Evolving Global Challenge" is free and open to the public.

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