Tag Archives: Loyola University Chicago

Fulbright alumna from Afghanistan comes back to present at Loyola University

Identities in Transition: South Asian Womanhood and Girlhood Conference took place at Loyola University Chicago, October 28 and 29, 2016.

Identities in Transition: South Asian Womanhood and Girlhood Conference took place at Loyola University Chicago, October 28 and 29, 2016.

By Teuta PejaAFTER ONLY A FEW months of leaving Chicago “for good,” Fulbright alumna Shughla Hellali from Afghanistan returned to give a presentation at the South Asian Womanhood and Girlhood Conference (SAWG) at Loyola University Chicago (LUC), in October.

Shughla Hellali

Shughla Hellali

In this conference that addressed the topic of identities in transition with the aim to highlight the changing context of women and girls in South Asian society, Shughla discussed the rhetoric of epistemic violence against Afghan women caused by international media coverage and the limited understanding of the cultural and native context.

Shughla came to Chicago on a Fulbright Foreign Student grant in August 2014, to pursue an MA in Women’s and Gender Studies at Loyola University Chicago. After the completion of the program, she returned to Kabul, where she is now working as the Gender Specialist with United Nation Development Program. Recently, she became the Vice President of the Fulbright Association in Afghanistan.

This is her second visit to the US since her returned to Kabul in December 2015.

In February of this year, she traveled to Washington DC to attend several meetings on peace and security in Afghanistan. She and her colleagues at the Afghan Fulbright for Peace organized the meetings with the USIP, US State Department and the Afghanistan’s Embassy.

During her recent visit to Chicago, Shughla was experiencing different emotions because as she says “she was back to her home-away-from-home.”

She added: “I will always be grateful to Fulbright Program for giving me the life-changing experience that helped me frame my goals and develop professionally and personally. Knowing the values of the Fulbright Program, I am very excited to be part of the Fulbright Association in Afghanistan and lead the association. Through my work at the association, I am eager to contribute to the promotion of the Fulbright values and mission in the country and abroad.”

In addition to presenting her paper at SAWG Conference, in Chicago, Shughla also presented her work on “Ms. Representation: Media Portrayals of Afghan Women and the Epistemic Violence of International Intervention” to Loyola University academic staff and students.

Teuta Peja is a current Fulbright student from Kosovo.

 

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Contribution of immigrant women to US economy, main topic of the 14th Intl Women’s Day Celebration

Front row: Elina Ruka, MFA in Photography Student from Latvia, attending Columbia College, Claudia Figueroa, Master of Public Policy at The University of Chicago student from Chile, Onontsatsal Gantsog from Mongolia, studying at Loyola University Chicago, Katerina Psimogiannou from Greece studying anthropology at UIC, Josep Mª Nadal Fdez from Spain, attending DePaul University and Shafia Imtiaz from Pakistan, MPP student at University of Chicago. Standing:Mary Mares-Awe, Fulbright Chicago Chapter Board President, Board members Marilyn Susman and Meredith McNeil, and PhD Public Health student Kate Vergara from Peru.

Front row: Elina Ruka from Latvia, MFA in Photography, Columbia College, Claudia Figueroa from Chile, MPP, University of Chicago, Onontsatsal Gantsog from Mongolia, Loyola University Chicago, Katerina Psimogiannou from Greece, Anthropology at UIC, Josep Mª Nadal Fdez from Spain, DePaul University and Shafia Imtiaz from Pakistan, MPP, University of Chicago. Standing:Mary Mares-Awe, Fulbright Chicago Chapter Board President, Board Members Marilyn Susman and Meredith McNeil, and PhD Public Health candidate Kate Vergara from Peru.

By Meredith McNeilMEMBERS OF THE CHICAGO Chapter of the Fulbright Association and visiting Fulbright students attended the 14th Annual Chicago celebration of International Women’s Day on Monday, March 9th. The event took place at the stately Union League Club of Chicago.

The event was hosted by WorldChicago, the Union League Club of Chicago, and the International Trade Club of Chicago. The Fulbright Association Chicago Chapter not only was a partner organization for the event, but, eleven current and former Fulbrighters and friends of Fulbright attended the luncheon.

The message of the day pertained to immigrant women and their contributions not only to the U.S. economy in terms of labor and entrepreneurship, but also to women’s role in academia in this country. Both Carole Segal, co-founder of Crate & Barrel, and Michele Wucker, Vice President of Studies at The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, highlighted in their presentations the value of immigrants’ contribution to the U.S. at universities and in long term academic, and skilled careers.

Chicago Chapter President Mary Mares-Awe with members of the Canadian delegation Scott McCook, Coleen Duke and Paula Cabrera

Chicago Chapter President Mary Mares-Awe with members of the Canadian delegation Scott McCook, Coleen Duke and Paula Cabrera

Ms. Wucker stressed the importance of correcting immigrant stereotypes in this country by changing the focus to those who come for education and their children’s educations rather than negative representations. Ms. Segal lamented the brain drain that occurs in this country when student visas expire and how increasing the number of work visas would bolster the U.S. economy. It was refreshing to hear women of civic engagement discuss the importance of international intellectual talent that the U.S. gains from immigrants to this country.

Other topics included immigrant women’s lack of legal options, immigration as a political card, and the effect the politicization of immigration has on women. According to one of the featured speakers, women currently outnumber men in the “foreign born” category in current U.S. immigration statistics. This directly relates to the role all women play in strengthening families.

Chicago Chapter Board  Member Meredith Mc Neil at the Fulbright table during the fair prior to the luncheon

Chicago Chapter Board Member Meredith McNeil at the Fulbright table during the fair prior to the luncheon

The International Women’s Day Luncheon also featured a fair of exhibitors involved in international pursuits and women’s issues, including Fulbright Chicago, the Canadian Consulate, the YMCA, and the Consulate of Sweden, among others. The fair provided a great opportunity for the Fulbright Chicago representatives to engage with other attendees and discuss potential future partnerships.