On Thursday night, the University of Maryland chapter of the United Nations Association welcomed Jacqueline Isaac, a human rights advocate, humanitarian, lawyer and motivational speaker.
In Van Munching Hall, Isaac discussed the current state of the refugees in Syria and Iraq as a keynote address for the UNA.
“[The UNA Chapter on campus is] relatively new, we started in Spring and what we’re trying to do is advocate for the UN’s work and host events like this and have speakers come in and talk about how we can make a change,” said UNA president Aayushi Shah, a sophomore government and politics major.
“Last week we had a hot talk, where we talked about the refuge crisis, and last semester we had a screening of I am Malala . We’re trying to focus on the Sustainable Development Goals and see what we can do as a campus organization.”
Isaac started her speech with an introduction about how she became a human rights advocate. Her journey started when her family decided to move from California to their country of origin, Egypt, when she was 13 years old.
In Egypt, she was told to dress differently as a woman and a minority. After majoring in political science in college, she said that one of the first issues she became passionate about preventing was female genital mutilation.
Isaac was invited to this university to share the real problems that Syrians face. She mentioned the Yazidi girl who went viral saying that she will fight for the freedom of her sisters in captivity. Isaac also talked about a Yazidi rape survivor, whose family was killed in front of her while she was kidnapped and held captive by ISIS.
“I have been to a couple of [UNA] events so far. I came here and realized that there are many deeper levels to the crisis.” said Aaron Dane, a sophomore government and politics major.
Isaac briefly spoke about the UK Parliament’s condemnation of the Islamic State’s violence as genocide. She explained that the Yazidis, an ethnically Kurdish religious community, are being killed off by ISIS because their religion is not part of the three Abrahamic religions.
Isaac said that it is important for people to know about situations happening outside of their own country, so they can have the knowledge about how to move the global community toward a better future.
“This entire topic [was eye opening]. The question that got asked about who these people were, I didn’t know they existed,” said Dharni Patel, a junior psychology major. “So much goes on in the world, and we don’t know about it and we’re kind of protected and sheltered. So to come to these things and realize that these things actually happen, and that we can do something is eye opening.”
The event closed by talking about how to save Christians and minorities from genocide. Isaac said people could protect Christians and minorities from genocide by signing the petition to let the United States accept more Syrian refugees.
You can help them by signing the petition on Roadsofsuccess.org.