An evening with Masih Alinejad

About women’s right and the future of Iran


Iranian activist, journalist and writer Masih Alinejad will speak at De Balie about the future of Iran. Alinejad has been fighting for women’s rights in her native country for years. Through her social media channels with millions of followers, she is the voice of women and men who face repression and violence in public life in Iran on a daily basis. Masih Alinejad has recently been nominated as 2023 TIME Women of the year.

Amsterdam Mayor Femke Halsema will open the evening with an introduction on women’s rights.

Moderator Yoeri Albrecht and Masih Alinejad will discuss the current situation in Iran. As being part of the newly founded Alliance for Democracy and Freedom in Iran, Alinejad will explain more about the Charter of Solidarity and Alliance for Freedom they’ve issued. 

During the following panel discussion Dutch publicist and filmmaker Beri Shalmashi, who recently travelled to the border of Iran to speak with key figures from the revolution for Frontlinie (VPRO), and Pooyan Tamimi Arab, who has been extensively researching the wants of the Iranian people, will join in the conversation to discuss the future of Iran, the hopes and thoughts of the people there and what Western countries could and should do in order to help the fight for equal rights.

The traditional Kurdish choir Laser, known of De Balie’s performance Smekelingen, will provide a musical intermezzo this evening.

About the Speakers

Masih Alinejad is an Iranian-American journalist, TV presenter, women’s rights activist and author of best-selling memoir The Wind in My Hair. Born and raised in Iran, Masih was a parliamentary journalist in Tehran, where she often got into trouble for her articles on corruption and malfeasance among the lawmakers. In 2009, she was forced to leave Iran after the crackdown on protests against the disputed presidential elections. In 2014, Masih founded the My Stealthy Freedom/White Wednesday campaign against compulsory hijab, which is the largest civil disobedience campaign in the history of Islamic Republic. In July 2021, after a two-year FBI investigation, the Dept. of Justice charged 4 Iranian intelligence agents with conspiring to kidnap Masih to Venezuela. Today, Masih continues to expose human rights abuses in Iran, as a host of Tablet, a satirical weekly show on the VOA and campaigns against gender apartheid in the Islamic Republic.

Femke Halsema has been mayor of Amsterdam since 2018. In this role, she advocates for women’s rights and especially for those who belong to the vulnerable group. Before being mayor, she was active in politics for a long time. She also wrote several books, essays and articles.

Beri Shalmashi is a filmmaker and author, and an often heard voice giving context to the current uprising in Iran for media and politics in The Netherlands. She works as a consultant for the Netherlands Film Fund and is head of debate center Avanti.  She received the prestigious Zilveren Camera for Storytelling with Big Village, an interactive film about the Iranian Kurdish fight against the regime in the mid 80s. Shalmashi recently traveled to the border with Iran to speak with key figures from the revolution in the making for Frontlinie (VPRO).

Pooyan Tamimi Arab is Assistant Professor at the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies. Tamimi Arab’s research combines social scientific approaches to religious studies with political philosophy. He was awarded a KNAW Early Career Partnership grant in 2021 and an NWO Open Competition XS grant in 2023. His research on secularization with GAMAAN – The Group for Analyzing and Measuring Attitudes in Iran – won the 2022 President’s Medal of the Market Research Society in London.

Kurdish choir Laser: Zehra Killi, Azime Kilinc, Evin Akin Arslan, Naime Akar, Humeyra Yildirim, Nilufer Akay, Nesrin Yildiz, Neslihan Öztürk Durdu, Serwet Xan.
Music: Kurtuluş Arıkan, Alper Kekeç, Cengiz Arslanpay


Masih AlinejadWomen’s Rights Activist
Femke Halsema Mayor of Amsterdam
Beri Shalmashi Filmmaker
Pooyan Tamimi ArabAssistant Professor of Religious Studies