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The Monterey Institute’s Center for Social Impact Learning (CSIL) and the Institute’s online publication The Women’s International Perspective ( are proud to welcome the world-renowned Afghan social entrepreneur Dr. Sakena Yacoobi to Monterey. She will speak at the Institute’s Irvine Auditorium on Wednesday, October 29 at 4:00 PM. The event is free and open to the public.

Dr. Yacoobi founded the Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL) in 1995 to provide training, education and healthcare to Afghans, with a particular focus on women and children. AIL was the first organization to open learning centers for Afghan women—a concept that has been replicated by many organizations across Afghanistan.

Dr. Yacoobi and her organization have won numerous awards for their work and she is a powerful advocate for the education of young girls and women in Afghanistan. She grew up in a happy and very supportive household before the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. She studied in the United States, where she earned degrees in science and public health. Working at a refugee camp in Pakistan, she experienced the overwhelming need of her people and found her professional calling. Today, AIL is one of the largest Afghan non-profit organizations, providing education and health care services for over 12 million Afghans to date.

In her lecture, Dr. Yacoobi, who has agreed to join the CSIL Advisory Council, will discuss the challenges she faced in starting AIL, as well as the current status of women and girls in Afghanistan. The event will mark the launch of CSIL’s Impact Pioneers Speaker Series. “I am honored to be the first speaker in CSIL’s Impact Pioneers Speakers Series,” says Dr. Yacoobi. “I really believe that students today, like those at the Monterey Institute, are going to be the ones who make the world a better place, and I look forward to speaking with the MIIS students about my work over the last 20 years, and the situation of the people of Afghanistan.”

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Jason Warburg

Eva Gudbergsdottir