Using Our Stories for a Cause: UW-Madison Students Speak Out
Using Our Stories for a Cause: UW-Madison Students Speak Out
Using Our Stories for a Cause: UW-Madison Students Speak Out
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.
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
Cold Weather Blues? Curl up with a book!
In the name of honor: a memoir by Mukhtar Mai with Marie-Therese Cuny; translated by Lind Coverdale; foreword by Nicholas D. Kristof
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!
Shiza Shahid’s keynote talk is now available online!
People of all ages and backgrounds anxiously waited in line Monday night for the chance to hear Shiza Shahid speak about her experiences with Malala and her background as an activist. Varsity Hall quickly reached capacity, but auditorium doors were opened so that those who could not fit could still see and hear Shiza and over 700 viewers from home watched the live steam of her speech.
Shiza’s speech left the audience captivated, whether it was from the emotional videos she shared, or her own personal stories of triumph and heartbreak. The crowd was taken on a journey of this inspirational young woman’s life and when her story was complete she left the crowd with this parting advice, “We [all] have our struggles. We [all] have our fears, By
saying ‘I am Malala,’ we promise to try and be stronger than those
fears, than whatever is holding us back. I want you to remember, you are
Malala.” The crowd erupted into applause and gave Shiza a well deserved standing ovation.
If you were busy Monday night or even just want to
experience the talk again it is now available online, posted as a link below. A
captioned version will be available next week and I will be placing it
on this blog when it is ready.
On Monday Shiza Shahid will be visiting campus to deliver the Go Big Read keynote address. Shiza co-founded the Malala Fund with Malala and has been named on Forbes 30 under 30 list. She is a powerful and motivated woman that will no doubt deliver a powerful speech that you will not want to miss!
The event is at 7:00 p.m. at Union South in Varsity Hall on Monday, October 27th. You will want to arrive early since a large crowd is expected. The event is open to the public and no tickets are necessary.
There will be Q&A session after her speech. We hope to see you all there!
Malala Yousafzai and children’s right activist Kailash Satyarthi were jointly awarded the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize today. The Nobel Prize board announced that Malala and Kailash were awarded “for their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education.”
The Taliban took over the Swat region of Pakistan where Malala lived in 2008. The Taliban immediately began closing schools for girls. In 2009 Malala began her fight for education. Malala was only 11 when she began anonymously blogging for the BBC about her struggles to receive an education and the fear she lived in everyday. That same year she came forward and announced who she was. Malala publicly criticized the Taliban for not allowing girls to go to school. All Malala wanted was an education.
Two years and one day ago Malala was shot in the head by Taliban men on her way home from school. The world was shocked that a child who was only 15 had been so callously and cruelly attacked. Malala’s assassination attempt brought international attention to Malala and her cause.
Malala had a long road of healing ahead of her, but she never forgot about her fellow Pakistani classmates who were still fighting to receive an education. Malala and Shiza Shahid created the Malala Fund, an organization dedicated to helping all children receive an education. Malala had every right to be angry after her attack, but instead she said “I don’t want revenge on the Taliban. I want education for sons and daughters of the Taliban. Malala, who is only 17, is the youngest ever recipient of a Nobel Prize.
Malala has inspired an education movement that brings together people from all across the world. Her work through the Malala Fund is truly making a difference, and she has no plans of slowing down. I for one expect nothing but greatness in Malala’s future.
Comment and let me know what your favorite Malala quote is.
The Go Big Read program has been fielding requests from the reading community for a venue that allows for deeper conversation of the themes presented in “I Am Malala”, as well as an event that features UW faculty and experts in the region of study.
UW Lubar Institute for the Study of the Abrahamic Religions is holding a
free, public symposium on November 11th entitled: Embattled Ideologies: I Am Malala and the
Question of Women’s Education in South Asia
Event Description: Beyond the dramatic story of Malala
Yousafzai’s life and struggle for women’s education as recounted
in I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was
Shot by the Taliban—UW-Madison’s Go Big Read book
selection for 2014—lie profound and complex questions:
–What are the larger and deeper
ideological forces that underpin the political and
humanitarian forefront of the “Malala” story? How do we make
sense of the perspective of the emancipators even as we want
to unravel the fury of the extremists?
–Why are some people staunchly opposed
to extremism but also suspicious of the extraordinary
limelight that Yousafzai has received? And how have certain
claims made in the book offended many Pakistanis, so that
they question the extent of Yousafzai’s authorship?
–How and why do the politics and ethics
of international development aid sometimes backfire? Why are
universal concepts such as “womanhood,” “human rights,” or
even “education” often problematic?
This symposium brings together scholars
whose joint expertise cuts across the challenges of women’s
education in tribal Pakistan, the historical encounter of Islam
and modernity, and the cultural problematics of international
aid. The goal of the program is to highlight how in South Asia
and elsewhere debates about educational reform and women’s
education in particular do not occur in a vacuum but are highly
inflected by historically embedded ideologies, and culturally
and politically vexed notions about human identity, education
Nancy Kendall is Associate Professor of Educational Policy Studies,
University of Wisconsin-Madison, who specializes in ethnographic
studies of comparative, international, and global education policy. She
is affiliated with the UW African Studies Program, Department of Gender and Women’s Studies, Development Studies Program, and Global Health Institute.
Her research has examined children’s sense-making and
experiences with gender and education, political
democratization, sexuality and HIV/AIDS education, and
orphan-focused international programming.
Omar Qureshi is currently the principal of the Islamic Foundation School (Villa
Park, Illinois) with considerable experience of teaching at
public and private schools in Saudi Arabia and the United States. He
has studied the Islamic religious sciences with a number of traditional
scholars in Syria and Saudi Arabia and holds specialization in Islamic
law and theology. He is also a Ph.D. candidate in Cultural and Educational Policy Studies at Loyola University–Chicago. His dissertation explores the conception of the highest good in Islamic Education.
Sidra Rind is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Educational Policy Studies
at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. She received the Virginia Horne
Henry Award for her research on female students in the tribal parts of
Pakistan. She studies how in the province of Balochistan competing
pressures from the state, the separatists, and the Taliban have shaped
the educational experience of Pakistani schoolgirls.
Tayyab Zaidi is a doctoral student in Educational Policy Studies,
UW–Madison, working toward a dissertation on models of Islamic
education in America. His research interests cut across the educational
applications of multimodal and systemic-functional analysis,
postcolonial studies, and the impact of Muslim organizations. He is a
recipient of the Fulbright Award and the Higher Education Commission
Pakistan scholarship. Tayyab holds masters degrees in English as well
as Applied Linguistics from the University of Karachi, Pakistan, and in
Educational Studies from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
Each year Madison Public Library’s nine locations participate in Go Big Read by hosting community book discussions. MPL’s book discussions are typically long standing groups with a core group of regular attendees who welcome newcomers ready to listen, discuss and share the floor in exploration of the book and author. The list of remaining discussions is below.
Here are some reactions from librarians that have already hosted discussions this year.
Each quote is from a different librarian and book discussion group:
We attempted to understand the birth of the Taliban after the Soviet
troop withdrawal in 1989– their rise from religious to militant– and
why they had initial world support, including that of the Reagan and
Clinton administrations. It was interesting to learn the the Clinton’s
administration’s flirtation with the Taliban did not last long, as
Madeleine Albright, incensed by the Taliban’s treatment of women, halted it when she became Secretary of State.
Many found it a difficult read with the political overtones, the
anti-Americanism, the detailed historical religious perspective, the
terminology, and the American unfamiliarity with Pakistan specifically,
and Islam in general. Some felt that the book would have held more
credibility if it hadn’t looked like Malala’s story was being
manipulated by adults with an agenda to sell books while Malala was
still in the headlines. One attendee suggested that, ‘although he had
great respect for Malala, the book was obvious propaganda.
We discussed the amazing phenomenon of Malala herself and her wisdom
beyond her actual years, everyday life and family dynamics in Pakistan,
all things education, including who has the say over what goes into
children’s textbooks, whether or not kids here take education for
granted, etc., religion, religious extremism, the role of the U.S. in
the Middle East, how the people always get caught between their
government and the militants and often our government as well, and how
well that works out for everybody. I think people enjoyed the book and
Malala’s voice and loved Malala.
Many in our group were pleased this was a Go Big Read pick because UW
students would read it– and look beyond their borders and/or discover a
perspective on ‘the news’ that is more personal. The group also
appreciated reading more about the Taliban- both the history, the day to
day changes in Malala’s life because of them, and her courage in
standing up to them.
Quite a bit of time was spent thinking about/discussing the issue of
the co-author– how not knowing what Lamb’s role was or who wrote what
was distracting to the reader and opened up the possibility that this
book was not Malala’s story or beliefs totally. The group was very
interested to hear of the negative reaction to the book (and not Malala)
*Discussions continue at our libraries and Book Discussion Kits are
available for private book groups (see below):
Wednesday, October 22, 6:30-8:00pm at Meadowridge Library, 5740 Raymond
Rd., Madison, WI, 53711, 288-6160
Thursday, October 23, 1:00-2:00pm at Sequoya Library, 4340 Tokay Blvd.,
Madison, WI, 53711, 266-6385
Wednesday, November 5, 6:00-7:30pm at Monroe Street Library, 1705 Monroe
St., Madison, WI, 53711, 266-6390
Thursday, November 6, 6:30-7:45pm at Lakeview Library, 2845 N. Sherman
Ave., Madison, WI, 53704, 246-4547
Thursday, November 13, 12:00-1:00pm at Lakeview Library, 2845 N. Sherman
Ave., Madison, WI, 53704, 246-4547
Tuesday, November 25, 7:00-8:00pm at Pinney Library, 204 Cottage Grove
Rd., Madison, WI, 53716, 224-7100
*Click here to borrow Book Discussion Kits from MPL
Madison Public Library has bought over 100 copies of I am Malala to lend
to private book groups. Kits are lent on a first come, first served
basis– no holds or reserves allowed. While all kit copies are out as of
this blog post, experience shows we’ll have many copies to lend again in
the late fall- typically mid-November. To borrow a kit you’ll need a
valid library card from one of the libraries in the South Central
Library System (which includes Madison Public Library.) Call 266-6300
for more information. You may borrow as many copies as your group needs
and choose your due date (within reason!) The discussion guide included
with the kit contains reviews, additional background information on
Christina Lamb and Malala Yousafzai and discussion questions.
Written by: Liz Amundson, Madison Public Library Reference Librarian