Monday, November 24, 2014

House of Representatives passes Malala Yousafzai Scholarship Act

Last week the United States House of Representatives passed the Malala Yousafzai Scholarship Act. The act encourages the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development to continue to support Pakistani education initiatives, especially those for women. The act would also expand the number of scholarships available to Pakistani women under the Merit and Needs-Based Scholarship Program. The Act was named after Malala Yousafzai in honor of all of the hurdles she has overcome in her life to become the more prevalent education activist in the world.

The bill's sponsor, Rep. Ros-Lehtinen, said that it was imperative to promote women's education in developing countries that limit women's rights. Ros-Lehtinen said, "we know that access to education is a game changer for any society. A society in which women have unfettered access to the education system expands the horizons not just for the girls and the women involved, but for everyone in their community and their nation."

The next step for the act to become a bill is for it to be passed in the Senate. We will keep you updated on the Act's status.


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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Breaking Stereotypes: Women in Islam

The Go Big Read book, "I Am Malala" has spurred many conversations on campus about education, women, and Islam. If an individual only watched mainstream "breaking" news they may falsely associate Islam with the Taliban, terrorism, or oppression. However, "I Am Malala" has sparked a different dialogue on campus. A conversation that focuses on strong Muslim girls who value education, whether it is Malala who had to overcome unimaginable barriers, or Shiza who has used her education and power to help others. Even though conversations have been started, many stereotypes still exist about Islam on our own campus.

Naman Siad, UW Madison senior and President of the Muslim Students Association, understands what it is like to have her identity questioned and have false stereotypes applied to her. In her Badger Herald article she says, "My scarf has often been an object of conversation, often invoking questions about "Where I am really from," and "How is my English so fluent." My answers always shocked people when I said I was from Madison and that my English better be fluent as it was my first language. I would often be frustrated with these types of situations. While my fellow classmates were never questioned on their American identity, I would often struggle to "prove" myself."

Naman and the Muslim Students Association realize that the campus conversations about "I Am Malala" are an opportunity to break down stereotypes and false assumptions in the student body. This Friday students and community members have an opportunity to be a part of a conversation surrounding women in Islam.

The Muslim Students Association is holding a panel event tackling the misconceptions of Women in Islam and showcasing a positive image of successful Muslim Women across America! The inspirational panel will talk about the role of Muslim Women from three different perspectives. The event is at 7 pm Friday, Nov. 21st, in Sterling Hall Rm. 1310. 

If you want to read more of Naman's article you can find it here: "I Am Malala" provokes necessary discussion of Islam on campus


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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Cold Weather Blues? Curl up with a book!

Campus is full of students bundled in mittens and scarves scurrying about as they desperately try to avoid the blustery wind and swirling snowflakes. Winter has officially arrived in Madison Wisconsin, whether we are ready or not. The rest of the week promises chilly temperatures, and by the end you'll likely be craving a steaming cup of cocoa and the chance to curl up with a warm blanket and a new book. 
If you enjoyed this year's Go Big Read book, I Am Malala, then you will want to consider choosing one of the books below that cover similar themes, regions, and topics. All of the books are available in campus libraries, you can discover the location by clicking on the linked titles.
An award-winning foreign correspondent who contributed to a Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times series reveals the secret Afghan custom of disguising girls as boys to improve their prospects, discussing its political and social significance as well as the experiences of its practitioners.








Tears of the Desert: A memoir of survival in Darfur by Halim Bashir with Damien Lewis
Born into the Zaghawa tribe in the Sudanese desert, Halima Bashir received a good education away from her rural surroundings and at twenty-four became her village's first formal doctor. Yet not even Bashir's degree could protect her from the encroaching conflict that would consume her homeland. Janjaweed Arab militias savagely assaulted the Zaghawa, often with the backing of the Sudanese military. Then, in early 2004, the Janjaweed attacked Bashir's village and surrounding areas, raping forty-two schoolgirls and their teachers. Bashir, who treated the traumatized victims, some as young as eight years old, could no longer remain quiet. But breaking her silence ignited a horrifying turn of events. 

An extraordinary young woman raised in the refugee camps of Iran and Pakistan, Joya became a teacher in secret girls' schools, hiding her books under her burqa so the Taliban couldn't find them; she helped establish a free medical clinic and orphanage in her impoverished home province of Farah; and at a constitutional assembly in Kabul, Afghanistan, in 2003, she stood up and denounced her country's powerful NATO-backed warlords. She was twenty-five years old. Two years later, she became the youngest person elected to Afghanistan's new Parliament. In 2007, she was suspended from Parliament for her persistent criticism of the warlords and drug barons and their cronies. She has survived four assassination attempts to date, is accompanied at all times by armed guards, and sleeps only in safe houses.


In the name of honor: a memoir by Mukhtar Mai with Marie-Therese Cuny; translated by Lind Coverdale; foreword by Nicholas D. Kristof
Mukhtar Mai, a Pakistani woman, was gang raped as a punishment for indiscretions allegedly committed by the women's brother. However, Mai fought back and changed the feminist movement in Pakistan, one of the world's most adverse climates for women. Mai was awarded money from the government and she used it to open a school for girls so that future generations would not suffer, as she had, from illiteracy. 

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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Embattled Ideologies: I am Malala and the Question of Women's Education in South Asia Event Today

The UW Lubar Institute for the Study of the Abrahamic Religions is hosting an expert panel today from 4:00-6:00 pm in the Sheldon Lubar Faculty Commons, Room 7200, in the UW Law School.

The event brings together four expert scholars on Islam and Education to discuss the challenging and complex questions surrounding women's education in tribal Pakistan, the historical encounter of Islam and modernity, and the cultural problematics of international aid.

If you are interested in a deeper intellectual conversation surrounding these issues you will not want to miss this event!


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