Dr. Farhana Rahman has been named winner of the 2021 Paula Kantor Award. The award was created to honor Paula Kantor, a former ICRW researcher who was killed in 2015 while working in Afghanistan. Paula was a leading expert on gender issues in international development, with nearly 20 years of experience in policy and program research related to integrating gender into agriculture and rural development. Dr. Kantor’s work was largely driven by her passion to improve lives in the global south, especially those of women and girls.
This year, ICRW is proud to honor Dr. Farhana Rahman, a fellow at the Harvard University Asia Center and the co-founder of Silkpath Relief Organization. She completed her Ph.D. at the University of Cambridge, Centre for Gender Studies. She also works as a consultant providing technical expertise and trainings for international projects with organizations such as UN Women, UNDP, USAID and others.
Originally from Bangladesh, Dr. Rahman holds extensive experience researching the gendered effects of forced migration, gender-based violence in (post-)conflict situations, and the innovative coping mechanisms employed by marginalized women as a means of self-empowerment. Centered on a feminist methodological approach, her current research project investigates the implications of humanitarian aid agencies’ development programming in the midst of humanitarian crises, focusing on and critiquing these agencies’ gender equality programming in the Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh.
By highlighting the voices of refugees themselves, Dr. Rahman’s work helps push against a dominant characterization of refugees as “helpless” and lacking agency. It uncovers underlying reasons behind misguided international efforts and highlights the creative capacity of refugees to bring about changes in their own lives.