Public Lecture – April 2014

Public Lecture – April 2014

Public lecture and branch meeting



Entrepreneurship: A Poverty Reduction Strategy for Afghan Women in the Post-2014 Economy


Dr. Sky McLaughlin, Social Entrepreneur and Founder of Gandhara Designs, a social enterprise empowering artisans in the developing world to build sustainable small business and end their own poverty.


Thursday, April 17, 2014  6:00-7:30 P.M.


Grant MacEwan University City Centre Campus 10700 104 Ave, Edmonton, Alberta Room 7-218  For maps and directions click here.

Lecture and speaker information

2014 is a significant year for Afghanistan. As the Canadian, American and other international militaries begin to withdraw, Afghans will be holding elections and charting the course of their country’s future. To be sure, Afghans have a long and challenging road ahead of them, with one of the most significant questions being, “what will become of the women”? Substantial progress has been made in the area of gender equality in the last decade: over 3 million girls are in school, nearly 70 women serve in the Afghan parliament, over 1500 women serve in the police force and there have been notable improvements in maternal health. In the coming years, it is hoped that human rights outcomes for women will continue to improve. This talk will highlight the importance of women’s economic development in the broader development of Afghanistan as a nation and will focus on how entrepreneurship will be a key factor in ensuring transformational change for Afghan women in the long term.


Sky McLaughlinSky McLaughlin holds a PhD in Applied Linguistics from the University of Liverpool, UK. Her doctoral research in Palestinian schools explored the impact of the second Intifada on Palestinian children’s conception of self and other. Her research has been published in the Journal of Intercultural Studies and the Mediterranean Journal of Educational Studies.

Over a period of six years based in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Dr. McLaughlin designed and implemented a wide range of capacity development initiatives in in-service and pre-service teacher training, and curriculum development for the First Palestinian National Curriculum. Leaving Palestine in 2006, she took a position at Indiana University, based in Kabul, Afghanistan, where she continued her work in training of trainers, teacher training, and curriculum development with sixteen faculties of education and 550 professors at Afghan universities.

After a decade of work and life experience in conflict zones, Dr. McLaughlin came to the realization that, while educational development is of crucial importance in the task of nation building, so too is the development of economies. She strongly believes that any successful poverty reduction strategy must include the creation of both educational and economic opportunities for the most disadvantaged members of society, most notably women. In 2008, Dr. McLaughlin founded Gandhara Designs, a social enterprise empowering artisans in the developing world to build sustainable small business and end their own poverty.

In 2009, Dr. McLaughlin joined University of Alberta International as Regional Manager, Middle East and Africa, where her in-depth knowledge of the socio-political contexts of the Middle East and Central Asia has helped the university meet its recruitment, relations, and overall internationalization goals for the region. Most recently, she served a one-year appointment as Director of the Middle East and Africa Studies Program at the University of Alberta.

Our meetings are free and always open to the public. Invite your friends!


  1. Friends, meet me at GMCC on Thursday evening to meet and hear Sky. You’ll be inspired. Alison

  2. Thank you very much for the opportunity to speak at your monthly meeting last night. The audience was wonderful and I really appreciated the thoughtful and informed question period.

    Sky McLaughlin

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