UN Academic Impact funding fuels project

  Public
By: 
Jean Macgregor
Naomi Graham

When Naomi Graham embarked on the Master of Arts in Human Security and Peacebuilding program, she didn’t imagine her educational journey would take her as far as Palestine.

But an award from the United Nations Academic Impact/UNHATE Foundation Diversity Contest changed that.

The diversity contest funds post-secondary students and faculty from around the world for initiatives promoting tolerance, respect for diversity and harmony within and between peoples. Graham and her project partner, Landon Zeeman, will travel to Palestine to develop a photo blog project inspired by citizen journalist Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York.

Along with funding from the diversity contest, Graham has landed an internship with the Educational Network for Human Rights and Just Peace in Palestine/Israel, an international network of Palestinian, Israeli, and international faculty and students that advocates policies conducive to reaching peace in Israel, Palestine and the region.

The internship will provide Graham with orientation to the region and a foundation on which to forge the critical connections needed for the project.

School of Humanitarian Studies Prof. Ken Christie applauds Graham’s commitment to the project.

“Naomi worked hard to get this project off the ground and given the ongoing conflict in Palestine and Israel, it’s important to recognize the very valuable contribution she and her team will make in terms of positive social change,” he says.

With a background in Indigenous youth engagement, program development and contract management, Graham says she hopes to develop her work as a consultant in Canada and Internationally.

“I have always wanted to take the experience I’ve had working in Indigenous communities here and apply it to a larger world view and with an international focus,” she says. “I gained a sense of the lack of cultural competencies that exist in some humanitarian aid efforts and development work, and I am interested in helping to create platforms for sharing the untold stories about social justice and oppression.”

Graham arrives in Palestine this month and hopes to share her journey with the Royal Roads community on social media. Stay tuned!