The 2018 El-Tassi Lecture features Marina Nemat

Marina Nemat, photo supplied

Marina Nemat, photo supplied

The Annual El-Tassi Lecture features a former teenage Iranian political prisoner, Marina Nemat. Nemat is a former Aurea Fellow at University of Toronto’s Massey College, and the authour of two books. Nemat will be on campus to speak about After Tehran: Beginning a New Life in Canada on Wednesday, May 16, 2018, at 7:30 pm at Eckhardt-Gramatté Hall. This lecture is free and open to the public.

Nemat’s book, After Tehran: A Life Reclaimed probes talks about her journey of acknowledging and living with the effects of torture and related trauma long after she was released from prison and moved to Canada. Her courageous story resonates with the journeys of countless refugees and political exiles.

She has received numerous awards including the Human Dignity Award from the European Parliament; the Grinzane Prize from Italy; the Morris Abram Human Rights Award from UN Watch in Geneva, Switzerland; and the Premio Ceppo Pistoia, a prestigious award given every year in Tuscany, Italy. 

Nemat was born in 1965 in Tehran, Iran. After the Islamic Revolution of 1979, she was arrested at the age of sixteen and spent more than two years in Evin, a political prison in Tehran, where she was tortured and came very close to execution. She came to Canada in 1991 and has called it home ever since. Her memoir of her life in Iran, Prisoner of Tehran, was published in Canada by Penguin Canada in 2007, has been published in 28 other countries, and has been an international bestseller.

Nemat regularly speaks at high schools, universities, and conferences around the world, including University of Milan, Oxford University, Yale, Tufts, Berkeley, and Stanford, and sits on the Board of Directors at the CCVT (Canadian Centre for Victims of Torture) and Vigdis, a Norwegian charitable organization that provides legal and other forms of assistance to female political prisoners around the world.

In addition, she is the chair of the Writers in Exile Committee at PEN Canada, a member of the International Council of the Human Rights Foundation in the U.S., and has been a volunteer at her church’s Refugee Committee since 2010. She has a Certificate in Creative Writing from the School of Continuing Studies at University of Toronto and currently teaches memoir writing at the SCS. In 2014, she was a recipient of the Excellence in Teaching Award at the school. She’s also a senior fellow at the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights. Occasionally, she writes book reviews and opinion pieces for various publications.

The El Tassi Lecture Series was established in 2012 through a gift from Abdo (Albert) El Tassi, C.M., O.M., LL.D. to The University of Winnipeg Global College. The lecture series explores contemporary issues in the Middle East, with a goal of promoting peace, justice, and understanding. 


Naniece Ibrahim, Communications Officer, The University of Winnipeg
P: 204.988.7130, E:


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