Scholar Spotlight: Masuma Mohammadi

Masuma Mohammadi is a visiting Scholar from Equality Social and Cultural Organization and Equality News Agency in the Human Rights Institute Read more to learn about Masuma!

What is your role here at SJSU? What do you hope to accomplish during your time here?

I am collaborating with the program on women, gender, and sexuality studies in the department of sociology and interdisciplinary social science. I will have the opportunity to work with SJSU faculty, staff and students at campus Centers. The SJSU HRI is coordinating faculty mentors in departments including journalism and mass communication, justice studies, and women, gender and sexuality studies to organize and facilitate research activities at SJSU.

Major activities will be working with HRI to establish a research agenda, producing collaborative research products, developing on campus and public facing programming for purposes cultural exchange, education and oral history projects and participating in academic conference and workshop on human Right reporting and contribute to the emergent SJSU HRI Archival Collections at documenting the narrative history of Afghans.


I worked on research about the persecution of the Hazara ethnic minority in Afghanistan under the Taliban control.  This report will be released at the end of September.


I hope to be able to do other research that focuses on Afghan women, because I think we need to research and report about women’s lives in Afghanistan in the current situation. I also hope to get to know more about human rights and academic institutions and to be able to carry out future activities in the field of research and reporting in a more professional and effective manner.


What do you enjoy most about SJSU or your time here in the U.S.?

Working with San Jose State University is Incredible experience for me, it’s the beginning of a new and good chapter in my life. SJSU is an amazing university with diversity like I’ve never seen before.


The professionalism of the SJSU and Human Rights Institute is a very notable characteristic. HRI team were welcoming and aspiring people. They are really helpful and they really do care about research scholars. Every person I have encountered has acted in a way which indicates they are here to help us as much as possible. I really appreciate the help they have given me.


There are so many resources available for upcoming research and human rights activities and I always take advantage of these resources. I get to learn so many things .There are many opportunities to get involved for me as an Afghan women rights activist and research scholar.


I hope that by gaining work experience at SJSU, I will be able to continue my work in the field of human rights research and reporting in the future in order to reflect the voice of Afghan people specially Afghan women and take part in advocacy for their rights.


What message do you have for our Global Spartan community?

Please don’t forget the people of Afghanistan, especially Afghan women and girls, support them to access their rights. Your support and providing such opportunities has not only brought a positive change in the lives of people like me, but has also saved our lives.

I wish that such opportunities will be provided to more Afghan men and women so that we can raise the voice of our generation

What is something you want others to know about your hometown, home country, or culture?

I am an Afghan women’s rights activist and journalist. I founded the Equality Cultural and Social Organization (ESCO ) in 2011, which was active in supporting women journalists and strengthening their presence and media activities. I was also the owner and chief editor of Equality News Agency, based in Kabul Afghanistan. We managed to train more than 200 women journalists in Afghanistan. Our team produced hundreds of reports and published them on the Equality news agency website, Facebook page and other Afghan media outlets.


August 15,2021, marks the day of the fall of Kabul and the start of Taliban control. My life and that of many other Afghan women changed forever. . My colleagues and I were in our office until we heard that the Taliban were coming. No one expected this to happen .We left the office immediately and were only able to take our laptops with us..

My journey from Afghanistan to here was extremely emotional and complicated. I rushed home and took my children and moved to the house of one of our relatives because we couldn’t stay at our home. It was hard for us to leave the house we had built with years of hard work and hope. We had to leave Afghanistan to save our lives


 Under Taliban rule,millions of women and girls in Afghanistan have been denied the rights to education, work and political participation and are required to cover their faces when they go out. This opportunity at SJSU is therefore even more meaningful.I’m profoundly grateful for this opportunity which comes at a very important time both in my personal life and my country, Afghanistan.

I will do everything in my capacity to make the most of this opportunity not only for myself, but for the millions of Afghan women and girls.


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