It is my pleasure to submit a joint-nomination for Mavara Agha and Sarah Freeman for the International Student Voice Spotlight Award.
I have had the privilege of working with Mavara and Sarah for nearly four years and have watched these talented women grow from eager, globally-curious freshmen to informed and respected internationally-focused leaders on the Northwestern campus. Mavara and Sarah currently serve as Co-directors for the Global Engagement Summit (GES), a student group they have worked with since their freshmen years. In my capacity as Program Coordinator for the Center for Global Engagement, I am an adviser to GES, a unique capacity-building conference for undergraduates from across the world to learn how to make global change from experts in a range of fields.
This April, thanks to the leadership of Mavara and Sarah, GES will bring 60 international and American undergraduates to Northwestern’s campus to attend workshops and keynotes about responsible international social change and social entrepreneurship. In order to accomplish this tremendous—and completely student organized—feat, Mavara and Sarah are leading a staff of 85 Northwestern students, have already raised tens of thousands of dollars, and have been busy planning since last June. This year, because of Mavara and Sarah’s leadership, initiative, and vision, GES has secured an even stronger identity in the international social innovation sector. They have strengthened and established the relationships between GES and esteemed organizations such as Echoing Green, One Acre Fund, and The Unreasonable Institute. They have brought the leaders of these and other leading international change organizations to campus as speakers so that the Northwestern community can learn about timely international topics.
From the beginning of their tenures as Co-Directors, Mavara and Sarah have created a cohesive vision to increase the connectivity between globally-minded Northwestern students and alumni. Through their leadership, GES has launched an Alumni Mentorship Program in which current GES members are matched with GES alumni who have begun careers relevant to global social change. Whether it be career advice or personal mentorship, this program helps Northwestern students and alumni connect over a shared interest in international engagement.
Although their work with GES would seemingly leave Mavara and Sarah no time for other endeavors, their individual achievements also exemplify internationally engaged student leaders. Mavara spent a summer studying development economics at the London School of Economics; upon return, she interned at Northwestern ‘s Center for International Human Rights, where she researched and documented trial proceedings for the Cambodia Tribunal Monitor. Sarah spent two quarters conducting independent research in Northern Uganda, analyzing the changing nature of humanitarian assistance in the region; she was later awarded the African Research Leadership Award to continue her research. What impresses me about the research and studies of these women is not only the quality and thoughtful nature of their work, but also how eagerly they share their learning with peers, faculty, and staff; they are consistently mentoring, informing, and inspiring others about pertinent global issues.
I sincerely believe this dynamic-duo deserves the ISV Spotlight Award; they have had a tremendous impact on Northwestern’s campus raising the visibility of pressing international issues, sparking thoughtful and informed conversations about the global social innovation sector, and bringing undergraduates from around the world to our campus to share perspectives and experiences. Mavara and Sarah are admired leaders among their peers, respected by Northwestern faculty and administrators, and valued amongst the Northwestern community for their leadership in international justice.