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Sameena Nazir  

Founder and Executive Director of Potohar Organization for Development Advocacy (PODA), Pakistani Peace Activist and Human Rights Director

Sameena Nazir is the founder and director of Potohar Organization for Development Advocacy (PODA) in Pakistan. PODA works for the promotion and protection of human rights of rural communities especially women, children and youth by using the ‘right to development’ framework to implement awareness and advocacy projects.

As Director of IHRLG's Pakistan Program, Sameena Nazir is responsible for developing and implementing IHRLG projects in the region. Ms. Nazir is a Pakistani-American human rights advocate who has worked extensively on NGO capacity-building, particularly through the development and implementation of training programs centered around issues of empowerment. Her long-standing area of specialization is women's human rights and Islam.

With IHRLG since 1995, Ms. Nazir has also worked as Program Coordinator of the Women's Rights Advocacy Program at IHRLG's Washington, DC office. In 1996, she initiated and implemented a visionary program for Afghan women refugees living in camps on the Pakistan border. In 1999, she set up IHRLG's field-based legal literacy program for women in Morocco. In 2000, she designed program activities for empowering women's groups in Yemen to work for protection of rights of women in Yemeni prisons.

Between 1997 and 2000, Ms. Nazir also worked as Director of IHRLG's international advocacy training program for mid-career human rights advocates from developing countries (Advocacy Bridge), implementing an innovative program to amplify the voices of local activists at international fora through providing hands-on training during annual sessions of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights in Geneva. She continues to advise IHRLG staff on designing the women's rights advocacy component of Advocacy Bridge, with a specific focus on facilitating the participation of women advocates from Muslim countries.

Ms. Nazir has been involved in capacity building training programs for NGOs in several countries including China, France, Ghana, Malaysia, Morocco, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Philippines, Senegal, Switzerland, Turkey, USA and Yemen. Prior to joining IHRLG, she worked at the Women Living Under Muslim Laws international secretariat in France, and at the Women, Law and Development International office in the USA. From 1990 to 1994, Ms. Nazir worked as a journalist in Pakistan for Daily "The Muslim". She has also been an active member of Women's Action Forum in Islamabad.

Ms. Nazir has studied Law and English Literature at the University of Punjab in Lahore, Pakistan and is fluent in English, Urdu and Punjabi.

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