A Life Unseen
New York

Asia Society New York

A Legacy of One Woman’s Courage,

Humanity & Insight

A simple and courageous woman who led by example, Malek Jan Ne’mati (1906-1993) devoted her entire life to the service of humanity and advocacy for the rights of oppressed women and children. Notwithstanding her lack of sight and frail stature, and armed only with the strength of her character and the depth of her convictions, this remarkable woman peacefully overcame physical, cultural, and religious obstacles to transform an environment entrenched in prejudice and male-dominated tradition to one in which women were considered equals in every respect.

This special tribute commemorating the centennial of her birth featured women leaders from various sectors of the global community who, like Malek Jan, have significantly impacted the lives of those around them and beyond through their dedication, determination, and pioneering vision. In recognition of her lifelong work, the evening -revolved around discussions on the empowerment of women and the critical role of education and financial independence in advancing and improving the quality of their lives. To culminate the program, a short video tribute was followed by a traditional musical performance by the Razbar Ensemble in celebration of her vibrant personality.

As part of their commitment to promote their cultural heritage, Razbar Ensemble organizes workshops to teach the art of sacred music and folkloric dances to enthusiastic students worldwide. The Ensemble focuses on children and young adults in particular who have shown a keen interest in learning more about this mystical tradition. During their New York visit in December of 2006 to commemorate the centennial of Malek Jan Ne’mati at Asia Society, Razbar Ensemble conducted several of these workshops, which in turn inspired a group of young boys and girls to found J-Hoon Ensemble and perform Kurdish music and dances throughout New York City. J-Hoon Ensemble has recently performed at several schools in Manhattan, including the United Nations International School.