Sunday, November 2, 2014

Mina's First Blog!

I am beyond excited to be a 2015 UN CSW Fellow!!! I’m still in a little shock that I was even picked out of all the amazing, qualified, and passionate individuals who were finalists. I am so ready to begin my research project and begin learning and growing in my intersectional and transnational feminist consciousness while hopefully effectually contributing to the larger discourse on women’s human rights globally in the process.

I guess one could say that I’ve always been somewhat of a feminist/womanist and sympathetic to women’s issues around the world. As a Nigerian-American woman, I have always been aware of the intersections of identity as they pertain to race, gender, class, and nationality in framing issues of global inequality, but growing up I could never really articulate what it was that my experiences were showing me. Freshman year of college, I became immersed in academic feminism and campus activism along with a summer civic engagement opportunity in radical feminism. I acquired a whole new vocabulary along the way: patriarchy, systemic, problematic, intersectional, privilege, oppression. I finally had the words I needed to address the massive inequalities I knew existed in the world; the validation of peers, professors, and advisors that these issues mattered; and the hope that I could somehow do something (however small) to address them.

However, coming back to Duke University for my sophomore year of college, I felt almost immediately deflated from my summer experience. How could I, little ole insignificant me, do anything about all the problems in the world? What would be my role in the movement? What skills, experiences, and knowledge could I bring to the table that could possibly help to dismantle this mess that is the social order? Especially when I have still so much left to learn?

Being chosen as a UN CSW Fellow I feel has been the perfect opportunity to combine both my academic interests with advocacy work through research that will not only be shared on an international stage but will also be presented locally to the communities that helped generate it. I am also really looking forward to the opportunity to network with other passionate people all over the world, working on these same issues. I hope to draw inspiration from their experiences and gain a
better understanding of the many different roles activists can take while engaged in the movement. I’m already thinking of ways that this experience can sustain itself after the fellowship is over through independent studies and Duke-funded independent projects. For me, this fellowship is hopefully just the beginning, a launching pad to a life devoted to issues affecting the most marginalized women and girls both locally and abroad.

1 comment:

  1. Great source for your research in the power of your personal experience, educational journey, and initial steps into activism.

    I encourage you to consider Margaret Mead's famous quote:

    Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.