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MA International Affairs, Women of Central Asia

May 8, 2014

I want to prepare myself for a lifetime of service in the struggle for the liberation of the women of Uzbekistan and other Central Asian republics, helping them to organize, protecting their human rights. Women are very oppressed in my country of origin and Colombia can provide me with the intellectual tools and necessary credentials to become a major player in the organization of Uzbek women so that we can demand our rights together and gradually reform patriarchal Uzbek society. At XXU I will come to better understand the struggle for women’s liberation in the international context, the historical complexities involved, and learn how to become a more effective organizer.

I plan to start my own NGO in the future to promote greater gender equality and safeguard human rights. Thus, I want to learn about social networking, political organization, communications, etc, I am attracted to the interdisciplinary emphasis of your program, and look forward to studying of the vast array of problems confronting the Central Asian republics, our relations with Russia and the West, the intersection of religion and politics, the struggle in Afghanistan, the war on terror and Islamic fundamentalism. I want to open up avenues of participation for women in the region, in terms of education, travel, business opportunities, etc. Thus, I need to develop greater expertise in the psychology of women and the sociology of gender, as well as the general nature of human and political organization.

I hope to contribute to the reform of our educational system because it is cruel, oppressive and unjust insofar as it distorts children´s vision of gender and society. When I was a little girl I always wished I was a boy because I was born and raised in Uzbekistan. I want to struggle against the reasons why women in my country have always been subjected to such horrific levels of domestic violence. I want to become an expert in the policies and practices that have been designed and put into practice to protect women in a number of countries, especially in the West, and why it is that we lag so far behind. Uzbek women continue to be regularly beaten and verbally abused by their husbands and other members of the husband’s family and I want to dedicate my life to changing this.

Foreign and local NGOs are the only forces of progressive change in my country, so I want to work for an NGO and eventually start my own. The most significant (liberating) experience that I have had in my life was during my freshman year in college when I became a volunteer for the NGO “AYOL” (Woman). It was then when I realized that I wanted to eventually start my own NGO and dedicate my life to building solidarity among women throughout Central Asian. I want to address the problem at its origins and labor towards progressive change in our educational systems at the same time that I seek to help young and middle-aged women to advance, to and find outlets for their products, knitting, oriental rugs, bakery goods, etc., by organizing female run cooperatives, achieving financial independence from men.

I am still a volunteer organizer with AYOL, helping with online conferences. I have all the equipment at home and have learned to take advantage of the difference in time zones. During conference meetings I speak with young women from throughout Central Asia who are pursuing their educations and careers in the West. Sometimes I videotape interviews with participants and post them to the web. The Director of AYOL says that my work is very effective.

I want to labor to provide young girls with study materials to help them prepare for entrance exams. These materials are difficult to attain. I want to be an organizer of girls and women so that we can brainstorm the challenges that we face together. The participation of local teachers in future meeting will be especially important. I want to target girls who have been admitted to college and award those with the greatest achievement. I want to develop an NGO that publishes its own magazine where young women can find information about campus jobs, foreign grants or scholarships, libraries, and free internet resources. I am excited by the fact that your program allows us to cross register with other universities which will help me to build my solidarity network.

I look forward to learning a great deal from the entire academic community, peers as well as professors, taking advantage of the resources of the university and the surrounding area, learning about history, social movements, political configurations, the sociology of the woman’s struggle, etc. XXXX is an ideal place for me to pursue my career in international relations and foster greater solidarity among NGOs to protect and advance women´s rights throughout the world.  I am especially excited about the way that SIPA fosters an intimate, friendly and collaborative environment within its MIA program. I want to develop skills in multiple areas and enjoy interdisciplinary study and group work. And, in addition to its curriculum, XXXX has a vast variety of speakers coming and meeting with students, from famous politicians to pop stars.

Growing up, I witnessed women be abused in many situations. When I was 12 years old my twin aunts both got married. Later, both were brutally abused along with their children and needed to come home. Yet, because of societal standards, my grandmother did not want to protect them. I want to dedicate my life to changing this. In 2006 when I arrived in the United States as a student, I had great hope. Unfortunately, a few months later, my uncle who was paying for my tuition passed away. I had to transfer to a less expensive school. I failed to get a scholarship and have been forced to support myself so that I could keep studying. I have read many books and essays on women´s rights in different parts of the world including a book by the former British ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray, “Murder in Samarkand,” where he describes the human rights situation in Uzbekistan through the eyes of a foreigner. This book has inspired me as never before. I continue to have great hope. I speak English, Russian, Uzbek, Tadjik and some French and I pray for the women and children of Uzbekistan in all five languages.

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