Hillary Clinton Center for Women's Empowerment

Spring 2018

The lecture series is co-sponsored by the American Institute for Maghrib Studies (AIMS)


Wednesday, February 28 | 6:10pm | Mohammed VI Library at AUI, Zero Decibel Room


Speakers: Leslie Wyrtzen (Clark University, MA, USA) & Rev. Karen Thomas Smith (Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane, Morocco)

Leslie Gross-Wyrtzen is a PhD candidate in Geography at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts. Her research focuses on the political geographies of borders and the geopolitics of race and gender. She is on a Fulbright-Hays fellowship in Morocco for the 2017-2018 academic year.

Reverend Karen ThomasSmithis AUI’s University Chaplain. In addition to leading workshop services and interfaith initiatives, Rev. Smith has an extensive background working with displaced populations in Morocco and West Africa.

Thursday, March 29 | 6:10pm | Mohammed VI Library at AUI, Zero Decibel Room


Speakers: Stephanie Willman Bordat & Saida Kouzzi (MRA Women in Rabat, Morocco)

“Our talk will examine local NGO efforts to promote social change around women’s rights in Morocco and Tunisia, focusing on law reform mobilization and advocacy campaigns. We describe and analyze the specific domain of change related to relationships outcomes, referring to changes in current hierarchical power relationships among people and institutions based on gender, age, socio-economic status, education, ethnicity, and geography, to be consistent with human rights principles.  We draw on our 18+ years of grassroots-level work with local NGOs mobilizing and advocating for violence against women laws. We highlight how the process of law reform efforts can create social change outside of and regardless of any resulting changes in the laws themselves.”

Wednesday, April 4 | 6:10pm | Mohammed VI Library at AUI, Zero Decibel Room

  1. ‘MOROCCO AT THE CROSSROADS: THE INTERSECTION OF RACE, GENDER, AND REFUGEE STATUS’ | Speaker: Dr. Karla McKanders (Vanderbilt University, TN, USA), HCC Scholar in Residence (Spring 2018)
  2. ‘WOMEN & SOCIAL CHANGE IN NORTH AFRICA: WHAT COUNTS AS REVOLUTIONARY?’ | Speaker: Dr. Nadia Sonneveld (Radboud University, Nijmegen, Netherlands), HCC Scholar in Residence (2015)

Karla McKanders is a Clinical Professor of Law at Vanderbilt Law School where directs the Immigration Practice Clinic and teaches Refugee Law and Policy and Immigration Law. Her scholarship focuses on immigration federalism and critiques of national and international systems for processing refugees. Prior to entering into teaching, she clerked for the Honorable Damon J. Keith on the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. McKanders received her law degree from Duke University and her undergraduate degree from Spelman College.

Nadia Sonneveld has an academic background in anthropology, Arabic, and law. Her research focuses on gender and law in Muslim-majority countries, specifically Egypt and Morocco. She is the author of Khul' Divorce in Egypt: Public Debates, Judicial Practices and Everyday Life (2012), and has co-authored Women Judges in the Muslim World: A Comparative Study of Discourse and Practice (with M. Lindbekk, 2017), and Women and Social Change in North Africa: What Counts as Revolutionary? (with D. Gray, 2018).

Monday, April 16 | 6:00pm | Auditorium in Building 8B 


Speaker: Mr. Richard Reoch, AUI’s Visiting Professor

Richard Reoch, AUI’s Visiting Professor of Mindfulness, was part of a high-level inter-faith delegation of Muslims, Christians, Jews and Buddhists that just visited the camps. He gave us eyewitness testimony from his recent trip and opened up discussion to AUI community members on how we can respond to this humanitarian crisis.

Thursday, April 19 | 6:10pmMohammed VI Library at AUI, Zero Decibel Room


Keynote speaker: Dr. Marnia Lazreg (Hunter College, NY, USA)

* address for the Graduate Student Workshop 2018, jointly funded by AUI, Oxford University (UK) and the British Council

Marnia Lazreg is a professor of sociology at Hunter College and the Graduate Center (CUNY). She is a graduate of the University of Algiers from which she received a Baccalaureate in Mathematics and Philosophy, as well as a licence-ès-Lettres in English.  She also received an MA and a Ph.D. in sociology from New York University. She carried out research and published in the areas of human rights, social class inequality, cultural movements, and gender in the Middle East and North Africa.  Her books include, Foucault’s Orient:  The Conundrum of Cultural Difference, From Tunisia to Japan (Berghahn 2017); Torture and the Twilight of Empire:  From Algiers to Baghdad (Princeton, 2008), which  was issued in paperback in 2017; and Questioning the Veil:  Open Letters to Muslim Women (Princeton, 2010). She is also working on a second edition of her widely used text, The Eloquence of Silence: Algerian Women in Question.

Wednesday, April 18 - Saturday, April 21 | Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane, Morocco

New Perspectives on North Africa, Graduate Student Workshop 2018.

Primary organizer: Dr. Katja Žvan-Elliott (AUI)

Al Akhawayn University’s Hillary Clinton Center for Women’s Empowerment, its School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Oxford University’s Middle East Centre, and the British Council welcome some of the brightest emerging scholars focused on North Africa. The 3-day workshop will involve a team of established North African experts working closely with a selected group of about 15 graduate students from Morocco, Europe, and the U.S. PhD and MA students will receive feedback to improve their regional research.

The Program