Evacuated Afghan women’s rights activist Mashal joins UTA

When Roshan Mashal evacuated Afghanistan when Kabul fell in 2021, she knew she would never return.

As the Afghan government and military fell to the Taliban, Mashal, a leader of the Afghan Women’s Network, was able to evacuate to the United States with her husband and five children.

“I can’t forget that day,” she said. “I was afraid for my children, for my colleagues, for our families,” Mashal said. “At the beginning, I told my friends that I felt I had to stay to continue the fight. And my friends said to me: ‘But you have to be alive to continue the fight.’ »

For more than a decade, Mashal has advocated for women’s and gender issues, access to education and participation in elections in Afghanistan. Now, she will serve for a year as a fellow at the University of Texas at Arlington College of Liberal Arts. Mashal – who says her goals have always included sharing experiences and learning from others – will focus on journalism, women’s rights issues and advocacy in her role at UTA.

The scholarship is in part through a collaboration with the Texas International Education Consortium (TIEC). The TIEC Fellowship for Afghan Evacuees was established during the mass evacuations from Afghanistan in 2021. TIEC is committed to committing up to $500,000 for scholarships and fellowships for students and professionals to high-risk programs hosted by TIEC member universities.

“The Texas International Education Consortium is deeply honored to partner with UT Arlington to place Roshan Mashal as a TIEC Fellow in the College of Liberal Arts,” said Robin Lerner, President and CEO of TIEC. “Mashal has spent her career advocating for women’s interests in Afghanistan. Her very special lived experience and deep expertise in communications and gender studies will bring a whole new level of learning to UTA students and faculty. We couldn’t ask for a more committed host to their scholarship than UTA.

Students will be able to learn from Mashal’s experiences living in Afghanistan and Pakistan, her participation in the global women’s rights movement, and her experiences of dozens of advocacy and training opportunities around the world.

“This represents UTA’s commitment to providing our students with access to world-class experts who can bring their unique experiences to the educational process, connecting what we do in the classroom to some of the most impactful happenings in our world. said Dan Cavanagh, acting dean of UTA’s College of Liberal Arts. “We hope that UTA students will be able to appreciate the varied experiences that other human beings have around the world and that they will be able to apply an empathetic understanding of these experiences to their own base of knowledge and understanding.”

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