“You are here because you believe in the world, you believe in education, you believe in the health and future of a peaceful world, and you believe in your power to do something good,” Nobel Peace Laureate and human rights activist Nadia Murad, said to Chapman University’s class of 2022 during recent commencement celebrations. “I believe in it, too.”
Murad, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2018, begins a three-year appointment as a Presidential Fellow at Chapman this month. During her appointment, Murad will hold on-campus workshops where she will engage with students studying international human rights, humanitarianism, social justice, genocide, and sexual violence as a tool of war, said Jennifer Keene, dean of Chapman University’s Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.
“We are excited for Nadia’s return to campus, where she can continue to share her story of resilience and courage with students, faculty and staff,” said Keene. “A college student herself, her natural charisma and openness will make these intimate conversations a memorable experience for our students, one that they are unlikely to ever forget.”
In 2018, Murad founded Nadia’s Initiative, a nonprofit organization that rebuilds struggling communities and advocates for survivors of sexual violence. The organization’s launch was prompted by the 2014 Sinjar massacre, when Islamic State attacked Murad’s home in northern Iraq as an act of genocide against the minority Yazidi population. Thousands were murdered, including Murad’s mother and six brothers. Murad was taken captive along with thousands of other women and children, until she was able to escape.
Since gaining her freedom, Murad shared her story with world leaders and human rights organizations. In her memoir, “The Last Girl: My Story of Captivity, and My Fight Against the Islamic State,” Murad raises awareness about the plight of her people and others who have suffered through similar tragedies.