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Obaid-Chinoy ’02: On Arts and Activism


  • September 16, 2019
Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy

Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy—a 2002 Smith College graduate who has been widely honored for her groundbreaking films on topics including gender equality and human rights —will deliver a Presidential Colloquium, “On Arts and Activism: Women’s Rights in a Volatile World,” Thursday, Oct. 17, at 5 p.m. in the Campus Center Carroll Room.

The event—which is open to the public at no charge—will feature excerpts from Obaid-Chinoy’s latest film project, “Fundamental,” a series of five 15-minute episodes that can be shown singly or together. 

The segments profile women activists in a variety of countries (Brazil, Georgia, Pakistan, Kenya and the United States) working on a range of issues, including child marriage, sex education, and racial justice.

“Fundamental: Women’s Rights in a Volatile World” is commissioned by the Global Fund for Women.

About Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy

The recipient of two Academy Awards and six Emmy Awards, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy is the only female director to have been awarded two Academy Awards by the age of 37. Since 2001, she has made more than two dozen award-winning films in more than 16 countries around the world. Her films include “Student Athlete,” “Girl in the River,” “Song of Lahore,” “Saving Face,” “Peacekeepers” and “Transgenders: Pakistan’s Open Secret.”

In 2012, Time magazine included Obaid-Chinoy in its annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world. That same year, the government of Pakistan awarded her with one of its highest civilian honors, “Hilal-e–Imtiaz.”

In 2013, the Canadian government awarded her a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for her work in the field of documentary films, and the World Economic Forum honored her with a Crystal Award at their annual summit in Davos. In 2017, the International Center for Journalists awarded her the Knight International Journalism Award for her work that led to legislative change.

In 2017, Obaid-Chinoy was the first artist to co-chair the World Economic Forum at Davos.

Obaid-Chinoy holds a bachelor’s degree from Smith College and two master’s degrees from Stanford University. In 2018, Smith College awarded her an honorary degree in fine arts.

About Smith’s Presidential Colloquium Series

The Presidential Colloquium regularly features influential thought leaders in a wide range of fields—from poets and writers to economists and policy experts—to share their expertise, offer insights and inspire discourse on key social, political and global topics that call for our attention. Lectures are free and open to the public.

This year’s other Presidential Colloquium speakers include author Kwame Anthony Appiah, environmental scholar Regina McCarthy and Bryan Stevenson, founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative.