Jahanara Begum Nuri is a writer , film maker and activist with a long career as a development and gender rights worker in Bangladesh, working for more than 20 years as an employee and consultant for numerous NGOs, foreign government aid agencies and national government initiatives. She has written on a wide range of issues including gender, women and children’s rights, clean water and sanitation, climate change, religious extremism and secularism, and produced TV documentaries. She is also a member of the Bangladesh secular movement, and took a prominent role in public protests, on the street and on-line.
After graduating with an MA in Bengali Literature in the mid 1980s, Nuri started out on her career as a development worker working with the Danish development organisation, DANIDA on women’s issues, moving on to work with the Canadian International Development Agency, OXFAM, and UN development programmes, among others.
As a writer, Nuri’s compilation of short stories written by herself and other writers on violence against women was published in 2009, and her novel set in a madrasa that explores religious bigotry was published in Bengali in 2007. Her short stories have also appeared in other anthologies, and her analyses of Ibsen’s play ‘Lady Inger of Osträt’ have been included in a collection of feminist analyses of Ibsen’s work. She is also the author of numerous articles, many commenting on religious extremism, including recently on the Mukto-Mona (Free Thought) website and as well as a short story on religious harmony published by the Indian Anyodesh Online publishing company.
Theatre is one of the advocacy tools that Nuri uses to promote rights, notably in 2014 when she and colleagues staged short plays highlighting domestic abuse and violence against women as part of the international ‘One Billion Rising for Justice’ campaign.
Jahanara Nuri was ICORN writer in residence in Linköping 2018-2020.