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[VIRTUAL] PEN America and Ms. Magazine Present: ‘Nasrin Sotoudeh, Iran’s Mandela’

To mark the theatrical release of the documentary NASRIN, join PEN America and Ms. Magazine for a special online conversation on Monday, December 21 at 3pm ET featuring an introduction by Margaret Atwood and opening remarks by PEN America’s Karin Deutsch Karlekar; followed by a discussion moderated by New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof with human rights advocate Kerry Kennedy, Iranian artist and activist Parastou Forouhar, Nasrin filmmakers Jeff Kaufman and Marcia Ross; and a message from Nasrin’s husband, Reza Khandan. Please confirm your registration at the Zoom link below.


Iranian human rights attorney Nasrin Sotoudeh has fought for the rights of women, children, religious minorities, journalists and artists, and those facing the death penalty. She was arrested in June 2018 for representing women who publicly protested Iran’s mandatory hijab law. Sentenced to decades in prison and dozens of lashes, she now has COVID-19 and a heart condition, but she continues to challenge the authorities and advocate for other political prisoners.

Co-presented by PEN America and Ms. Magazine, this event is free and open to the public with registration via Zoom. Watch the recorded event on YouTube.

Watch the documentary NASRIN online through a theater near you »

Molly Crabapple illustration hashtag free nasrin


Parastou Forouhar headshotParastou Forouhar was born and brought up in Iran, and currently lives in Germany. Trained as an artist, her work has been exhibited widely around the globe, and she is presently professor of Fine Arts at Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz. Her parents, who had been critical of the Iranian regime, were brutally murdered by state agents in 1998. Since then, she has been seeking justice for these political crimes and is actively engaged on human rights in Iran.

Kerry Kennedy headshotKerry Kennedy is president of Robert F. Kennedy (RFK) Human Rights, a lawyer, and author of New York Times best-seller Being Catholic Now, as well as Speak Truth to Power and Robert F. Kennedy: Ripples of Hope. Kennedy served as chair of the Amnesty International USA Leadership Council for over a decade. She serves on the board of directors of the United States Institute of Peace, Human Rights First, Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation, Laureate and Leaders, Nizami Ganjavi International Center, HealthEVillages, as well as RFK Human Rights’ numerous international chapters.

Jeff Kaufman headshotJeff Kaufman produced, directed, and wrote the Emmy-nominated documentary Terrence McNally: Every Act Of Life (aired on American Masters) and the documentaries The State of MarriageFather JosephThe Savoy King: Chick Webb and the Music That Changed AmericaBrush With Life: The Art of Being Edward Biberman, and Education Under Fire, plus a number of short films for Amnesty International, and programs for the Discovery Channel and the History Channel. He also edited/designed a book based on the film Terrence McNally: Every Act Of Life, contributed cartoons to The New Yorker, and illustrations to the Los Angeles Times and The New York Times, wrote/illustrated several children’s books, and hosted daily radio shows in Vermont and Los Angeles.

Marcia Ross headshotMarcia Ross produced the Emmy-nominated documentary Terrence McNally: Every Act of Life, and the documentaries The State of MarriageFather Joseph, and The Savoy King. Additionally, she has a three-decade career as an independent casting director and casting executive, serving 16 years as executive vice president for Casting at Walt Disney Motion Pictures and five years as vice president for Casting and Talent Development at Warner Brothers TV. Some of her film and television credits include Clueless, Cujo, thirtysomething, Murder in Mississippi, 10 Things I Hate About You, The Princess Diaries, Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion, The Lookout, Enchanted, Oblivion, and Parental Guidance.


Nicholas Kristof headshot

Nicholas Kristof has been a columnist with The New York Times since 2001. He grew up on a farm in Oregon, graduated from Harvard, studied law at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar, and then studied Arabic in Cairo. He was a longtime foreign correspondent for The New York Times and speaks various languages. He has won two Pulitzer Prizes for his coverage of Tiananmen Square and the genocide in Darfur, along with many humanitarian awards such as the Anne Frank Award and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize.


Karin Deutsch KarlekarKarin Deutsch Karlekar is the director of PEN America’s Free Expression At Risk Programs, and leads PEN America’s assistance to individuals at risk as a result of their expression and an ongoing partnership with PEN Myanmar. She has almost two decades of experience in global free expression, press freedom, and digital rights issues, as well as advocacy and assistance work on behalf of writers, bloggers, and journalists.