Dr. Sima Samar Biography
Dr.Sima Samar was born in Jaghori, Ghazni, Afghanistan on 3rd February 1957. Dr.Sima Samar received a medical degree in 1982 from Kabul University, a career chosen based on her desire to make a positive difference in her country. Yet her work to effect positive change in Afghanistan was performed for many years from Pakistan.
During her 17 years in Pakistan she became a leader for educating Afghan women and girls. Sima founded The Shuhada Organization, which now operates 55 schools for girls and boys in Afghanistan and 3 schools for Afghan refugees in Quetta, Pakistan. During the Taliban regime, Shuhada’s schools in Central Afghanistan were among the few academic girls’ primary schools; the organization’s girls’ high schools were the only high schools that girls were able to attend in the country. The Shuhada Organization also ran underground home school classes for girls’ in Kabul. Following the collapse of the Taliban, these home school classes became the basis for two above ground schools for girls that now teach 800 students.
Dr. Samar is currently the Chairwoman of the Independent Afghanistan Human Rights Commission. In this position, she oversees the conduct of human rights education programs across Afghanistan, the implementation of a nationwide women’s rights education program, and monitoring and investigation of human rights abuses across the country. Dr. Samar convened the Commission, which is the first Human Rights Commission in Afghanistan’s history.
From December 22, 2001 until June 22, 2002, Dr. Sima Samar served as the Deputy Chair and Minister of Women’s Affairs for the Interim Administration of Afghanistan. Dr. Samar was one of only two women cabinet ministers in the Interim Administration of Afghanistan’s government.
During this Administration, Sima established the first-ever Afghanistan Ministry of Women’s Affairs. Among other accomplishments, the Ministry won the right of women government employees to return to their jobs and to keep their seniority, oversaw the re-entry of girls to schools, launched a women’s rights legal department, and opened a school for married girls offering tailoring, literacy, and embroidery courses at the Ministry’s headquarters.
Dr.Samar has founded Gawharshad Institute of Higher Education in 2010 for supporting more students in higher education level with deep concern of girl’s education in this Institute.
Numerous international human rights and women’s rights organizations have recognized Dr. Samar for her leadership, her awards and honors include:
In August 10th 2005, due to her courageous and un-tiring work for the cause of Human Rights in the national and international arena, she has been appointed as the United Nation’s Special Rapporteur on Situation of Human Rights for Sudan by the commission of human rights of the United Nation and has traveled there and submitted her report on the situation, progress and challenges of human rights to the United Nation’s General assembly October 2005. Ranked by Forbes magazine amongst 100 Most Powerful Women (74th) 2004, (28th) 2006, (92nd) 2007,
Best Civilian Officer Award, Decree signed by President of France, July 14th 2006,
Global Women’s Rights Award, Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, USA May 2007.
Ypres Peace Prize, November 2008, Belgium,
2008 Asia Democracy and Human Rights Award, December 2008, Taiwan,
Don and Arvonne Fraser Human Rights Award by Advocates for Human Rights, June 2009 Minneapolis, USA,
Order of Canada, July 1st Canada 2009,
Politikens Freedom Prize, September 2009, Copenhagen, Denmark,
Doctor of Laws (hon.) University of Carleton, Canada, July 2010.
Dutch Geuzen Medal March 2011, The Netherlands,
Tipperary Peace Prize, June 2011, Ireland.
Stephen J. Solarz Award for Commitment to Peace, Justice and Security, By International Crisis Group, December 2011, New York.
Previous prizes which have won by Dr Sima Samar and her work at Shuhada Organization has been involved;