Ettihad Cultural Center to hold ‘Women in Action’ to empower women

Chloe Stewart

This evening, the Ettihad Cultural Center will be hosting their second annual Women in Action event. The event will feature different tables where students can discuss important women leaders from their culture.

According to Alisha Mitchell, a student leadership liaisons at the ECC, many cultures in the Ettihad region have many important and powerful female leaders. Although this often goes unnoticed.

“We’re trying to give a spotlight to women who have done exceptionally well for themselves and achieved a lot,” Mitchell said. “I think there are a lot of misconceptions saying that a lot of countries don’t have a lot of women leaders. And this event is a testament showing that we have a lot of great leaders who have succeeded in their areas.”

The ECC seeks to represent and support students from all different cultures across the Ettihad region, which spans from northern Africa to southwestern Asia. In order to accomplish this, the ECC hosts a number of events throughout the year that allow students and student organizations to showcase their cultures and providing a safe space for students to speak up, express themselves through art and seek academic support.

Mitchell and her colleagues hope that they can engage and educate as many students as possible, regardless of gender and/or cultural boundaries at Women in Action.

“Audience-wise, I don’t want to see just women,” Mitchell said. “I want a male audience as well because I think that this is something that is important to, yes women, but also to men. I think that when you have support from both genders, the cause is bigger because you have an understanding.”

This year’s event will feature guest speaker Zainab Al-Suwaij, a co-founder of the American Islamic Congress. Al-Suwaij also has a history in activism, advocating for women’s rights and civil liberties, working with refugees in the United States, and teaching. She has taught Arabic at Yale University.

This year’s theme is “Empowerment through Social Change.” This theme seeks to examine and incorporate elements of social justice into the educational endeavor.

According to Mazin Al Fanna, a student leadership liaisons at the ECC, this social justice focus extends beyond just the Women in Action event. The ECC seeks to empower students from the Ettihad region and to teach them that they have a space and a right to speak up for their rights.

“There are a lot of different policies in other countries, and most students didn’t know that, here in the United States, you have free speech where you can speak up for your rights,” Al Fanna said.

According to ECC Advisor Amarah Khan, the student staff at the ECC are tremendously committed to their work. The cultural center itself, according to Khan, came to be entirely through student activism.

“It gives me a lot of joy to be affiliated with these students, because they are ahead of their time,” Khan said.