Adeena Niazi

Adeena Niazi

Founder and Executive Director of Afghan Women Organization

Adeena Niazi, who was a lecturer in Dari Language and Literature at Kabul University, was in India, while her country of origin, Afghanistan, was occupied by the former Soviet Union (USSR). Ms. Niazi became a refugee in India. There she obtained two Master's degrees in Farsi and Sanskrit literature and a Pre PhD in Dari. She also worked with UNHCR (United Nations High Commission for Refugees). She was actively involved in struggles for her country's freedom as well as in helping refugees.

In 1988, Adeena arrived in Canada, and in 1990 she founded the Afghan Women's Organization. Under her leadership, the organization has supported and advocated on behalf of women and children in Afghanistan and many refugees and newcomers who arrive in Canada from across the world. The organization has also sponsored and successfully settled 1000s of refugees from several visa posts. Adeena also, in partnership with a group of prominent Canadian women, founded the "National Coalition in Support of Afghan Women.

Under extremely risky conditions, during Taliban regime, Ms. Niazi has travelled to Afghanistan regularly to establish and manage educational programs, create home-based training and income-generating initiatives, and open an orphanage for young girls.

She has participated and spoken at several international conferences about the plight of women and the violation of human rights in Afghanistan. At the Brussels summit of Afghan Women Leaders– Adeena assisted with drafting the Brussels Proclamation, Brussels, Belgium.

She has served as an elected member of the NGO, Government Committee on Private Sponsorship for 4 terms and she has served as a board member of several organizations, including:

  • Refugee Law Office
  • Culture Link
  • Women in Transition
  • Afghan Association of Ontario
  • Women Intercultural Network
  • Women in Transition
  • Canadian Centre for Victims of torture,
  • Canadian Council for Refugees
  • Better Living Health and Community Services

Adeena is the recipient of numerous awards for her dedication and achievements. In January 2008, Ms. Niazi has been honoured with the Order of Ontario Award. In 2002, she was one of two Afghan Canadians elected to Afghanistan's Loya Jirga (Grand Assembly) to vote on the Transitional Government in Kabul. In 2002, Honor Roll, McLean Magazine, as one of Ten Canadians Who Have Made a Difference.