Middlebury Student Awarded for Human Rights Work

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Rana Abdelhamid, a student at Middlebury College who is a Truman Scholar and Pickering Fellow, will receive the Leo Nevas Youth Advocate for Human Rights Award for raising awareness of the UN and human rights mechanisms. Growing up in New York City to Egyptian parents, Abdelhamid became interested in the issue of gender-based violence both in Egypt and in her local community in Queens. As a black belt in Karate, she founded the Women’s Initiative for Self Empowerment (WISE), a self-defense, leadership and entrepreneurship program for young Muslim women that has engaged hundreds of young women through its summer fellowship and mentorship programming and is establishing chapters across the U.S. 

At fifteen my family and I took a trip to Egypt that opened my eyes. There, I saw whitening creams forced on my younger cousins. Billboards conveyed cryptic messages on female genital cutting. I learned of abusive marriages and saw scars on arms. At the same time, I met young Egyptian women who moved mountains. I found inspiration and pride, embraced the soft R in my name and chose to wear hijab.

When I returned to the U.S. I was inspired to become more involved in my community and started volunteering at a domestic violence organization. One day, on my way to the organization, as I walked down the streets of NYC, I felt a tug at my hijab. As I shrugged this off, I felt another, more forceful, tug. I turned around and was met with hateful piercing eyes. I tried to process what was happening. He was trying to take off my hijab. Overwhelmed with emotion, I rushed away as quickly as possible. That night, I thought about the hate I saw in the eyes of this man, the violence victims I worked with and my female family members in Egypt. I reflected on this moment and found an energy that was inspired by the resilient women I had met who stayed strong in the face of adversity.

A year later, at 17, I found the strength to start the Women's Initiative for Self Empowerment (WISE), a self-defense, leadership and entrepreneurship program for Muslim girls in New York City. Within the past five years, we have engaged hundreds of participants across the country, and our program has become a yearlong course in a girls’ school in Queens, NY. Our fellowship and mentorship models provide our participants with the opportunity to challenge themselves through leadership opportunities and trainings. Our annual social enterprise competitions empower young women to critically think about and develop sustainable programs to address issues they see in their communities. Though my experience with WISE, I gained an incredible skillset, connected with powerful young women and developed insightful relationships with local organizations.

Today Malala Yousafzai received the Nobel Peace Prize for her education advocacy, even after being shot in the head by the Taliban. Her strength in the face of injustice has been remarkably refreshing and inspiring.  As young people, often times, challenges can feel daunting, however as Yousafzai has demonstrated, it is important to turn challenges into opportunities for empowerment. Whether its through involvement with the UNAUSA or with a local community organizations, our time to make change, as youth, is right now and we have so many tools to do so. As this year’s recipient of the Leo Navas UNAUSA Youth award, I would like to send a message through a quote by Malala Yousafzai:“The important thing is to always ask the world to do some things. But sometimes they cannot be done, so you have to take a stab and you have to do them.”

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  • commented 2014-12-04 20:50:21 -0500
    NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION
    CHARITY FUND
    PIONEER

    ONLY RELIABLE STRATEGIC DEVELOPMENT and REAL INNOVATIONS are CAPABLE
    To DEVELOP ECONOMY of ALL COUNTRIES of the WORLD, to LEAD THEM TO PROSPERITY, to MAKE the WORLD COMFORTABLE, ABSOLUTELY STABLE and SECURE.
    THE FUTURE В ЧИСТОМ GLOBAL WORLD!
    Alexey PAVLOV
    690090 ПК, г. Владивосток, а/я 90-360.
    +79242656383; +7(423) 274-67-32. 16.09.2014

    H.E. Ban Ki-Moon
    Secretary-General
    United Nations
    New York, NY 10017
    USA
    Dear Mr. Secretary General, Dear Partners and Friends!
    THERE IS NO HELPTHOUSANDS THROWN CHILDREN IN RUSSIA!!!
    The PIONEER charity foundation offers you and to your collective to join carrying out mass charitable actions in all territory of Russia “We will make the childhood comfortable!” with involvement of labor, creative and student’s collectives.
    Purpose of actions: assistance and attraction of public attention to problems of children being in children’s hospitals which since the birth parents refused. We will carry out repair work of chambers and the equipment of newborns where there are thrown children.
    The material and technical equipment of chambers for such children leaves much to be desired. The thrown children, unfortunately, except the medical personnel of hospitals while have no other family. Therefore the Fund made the decision to improve financially – technical providing chambers for newborns in whom except the thrown children there are also all sick newborn children.
    We suggest you to discuss at meeting of labor collective a question of transfer to the special settlement account, or in cash desk of the direct contractor of the East Guarantor Company, one-day earnings of wished to participate in this charitable event, and also from other possible sources within this agreement, or to help necessary construction materials or the equipment for newborns.
    In return the PIONEER Charity foundation is ready to develop with you other joint actions which carrying out will positively influence the all-Russian and world level.
    Your personal interested participation in the organization and carrying out actions is desirable.

    WE CAN ORGANIZE ANY INDIVIDUAL AND GROUP TRIPS ON ALL TERRITORY OF RUSSIA, WITH STOPS IN INTERESTING REGIONS, HOLDING NECESSARY MEETINGS AND ACTIONS INCLUDING LAKE BAIKAL, AND ALSO WE WILL HELP TO OPEN OFFICE IN RUSSIA.
    MAINTENANCE AND SAFETY IS CARRIED OUT ACCORDING TO THE INTERNATIONAL NORMS AND LAWS.
    PIONEER charity foundation these are 15 years of the modern, timely, advanced decisions in questions of public, legal, political and other character. We are always open for new offers, cooperation and global partnership.
    Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation the certificate No. 2495 of November 17, 1999.

    Bank details for a transfer in Russia.
    ООО компания «Восток Гарант», ИНН 2507229970, КПП 250701001, ОГРН 1092507000145
    Банк получателя: «АЗИАТСКО-ТИХООКЕАНСКИЙ БАНК» (ОАО) в г. Благовещенск
    Расчетный счет: № 40702810000510000019; Кор.счет: 30101810300000000765
    БИК 041012765, ИНН 2801023444, КПП 250732001
    Назначение платежа: ремонтные работы «СДЕЛАЕМ ДЕТСТВО КОМФОРТНЫМ!».

    Details on the Internet on demand: “We will make the Childhood Comfortable!” – in Russian: «Сделаем детство комфортным!» or on our website, if it isn’t blocked by special services of Russia!
    Sincerely yours, President of
    PIONEER Charity foundation
    Alexey Gennadevich PAVLOV

    The perspective project and the offer are in the attached file.

    NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATION
    CHARITY FUND
    PIONEER
    Russian Federation, 690090, Vladivostok, p.o. box 90-360. +79242656383;
    Web site: http://pioner.dv-baza.ru/ http://vk.com/fundpioneer https://twitter.com/FundPioneer
    E-mail: specpioneer@gmail.com
  • commented 2014-12-04 20:49:51 -0500
    WELCOME TO RUSSIA !
    Public relations, mass media, legislative and executive power of the Russian Federation.
    International activity.
    Ecology, sports, tourism.
    RALLY RAIDS
    Diversification and development.
    Organization of mass actions.
    CARRYING OUT ELECTION CAMPAIGNS.
    Advertizing DEVELOPMENT.
    State registration.
    Carrying out lotteries and auctions.
    Social and economic INNOVATIONS.
    Design and design decisions.
    Legal support.
    PR – ADVANCE.
    Consulting researches.
    CRISIS MANAGEMENT.

    We will be glad to you to help!
    Sincerely yours, President of
    PIONEER Charity foundation

    Alexey PAVLOV

    OUR JOINT CONTROL AND GLOBAL PARTNERSHIP

    NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION
    CHARITY FUND
    PIONEER
    Russian Federation, 690090, Vladivostok, p.o. box 90-360. +79242656383;
    Web site: http://pioner.dv-baza.ru/
    http://vk.com/fundpioneer
    https://twitter.com/FundPioneer
    E-mail: specpioneer@gmail.com
  • commented 2014-12-04 20:42:34 -0500
    NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION
    CHARITY FUND
    PIONEER

    ONLY RELIABLE STRATEGIC DEVELOPMENT and REAL INNOVATIONS are CAPABLE
    To DEVELOP ECONOMY of ALL COUNTRIES of the WORLD, to LEAD THEM TO PROSPERITY, to MAKE the WORLD COMFORTABLE, ABSOLUTELY STABLE and SECURE.
    THE FUTURE В ЧИСТОМ GLOBAL WORLD!
    Alexey PAVLOV

    H.E. Ban Ki-Moon
    Secretary-General
    United Nations
    New York, NY 10017
    USA

    Dear Mr. Secretary General, Dear Partners and Friends!
    I suggest you to begin independent control of activity and quality of work of representatives of the SPECIAL SERVICES in Russia and the CIS.

    The PIONEER charity fund is ready assistance in monitoring and quality and control of programs of realized UN AND OTHER INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS in the Russian Federation and CIS countries, together with you to develop and hold other events and programs which will positively influence World level of your and our global partners.

    Joint development and advance of ecological tourism in especially protected natural territories first of all on Lake Baikal and peninsulas of Crimea by means of the PIONEER charity fund and our partners IN ANY REGIONS in the Russian Federation.

    Whenever possible you’re personal interested participation and representatives your global partners in development and carrying out actions are desirable.

    WE WILL HELP YOU TO OPEN NEW OFFICE IN RUSSIA AND THE CIS.

    WE CAN ORGANIZE in advance ANY INDIVIDUAL AND GROUP TRIPS ON ALL TERRITORY OF RUSSIA AND THE CIS, WITH STOPS IN INTERESTING REGIONS, HOLDING NECESSARY MEETINGS, PHOTO, SHOOTING VIDEO AND ACTIONS.
    MAINTENANCE AND SAFETY IS CARRIED OUT ACCORDING TO THE INTERNATIONAL NORMS AND LAWS.

    PIONEER charity foundation these are 15 years of the modern, timely, advanced decisions in questions of public, legal, political and other character. We are always open for new offers, cooperation and global partnership.

    Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation the certificate No. 2495 of November 17, 1999.

    Sincerely yours, President of
    PIONEER Charity foundation Alexey Gennadevich PAVLOV

    25.11.2014
    OUR JOINT CONTROL AND GLOBAL PARTNERSHIP

    The perspective project and the offer are in the attached file.

    NON-GOVERNMENTAL OGRANIZATION
    CHARITY FUND
    PIONEER
    Russian Federation, 690090, Vladivostok, p.o. box 90-360. +79242656383;
    Web site: http://pioner.dv-baza.ru/ http://vk.com/fundpioneer https://twitter.com/FundPioneer
    E-mail: specpioneer@gmail.com