Maria Toorpakai Wazir

Willa Black

Maria Toorpakai Wazir


Enabling Peace Through Sports

November 9th, 1:00-3:00 pm

In the Taliban controlled area of Waziristan sports for women are decried un-Islamic and girls rarely leave their homes. But she did, by pretending to be a boy. She’s now a world-renowned athlete and a flashpoint in her country’s battle over feminine identity. Her name is Maria Toorpakai Wazir, the young woman known as Genghis Khan.

A Different Kind of DaughterToorpakai recently released an autobiography titled A Different Kind of Daughter. Join us as Maria shares the story of her long road and eventual triumph, pursuing the sport she loved, defying death threats and following her dream.

"Through sports I gained my true freedom and independence. Sports gave me the opportunity to apply my education practically by traveling the world. Sports gave me strength and confidence. Sports taught me to stand up for myself and my beliefs, and that no matter how many times I lose or fall, I am always able to stand back up and win. Sports made me understand life is precious and a healthy lifestyle is a way to find your true self.

Today I carry a vision that is inspired by my life experience. I have realized that the clash among humans is because of ignorance and is multiplying into hate and rumors. I strongly believe that sports and education together will play a key role in bringing communities together and eradicate all kinds of wildness, negativity, and will help engage East and West in a much more progressive way… Yes, Change will come and Peace is possible."



Maria Toorpakai is a professional squash player, currently ranked as Pakistan's number one female player and among the top fifty players in the world. She resides and trains in Toronto, Canada, under former professional squash player Jonathon Power. Toorpakai recently released an autobiography titled A Different Kind of Daughter, and is the sister of Ayesha Gulalai, who is the first tribal and youngest woman to sit in the Pakistani Parliament.

The Toronto International Film Festival also released the World Premiere of the documentary GIRL UNBOUND: The War to Be Her, following Maria as she journey’s back to Pakistan to be with her family and continues her dreams to feel free while playing in Pakistan.