An Evening in Vermont - Event

Event Report: An Evening in Vermont

This August, roughly two years after the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, Central Asia Institute hosted an intimate discussion on the future of Afghan women and girls. Situated at the Flynn Theater in Burlington, Vermont, the panel featured three incredible women, and drew an audience of more than 100. As the state with the highest number of Afghan refugees per capita, the group of Vermonters and Afghan Vermonters remained deeply engaged throughout the evening.

The event kicked off with a review of scenes from the Frontline docuseries “America and the Taliban,” with live commentary from our guest panelist, Frontline producer Marcela Gaviria. Sharing her insights from more than two decades reporting on Afghanistan, she set the scene for a deep discussion on how women and girls are faring under current restrictions.

Moderated by Vermont Public Radio’s Mikaela Lefrak, the panel discussion began with a focus on panelist Judge Anisa Rasooli, who had only recently arrived in Vermont. Judge Rasooli has been called the RBG of Afghanistan due to her accomplishment of being the first woman appointed to the Afghan Supreme Court.

Panelists from event in Vermont

The panel was rounded out by the third and final panelist, Sediqa Fahimi. Having grown up in a rural village of Afghanistan and not received any formal schooling until the age of 9, Sediqa seized the opportunities availed in the 2000s. She went on to become a Fulbright scholar, earn a Masters, and started her own nonprofit. Since evacuating Afghanistan in 2021, she has continued her important work in the nonprofit sector.

While Central Asia Institute program teams and partners are engaged in crucial work to move the needle on education and girls’ empowerment in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Tajikistan, our communications and development teams are honored to be able to keep the conversation moving beyond borders. As coverage of Afghanistan inevitably wanes after this two-year anniversary mark, we hope to continue shining a light on the girls and women in this region who are counting on the world to pay attention.

Our next event is coming up in Chicago on October 25th. This event will be both in person and virtual, so be sure to subscribe to our newsletter for the full announcement!

And, we want to hear from you! Is there an event in your hometown that CAI should be a part of? Would you attend a CAI event? Let us know in the comments or by reaching out to

2 responses to “Event Report: An Evening in Vermont”

  1. Yes, I definitely would attend a CAI event, and have in the past. Presently, we are living in LasCruces, NM
    an area traditionally with much poverty, etc. New Mexico in general, looks to improve the advantages of living here, and has done much, but there is much more to do. Las Cruces, NM is a small city near the Mexican border, quite a distance from other NM cities. Concerns here are the with the borderline relationships and the plight of the Mid-Americas, particularly the Myans. To speak of the problems in Afghanistan and it’s surrounding countries, will not drum up much interest unfortunately. I will continue to contribute to CAI, believing in its goals and in the women and girls it is helping.

    • Hi Sharon,

      Thank you so much for reading and chiming in. We are so grateful for your continued support and hope to see you at one of our events again soon – we will be holding virtual events coming up so that might be a good option. Thank you!!

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