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Farah Karimi to open academic year at Faculty of Arts

23 July 2015
Farah Karimi
Farah Karimi

On Tuesday 1 September Farah Karimi, Director of Oxfam Novib, will give the Arts Lecture to mark the opening of academic year 2015-2016 at the University of Groningen Faculty of Arts. The titel of her lecture is: ‘Post 2015: heading towards a new future? From Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)’. Farah Karimi is an alumna in International Relations and International Orgizations of the University of Groningen.

Have the Millennium Goals been achieved?

At the start of this century world leaders set the Millennium Development Goals, eight international development goals to be achieved by 2015. The specific targets included: halving extreme poverty, universal primary education, equal rights for men and women and a drastic reduction in maternal and child mortality. The world leaders will meet once again in New York in September to reach new agreements for the next 15 years. They have great ambitions and have developed 17 goals this time, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These are based on the principle of sustainable development for all. The aim is to address various global issues such as poverty, inequality, conflict and climate change in a single universal agenda. In her lecture Farah Karimi will address the following questions: what was promised in 2000 (MDGs)? What has been achieved? What can we learn from the MDG approach? And what is needed to make the SDGs a success? She will devote particular attention to the role of the Netherlands.

Farah Karimi

Farah Karimi (1960) grew up in Tehran. She studied Industrial Design at Isfahan University of Technology, but dropped out of university in 1980 to join a resistance movement against the strict Islamic rule. She fled via Iraq to Germany, where she was granted political asylum, and then spent a few years in Paris working for the Iranian resistance movement, with which she would later make a definitive break. She studied Mathematics and Computer Science in Kiel before moving with her family to the Netherlands in 1989. At the University of Groningen she studied Policy and Administration of International Organizations, which later became International Relations and International Organizations. She was awarded Dutch citizenship and became socially and politically active, winning a seat in the Dutch Parliament for the Dutch Green party GroenLinks in 1998. Human rights and the role of international law in Dutch foreign policy were themes running through her parliamentary work. Karimi travelled to many conflict zones for her political work. She visited Iran in 2005 and met with human rights activists, but was arrested at Tehran Airport when about to leave the country, causing the Dutch government to lodge a formal protest with the Iranian embassy. She has written books including Het geheim van het vuur (about her experiences in the Iranian resistance and in Dutch politics (2005)) and Slagveld Afghanistan (2006). In early 2007, Karimi began working as Senior Consultant for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Afghanistan, and at the end of the same year was appointed Executive Director of Oxfam Novib, the Dutch branch of the international non-governmental development organization Oxfam International. The mission of Oxfam Novib is a just world without poverty. Alongside her work for Oxfam Novib, Farah Karimi is active in various organizations including the VPRO, where she is a member of the Supervisory Board, and the Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH). She speaks Farsi, Dutch, English, Turkish and German.

About the Arts Lecture

For over 25 years, the Faculty of Arts has opened its academic year with an Arts Lecture. In this lecture, a famous Dutch person expresses his or her opinion about the importance of the arts (languages, art, literature, media, history, art history, archaeology and communication) for society. Previous speakers have included Wim Pijbes, Sophie in ‘t Veld, Anna Enquist, Femke Halsema, Hans Goedkoop, Ronald Giphart, Jan Blokker and Elsbeth Etty.

Date and time

The Arts Lecture is open to the general public and admission is free.

Time : Tuesday 1 September 2015 at 4 p.m.
Location: Aula, Academy Building, Broerstraat 5, Groningen

More information

Anneke Kok, Department of Communication, Faculty of Arts, University of Groningen. Tel. 050-3635909, email: ,

A reception will be held afterwards in the Spiegelzaal.

Last modified:13 June 2019 10.08 a.m.
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