Comedian and Activist Nadia Manzoor Visits OSU

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Oregon State University works towards “Cultivating Connections” with 2016-17 Speaker Series

Actor, writer, and producer Nadia Manzoor uses her experiences from growing up in London in a conservative Pakistani-Muslim household, to empower women and create conversations around social justice.

The Oregon State University President’s Commission on the Status of Women (PCOSW) will welcome Manzoor on Oct. 18, as the kick-off speaker for their Speaker Series.

Rooted in feminist principles, the PCOSW was formed in 1972. Their mission includes but is not limited to: advocating for gender equality, promoting women’s achievement, campus climate and culture, community building, leadership development, and financial resources.

The theme chosen for the 2016-17 year is “Cultivating Connections.”

“What would be possible in your communities, in your cities, in your countries if you gave yourself the permission to speak freely about who you really are?” asked Manzoor in her Ted Talk, “Identity Is Not Dualistic.”

Also known for writing, producing, and playing the role of 21 characters, “Burq Off!” is Manzoor’s one-woman show.

“Nadia’s coming-of-age story is about the dilemmas of identity that afflict the children of British multiculturalism,” wrote Parvathi Menon, writer for The Hindu.

In 2015, Manzoor’s web-series “Shugs & Fats” won an award at the 25th Annual Gotham Independent Film Awards in New York City.

Manzoor and Radhika Vaz, an Indian comedian, and writer, are co-creators and producers of “Shugs & Fats.” The series follows the lives of two hijabi women who break cultural barriers, while navigating a new life in Brooklyn, N.Y., Shugufta “Shugs” is played by Manzoor, and Fatima “Fats” by Vaz.

Being an Indian woman on a stage talking about her vagina in a comedic way and bringing attention to real important issues is completely revolutionary, so it just has the power to spark change in such a powerful way,” said Manzoor, on Vaz’s returning to India to do stand-up in an interview with NPR’s program “Fresh Air.”

In addition to leading a discussion on: how women can engage with their power and find ways to create their own supportive communities, Manzoor will act part of “Burq Off!” during the Oct. 18, performance and conversation. The event is free and open to the public.

“I was greatly impressed by the work Nadia was doing to challenge the status quo through humor,” said Michelle Odden, member of the PCOSW Speaker Series subcommittee, and an organizer of this event. “She is brave, bold, and hilarious, so when we began brainstorming speakers for this year, Nadia rose to the top of the list. We are thrilled to have her to kick-off the PCOSW Speaker Series at OSU.”

Article by Alyssa Campbell


At a glance:

When: Tuesday, Oct. 18

Where: Lasells Stewart Center

Time: 7-8:30 p.m.

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