Shabana Azmi – Keynote Speaker

Actress and social change activist

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Shabana Azmi Profile Picture

Specialist Subjects

  • Inspiration
  • Society
  • The Arts
  • Transformation


  • Hindi


Daughter of Urdu poet Kaifi Azmi and actress Shaukat Kaifi, Shabana Azmi grew up in a family that believed Art should be used as an instrument for social change.


Shabana’s entry into films marked the way for the Parallel Cinema movement with Shyam Benegal’s Ankur in 1974. Shabana has won five National Awards for Best Actress, three of them in a row, which is an unprecedented feat. She has also won five International Awards for Best Actress.


She is also highly respected as a tireless campaigner for the rights of slum dwellers, women and the underprivileged. She heads the Mijwan Welfare Society an NGO that works for empowerment of the girl child in rural India. A fearless crusader against religious fundamentalism, Shabana was nominated as The Rajya Sabha by the President of India in 1997. She was awarded the Gandhi International Peace Prize at the House of Lords in 2006. At the Bicentenial celebrations of International Human Rights in Paris 1989 she was awarded along with Mother Theresa by President Mitterand of France. She also won the Crystal Award along with Mohammed Ali and Michael Douglas at the World Economic Forum 2006.


She is a UN Goodwill Ambassador for Population and Development and continues to work on issues of Public Health.

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