LAHORE: In recognition of her extensive work on issues surrounding culture, gender, religion and the state, the International Award UCLG – Mexico City Culture 21 award for personality will be presented to activist Farida Shaheed at a ceremony on November 12 in New Mexico.
A statement issued on this said that the award is given to personalities that distinguish themselves through their contributions to culture as a dimension of sustainable development.
Shaheed is a special rapporteur for the United Nations on cultural matters. She is known internationally for her work on culture and identity in relation to development and human rights, and the state’s responsibility in this regard. Her work as a social analyst in translating knowledge in practical terms has won her acclaim.
Shaheed began working for the United Nations as an independent expert in 2009. She has since proposed several initiatives to integrate culture and human rights. Shaheed has also identified and detailed main challenges of cultural rights in society, including the right to access of cultural heritage, the right to benefit from scientific progress and the right to freedom of artistic expression, creativity, and historic narratives in divided societies.
Shaheed heads the Shirkat Gah – Women’s Resource Centre. The organisation critiques issues of sustainable development through a gendered lens. Shaheed has done extensive work on dispelling the notion of culture as a static monolith or a relic of the past. She advocates an understanding of the dynamic nature of culture and its interconnectedness with laws, development projects and social norms in a contemporary environment.
The jury for International Award UCLG – Mexico City Culture 21, comprising Cuautéhmoc Cárdenas Solórzano, Gonzalo Carámbula, Daníelle Cliche, Catherine Cullen and Alicia Ziccardi selected Shaheed from among several notable activists from around the world.
Shaheed has received several other awards including the Prime Minister’s Award for Two Steps Forward One Step Back – Women of Pakistan, a book that she co-authored.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 11th, 2014.