»Munira Akhunzada’s journey from Afghanistan to Chapman and back helped her land a position with UN Women

Munira Akhunzada After less than a year in the United States, Munira Akhunzada (LL.M ‘13) completed her LL.M at Chapman Law, spoke at Chapman’s graduation at the election of her fellow students, and landed a prestigious position at United Nations Women to further her interest in fighting for women’s rights.

After already starting to work as an attorney in her home country, the U.S. government’s Public Private Partnership for Justice Reform in Afghanistan, an organization that nurtures Afghan legal scholars and judges who already practice law, chose sponsor Akhunzada’s study at Chapman Law. In spite of opposition from family members, she traveled to the U.S. all the way from Afghanistan so she could study at Chapman Law.      

Before she even reached the Chapman campus, Akhunzada was already representing Afghan women who were victims of abuse. “If we don’t -- one or two, three women -- if we don’t give sacrifice, then we will never be able to gain our rights to improve women’s rights,” Akhundzada said in an interview with 89.3 KPCC’s Erika Aguilar. “If we want to do something for women, we have to cross some borders in our traditional practices,” said Akhundzada also said in the KPCC interview.

While studying at Chapman, Akhunzada earned the highest grade in her Introduction to American Law, Advanced Legal Research, International Law & Organizations, and Negotiations classes.

As the one-year LL.M program came to a close, Akhunzada’s mostly Saudi male classmates chose her to speak at the Chapman Fowler School of Law Spring 2013 graduation on behalf of her fellow LL.Ms. In her inspirational speech, Akhunzada spoke of seizing new opportunities and her; “The person who goes furthest is generally the one who is willing to do and dare,” she said. “This is the challenge that lies before us.” Now that her legal education has come to an end, she will undoubtedly keep this mantra in mind as she pursues her goal of becoming a judge in Afghanistan.

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