Sima Samar

Listen / Download

Sima Samar has spent most of her life defying men in power, and governments, and in fact all expectations of what an Afghan woman is supposed to be. As one of 11 children, she fought with her brothers, demanding equal status as a young girl. When her father said she could only attend university unless she married, she negotiated the terms of the union, insisting that her husband do the chores while she completed her medical training.

Twenty years ago, she started an organization to build hospitals, train nurses, and establish schools to teach young girls in Afghanistan. She was recently the highest ranking woman in the Karzai government and today heads up the commission in charge of investigating human rights abuses. Sima Samar speaks about her life, and the future of her country.


Dr. Sima Samar, chair of the Independent Afghanistan Human Rights Commission.