- BJ / 97 , LL.D. / 2006
Noted journalist, filmmaker and human rights activist Nelofer Pazira, BJ/97, is the winner of the 2005 A.D. Dunton Alumni Award of Distinction, Carleton’s most prestigious alumni honour. She was awarded a Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, by Carleton in 2006.
Born in Afghanistan, Pazira has been instrumental in raising awareness of the plight of women there. She starred in the 2001 film Kandahar, loosely based on her journey several years ago to find a friend living in Afghanistan. In 2003, she went back to the war-torn country in the award-winning documentary Return to Kandahar. In 2005, she released a book called A Bed of Red Flowers, a moving memoir of her childhood in Kabul and escape from violence and war for which she won the $10,000 Drainie-Taylor Biography Prize awarded by the Writer’s Trust of Canada.
Pazira is a regular contributor to CBC. She is currently PEN Canada’s President. She has also set up a charity — Dyana Afghan Women’s Fund, named in honour of her friend — to provide education and skills training for women in the city of Kandahar.