Dr. Sallama Shaker visited Quinnipiac University from Yale in order to give us some insight on her life and her view on education. She was the first appointed woman Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs for the Americas in the history of the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In September 2004, she was appointed Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs for Cultural, Educational Relations, Technical Cooperation, and Dialogue for Egypt. Dr. Shaker described her life being an activist for women’s rights in the Islamic world.
She began her dialogue describing how Hellen Keller is her role model because she learned that a person’s character can not be developed in ease and quiet, only through suffering and triumph will a person be able to grow. I thought that related to how the black South Africans fought for their rights and learned that things would stay the same if they succumbed to white supremacy and kept silent. With the support from other nations and even countries within Africa, they were able to end Apartheid.
Dr. Shaker said that with the support of her parents, friends, husband and the dedication of her university professors she was able to succeed. She said that she is ashamed of what people consider as struggle.
I thought that was interesting because people do not ever take a step back to realize that what you are going through probably is not that bad compared to what people have to deal with everyday. I thought that related to the QU South Africa course because learning about Apartheid and what the black South Africans dealt with on a daily basis can be looked at as struggle.
Any type of oppression can be looked at as struggle, however, peers and other people my age can look at a difficult essay assignment, final exam schedule, and having one bad day as being struggle. Dr. Shaker really put things into perspective when thinking about how when we enter into the townships, we will be able to go back to a nice hotel and come home at the end of the trip; meanwhile, the people that live in those conditions stay there with hopes of one day being as blessed as we are.
Dr. Sallama Shaker discussed how the lack of understanding of the Quran and the phobia of successful women led to why women were deprived of their rights. She explained how invalid interpretations of the Quran resulted in women being oppressed, yet, the Quran never stated their being a difference in the way men and women should be treated and the rights that they have. This relates to what we discussed in QU South Africa class because the Universal Declaration of Human Rights never mentioned that Blacks and Whites should be treated differently, however, the white people of South Africa must have interpreted the documentation differently.
It is interesting to think about how excuses are made for the reason for why people are treated poorly around the world. Dr. Shaker said, “Women’s rights are human rights,” which signifies how everyone should be treated equally, including black South Africans, based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
At the end of her dialogue, she said that we are the leaders of tomorrow, that if we dream big we can change the world. She is an inspiration and her concluding words helped me understand and appreciate what the South Africa trip will accomplish. We are going there to make a difference.