Class VIII (2010-2011)

7. Humaira Shafi

Sponsor Club: Abbottabad, Pakistan, District 3270

Having been in a motor vehicle accident after leaving her final interview for the Rotary Peace Fellowship, she never thought that she would be forced to spend one and half years of her life undergoing ankle operations that would still leave her with a permanent disability. But did it put a ‘stop’ to her ambitious quest for Peace? The answer is “NO”.

Meet Humaira Shafi from Pakistan. Masters in Political Science and a professional lawyer, Humaira has worked for the eradication of poverty and the promotion of education not only through her NGO (Al Ansar Society) but also through her legal and advisory skills.  One would think she had enough on her plate, but she said:

 In Pakistan, like any other country, education is a prerequisite for gaining knowledge about the issues disrupting peace and goodwill among various groups of people. These groups may be divided along geographical, ethnic or religious lines at a global or macro level but the seeds of the conflicts between societies are sown at a more local or micro level. At the root of every conflict between two sets of people lies a lack of knowledge and understanding about each other. This can be observed in conflicts between individuals, families, societies and also between larger groups such as countries and races. How do these people see the world? How do they judge “them” versus “us”? More often than not, people rely on hearsay and half-baked theories propounded by their teachers and community leaders to know about other communities. So, my aim is to study different conflicts in societies that not only divide them but also disrupt peace. 

Her studies as a Rotary Peace Fellow have reinforced her beliefs. She hopes to do well in her studies at the University of Queensland and then return to Pakistan to apply her knowledge. Her dream is to expand her work far and wide and to teach the future generations in a way that promotes tolerance, love and curiosity rather than parochialism, isolation and suspicion of the unknown. She also aims to play a role in promoting understanding between different cultures and nations.