Art and Activism in Afghanistan, Burma and Bangladesh

nd Activism in Afghanistan, Burma, and Bangladesh

Across the world, young people are becoming disillusioned with formal politics and distrustful of traditional democratic institutions. IRI has found that art and cultural activism are appealing alternative forms of political engagement for young people. Art and cultural activities often engage media, culture, and technology platforms they are already using and create an easier, more familiar, and sometimes safer access point for political engagement. Based on IRI’s recent work with artists, musicians, and other non-traditional civic actors in Bangladesh and across South Asia, it is evident that people around the world—particularly youth and marginalized communities—are eager to engage politically and make their voices heard if given the right forum. 

Please join the International Republican Institute on Tuesday, January 18, 2022 at 3:00 p.m. ET for a panel discussion on art, activism, and social and political change in Afghanistan, Burma, and Bangladesh. Art and cultural activism allow citizens the opportunity to engage in a nonintrusive and peaceful form of civic activism that creates a tool and a platform to amplify marginalized voices in politics, engage new ideas and participate in public debate. Using creative mediums to strengthen democratic processes and engage with citizens at the local level can keep civic space open and provide a space for nonviolent engagement between politically diverse people. It can also lead to broader initiatives to push back against democratic decline, promote inclusion, and facilitate mutual engagement, especially among youth and marginalized communities. 

IRI is a democracy-assistance INGO headquartered in Washington, DC that promotes democratic institutions and values around the world. 


Omaid Sharifi, a curator and activist from Afghanistan who co-founded ArtLords, which is a grassroots cooperative of civically conscious artists 

Chuu Wai Nyien, a female visual artist and women’s empowerment activist from Burma 

Mubashar Hasan, a Bangladeshi political scientist whose research has studied, in part, the politics of hip hop and rock ‘n’ roll in Bangladesh. 

Opening Remarks

Kimber Shearer, International Republican Institute, Counsel | Vice President for Strategy and Development 


Tim Rupnarain, International Republican Institute, Program Officer, South Asia 

Rhonda Mays, International Republican Institute, Deputy Director of Asia 

Event Registration: Those who register will receive an Eventbrite reminder the morning of the event with the zoom link at 9:00 a.m. ET from the email address Please be sure to check your spam folder. Anyone who has not received an email with meeting information within two hours of the event or is having issues joining the meeting should email Caitlin Hanratty at


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