Recap with Zamara Choudhary, Spring 2017 Microgrant Recipient

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We caught up with our Spring 2017 Microgrant Recipient, Zamara Choudhary.

Funding from the ARAD Microgrant supported Zamara’s participation in the National Muslim Women’s Leadership Summit at the Harvard Kennedy School.

Describe the opportunity you participated in and how it aligns with your career aspirations.

I attended The National Muslim Women’s Leadership Summit, which empowers over 50 young Muslim women from across the United States to tackle the most pressing issues facing minority communities by bringing them together for an organizing bootcamp weekend at Harvard Kennedy School. The Summit, organized and sponsored by Women’s Initiative for Self Empowerment (WISE), kicked off a year-long fellowship geared toward supporting the participants as they execute their unique projects.

The Summit provided me with a schema and a supportive network to develop Beyond Boundaries, a social media platform to enable those who identify as Muslim women to express themselves through any art form of their choosing. Set to launch in the very near future, the mission of Beyond Boundaries is to foster cross-cultural exchange and understanding by shattering the myth of the monolith and of the passivity of Muslim women.

 

What were the most important takeaways from your experience?

The Summit distilled within me an overwhelming feeling of reinvigorated passion to effect change in a world that so desperately needs it. Being surrounded by a network of such supportive, dedicated, and motivated individuals makes me believe social justice is not just a buzz phrase or a castle hidden in the clouds amidst a mythical Shangri-La— it is actually possible.

 

How has the microgrant helped to enrich you professionally?     

Without support from the ARAD microgrant, I would not have had the opportunity to cultivate relationships with a professional network with diverse interests not limited to the arts, law, film, health, and journalism. In such a connected world, I believe we must be open to collaboration with multiple fields in order to optimize the impact of our work as arts administrators.

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