Written by: Aubrey Doyle, Dubin Fellow
My goal in coming to the Kennedy School was to end human trafficking. Much of my experience in this has been at a ground level—performing outreach for trafficking survivors on the streets of Chicago. This summer, I was inspired to volunteer for Yazda to apply these past experiences and the new skills I’ve learned at HKS and the CPL towards supporting female victims of ISIL slavery.
Yazda is an organization of mainly Yazidis whose native languages are Kurdish and Arabic. Thus, my first half of the summer was spent utilizing my English language and the skills I acquired from the HKS core curriculum to powerfully articulate the Yazidi genocide and what specific projects Yazda has established to respond to the various needs of the Yazidi community. I also wrote a multi-million-dollar proposal for the European Union, and published several press releases on United Nations meetings.
My second half of the summer I spent tapping into my tech background gained at IBM, and working with a team in India to update the Yazda website. I was responsible for rewriting all content, as well as the entire Nadia Murad Initiative. Given that Nadia Murad is nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize this year, and that she was one of my large driving factors for working for Yazda, this was a particularly humbling and exciting task.
I also had an opportunity to go to France on behalf of Yazda to deepen the organization’s brand awareness, and most recently help Yazda spread its mission to Asia. Up until me Yazda had not had anyone with Chinese language fluency on staff, and was unable to reach the Asian community to raise awareness of the Yazidi Genocide and modern day ISIL slavery. Much of my final month at Yazda was spent translating all of Yazda’s website and marketing material I wrote in the first month into both traditional and simplified Chinese. Throughout the upcoming school year I will continue to volunteer my spare time as Yazda’s official Chinese translator starting with a formal letter to the Chinese Government to join Yazda and the United Nations in calling upon the ICC to prosecute ISIL. Adding value for Yazda by spreading their message globally—including in China, a place I grew up and in many ways consider home, is very rewarding. I am so incredibly thankful to the Center for Public Leadership and Glenn Dubin for what has been a life-changing experience I would never otherwise have.