Author: Media Director/Wednesday, August 18, 2021/Categories: Past Programs
Why, you ask, would someone endure the danger of war and leave behind the comforts of a San Francisco home to work in Afghanistan? Mary Noel Pepys, an international attorney, will share her experiences helping to develop the rule of law in Afghanistan from 2008-2009 and the extraordinary opportunity she had to support the Afghan legal community in enhancing the criminal justice and corrections systems.
She’ll describe and show photos of what it was like to live in a 10' x 20' shipping container for 20 months in a heavily-fortified U.S. Embassy compound in Kabul, unable to tour Afghanistan except from inside armored vehicles and fixed wing aircraft, wearing a flack jacket to all her meetings and responding to emergency warnings not for fire, but for impending missiles. Mary Noel managed 60 American attorneys and correction officers who worked throughout Afghanistan to provide assistance to the Afghan government, to Afghan prosecutors and prison officials. She’ll take you on a unique journey of an international attorney working in Afghanistan during the war.
Mary Noel concluded her work in Afghanistan with the belief that while the road to justice and equality is, indeed, long, Afghans are no different from American citizens. They dream of a better future for themselves, their children and their country. They dream of education and health care, of the comforts of home and of a society that flourishes from legal enterprises, not illicit drugs. They dream the same dream as Americans, that one day equal opportunity will become more than a concept, but a reality for all
Mary Noel Pepys is a senior attorney with a specialization in the rule of law, specifically international legal and judicial reform, and corruption within the judiciary. Since 1993 she has helped emerging democracies develop justice systems that ensure the protection of citizens’ human rights, equal treatment of all individuals before the law, and a predictable legal structure with fair, transparent and effective government institutions. Mary Noel has worked in over 45 countries, lived five years in six former communist countries, and 20 months in Afghanistan as the Justice Advisor for the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement of the U.S. Department of State. While in Afghanistan, Mary Noel focused on strengthening the criminal justice system and the correctional system.
Previously, from 1984 to 1993, she worked at Helle
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