Category Archives: International Student and Scholar Features

From Woman Peacemaker to Master’s Candidate

Name: Rehana Hashmi</p><br />
<p>    RehanaHashmi

Country: Pakistan

Major: Peace and Justice Studies

Languages: English, Urdu, Hindi

From USD’s Joan B. Kroc Institute of Peace and Justice – Rehana Hashmi, a development professional and human rights defender, knows well the stark differences between the remote expanses of Pakistan and its bustling cities. Born in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (formerly the North-West Frontier Province) and raised in the sparsely populated province of Balochistan, she now alternates her work between Pakistan’s capital of Islamabad and the remote regions of her childhood.

At a young age Hashmi saw her father jailed for political activism and soon followed in his footsteps, leading student protests as Pakistan went through political upheaval. When the police came to her door threatening her arrest, the teenage Hashmi was given two choices: stop the protests or leave town. But she would not be silenced.

In the 25 years since, Hashmi’s activism has centered on the defense of human rights, especially for women. She became a development specialist in the district of Chitral; the work involved organizing women of diverse sects to come together to improve their livelihoods. It was a challenging task, as women in this region had never before been allowed to form organizations or make decisions side by side with men.

Hashmi has also created two national networks to support women taking control of their rights. As the national manager of the Women Political School Project under the Ministry of Women Development, she trained over 25,000 elected women leaders to support their political engagement. Hashmi also formed the largest health worker’s network in the private sector to provide services in reproductive health, linking over 3,000 paramedics to reach 2 million women.

Through her leadership of Sisters Trust Pakistan, Hashmi has worked tirelessly to help victims of domestic violence and women and girls breaking free of religious fundamentalism and forced marriages. However, her defense of human rights has come at a price: A regular target of threats, Hashmi must frequently move locations, occasionally going into hiding. But this does not deter her. Declining opportunities to settle abroad due to her committment to stay and be part of the struggle for change, Hashmi leads women and those marginalized in Pakistan society to fight for their rights and create a country that will defend them.

Class of 2016

Hashmi was a Woman PeaceMaker in 2013 and is currently a Master’s student in the Peace and Justice Studies Program. We are excited to see her continue her efforts for sustainable peace in Pakistan.

Naumana’s Peacebuilding: Strengthened by Love

 

From Inside USD – “Love” is a word Naumana Suleman uses to describe her journey in life. Within that journey is a heartfelt desire to spread compassion throughout the world.

Currently pursuing a Masters of Arts in Peace and Justice Studies in the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies, Suleman will be graduating this month. Originally from a large Christian community settlement in Pakistan, Suleman came to the University of San Diego to pursue a focus in peace studies.class-of-2015

Suleman, photographed in the second row on the far right, with her classmates in the 2015 Peace and Justice Studies Cohort

Influenced by her parents, Suleman credits them for her upbringing and aspiration to “contribute her part for a positive change in the world.” Adopted at an early age, Suleman recognizes her parents’ love as a key part of whom she is today saying, “it enriched me as a person.”

Growing up in Lahore, Pakistan, which is called the “heart of Pakistan,” Suleman describes Lahore as a historic city, “a city of people with lively hearts.”

“People know that Pakistan has been facing terrorism and faith-based violence, along with some other human rights issues, which has damaged the social fabric of Pakistani society. But people should also know the bright faces of Pakistan, which are Human Rights Defenders. Many have sacrificed their lives and many are still struggling for a just and peaceful society in Pakistan. Moreover, Pakistanis have talents and a lot of abilities, but they face a lack of opportunities and a conducive environment,” Suleman said.

While working for a few years as a teacher in a government school, Suleman saw firsthand the discrimination towards different minority groups.

“I saw the discrimination, which was going on in regards to the minority children studying in that school,” Suleman said. “If the teachers, who are well-educated, are still not able to be not biased with regards to their colleagues or with regards to their students, how can this be?”

Since 2006, Suleman has worked with the National Commission for Justice and Peace, a part of the Pakistan Catholic Bishops’ Conference, and has witnessed the challenging situations for “the general masses and specifically the marginalized and minority communities in her country.” Because of this work, Suleman was inspired to pursue higher education in peace and justice studies. Choosing the USD program, Suleman praises the faculty as well as her peers, marveling at friendships she has made along the way.

“For me, this program, at this stage of my career, is an incomparable opportunity. It is something that has helped me to reflect and to learn about issues more in depth,” she said. “Having conversations and studying with my colleagues from different parts of the United States and the world, making new friendships, … and the courses being taught here are very much connected and close to my work in Pakistan.”

For Suleman, her passion for peace has always been a part of who she is. “I have chosen a human rights path because, for me, it’s the basic notion of life … the basic notion of equality.”

In a country where she sees discrimination against minorities, notably religious minorities, Suleman hopes that equality will overcome any barrier, and that one day she will see a rebuilding of the social fabric that has been damaged by religious, ethnic, and linguistic tensions.

Going forward, Suleman realizes that alone she is not able to create change, but she has the desire to contribute any way she can, hoping to “work for a world where people can enjoy their rights on the basis of equality,” and that one day, everyone will experience the joy and peace they deserve.

Suleman acknowledges that the pursuit of equality is necessary but involves risks, recognizing the importance of creating a just and peaceful society.

“We should not lose hope. We should be optimistic. I know there are several challenges. We should be a kind of strength … keeping our hope and faith and letting the light of love guide us,” she said.

— Allyson Meyer ’16

At The Top of Her Class

 Name: Paulina Canizales

Country: Mexico

Major: Finance

Languages: Spanish, English, French


 

The San Diego Chapter of Financial Executives International (FEI) granted the 2015 Outstanding Student Award to School of Business Administration senior Paulina Canizales ’15 BA in April.

This award is given to the top 85bd8cb49c4db1306c1cc179e6a9d3ccfinance student at each university including the University of San Diego, San Diego State University and California State University San Marcos.

Graduating summa cum laude, Canizales is the top graduating finance major, and she is also receiving departmental honors in finance, which is given to all students who have a 3.5 GPA or higher.

“I attribute much of my success to my parents who instilled the values of responsibility, discipline and hard work in me.” she says.

Getting to the top of her class wasn’t easy.

“I came to the U.S. from Mexico on a student visa,” she says. “It was a tough transition. The education system is completely different. The Mexican education system focuses on memorization while the U.S. system leans toward analysis and critical thinking.”

Born near the Arizona border in Hermosillo, Sonora, English was a second language.

“Since kindergarten, I have been studying English. However, speaking and reading English on a daily basis and maintaining a 4.0 GPA was intense,” Canizales says.

During her four years in the School of Business Administration, she perfected the language and is now fluent in English. She studied abroad in Madrid and Nice and is now fluent in French too. Fluency in Spanish, English and French combined with her experiences abroad have opened her eyes to varying business styles across many cultures. USD’s International Student Organization (ISO) made her transition to USD easier and she wanted to give back. In fall 2013, she was the ISO President and managed the organizations finances.

After getting a taste for the finance world, she sought out an unpaid internship with BANORTE Bank in Hermosillo, Sonora. There, she broadened her experiences working in investment banking, human resources, mortgages and her favorite department, currency exchange transactions. This internship and her global experiences gave her direction and the confidence to secure a job. After graduation, Canizales will work in Guadalajara, Jalisco, assisting the CEO of Fintegra, a financial services firm.

“The education I received at SBA refined my critical thinking abilities and gave me the technical skills and know how regarding financial operations,’ she says. “The best class I took in SBA was Professor Conroy’s Macroeconomics class. It taught me real-life concepts that I have been able to apply on a day-to-day basis.”

She will take this knowledge back to Mexico and hopes to focus on the needs of her country. Through her position with Fintegra, she wants to be a part of making sure the money of Mexican taxpayers is well spent by assisting state and local governments in efficiently financing community projects. She also hopes to continue her education and obtain her Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) credential and a MBA in finance.

— Victoria Johnson ’04 BA (Communications Studies)

Five International Toreros Earn Postseason Accolades!

Names: Uros Petronijevic, Filip Vittek, Jordan Angus, Romain Kalaydjian

Countries: Serbia, Slovakia, United Kingdom, France

Majors: Communication, Business Administration and Management

Languages: Serbian, Slovak, English, French


The No. 22 University of San Diego men’s tennis team (20-4, 9-0 WCC) swept this year’s postseason awards in all categories. The West Coast Conference recognized head coach Brett Masi, Uros Petronijevic, Filip Vittek, Jordan Angus, and Romain Kalaydjian, which was announced on Tuesday afternoon.

 From left to right: Uros Petronijevic, Filip Vittek, Jordan Angus, and Romain Kalaydjian 

After leading the Toreros to an undefeated conference record for back-to-back seasons, Masi was named Coach of the Year for the second time in his career (previous, 2011). Junior Uros Petronijevic earned conference Player of the Year for the first time in his collegiate tenure as well, while also capturing a spot on the All-WCC Singles First Team with teammate Filip Vittek. Additionally, Vittek and partner Jordan Angus were named to the All-WCC Doubles First Team. Angus, a junior, picked up two accolades as well — achieving an All-WCC Singles Second Team spot in his first year as a Torero. Junior Romain Kalaydjian also grabbed an award, receiving an Honorable Mention selection for singles.

Masi has clearly left his mark on the Torero program in only his sixth season. Not only has he led the Toreros to four-straight NCAA second round appearances, Masi is the first-ever coach to hold the longest-running undefeated record against conference play at 20-0. Masi also claims the highest winning percentage in program history at .833 (previous, .818 1980). This season, Masi and the squad captured the West Coast Conference regular season title, only allowing five points versus conference play.

Petronijevic, the Toreros’ No. 1 singles player, is currentlyranked No. 52 inthe nation. The Serbian currently rides a six-match winning streak in singles, while boasting an overall record of 20-10 and dual season record of 12-5. Petronijevic has filled very big shoes after Clarke Spinosa’s departure defeating seven nationally-ranked opponents in the 2014-15 season (No. 18 Denis Nguyen of Harvard, No. 45 Gage Brymer of UCLA, No. 29 Harrison Adams of Texas A&M, No. 6 Yannick Hanfmann of USC, No. 93 Henry Craig of Denver, No. 42 Alen Salibasic of Drake, and No. 105 Freddy Gelbrich of San Diego State). Posting a 3-1 mark against league opponents, Petronijevic is only the second player in USD history to receive the prestigious Player of the Year award (previous, Dean Jackson 2011).

NCAA Tennis: WCC Championships77th-ranked Vittek, who has played primarily at the No. 2 spot, is 5-1 in conference play and has moved up significantly in singles since his freshman year — previously receiving Honorable Mention selection recognition in 2014. With an overall record of 23-7, Vittek holds the team’s most singles victories, while most notably defeating 38th-ranked Ben Lott of Drake and No. 37 Quentin Monaghan of Notre Dame earlier this season. The Slovakia native received three West Coast Conference Player of the Week honors for singles, the most in conference this season. However, Vittek is no stranger to doubles success. The sophomore claims a spot on the All-WCC Doubles First Team for the second year in a row. Teamed up with Angus, the 45th-ranked pair have helped claim 18 of the Toreros’ 24 doubles points this season. The talented duo have only dropped one match against league opponents at 7-1 and have defeated squads such as No. 6 Sasha Gozun and Roberto Cid of South Florida and No. 56 Thomas Colautti and Zack McCourt of Princeton. The pair has been ranked as high as No. 28 by the ITA national rankings (September 8, 2014).

Transferring from one of the top Division I tennis programs in the country, Angus begins to wrap up his first-year as a Torero on a high note. All-WCC Singles Second Teams comes well earned as the Englishman posts the team-best conference record at 8-0. Playing primarily at the No. 3 spot, Angus boasts an overall record of 20-8, whiling winning eight of his last nine matches. Angus also received West Coast Conference Player of the Week previously this season (April 1, 2015).

Wrapping up the singles awards was Kalaydjian. Kalaydjian has undoubtedly been a significant asset to the Torero squad and is known for his down-to-the-wire clutch victories. The junior has won five singles matches in a row and posts a 6-1 record versus league opponents.

The Toreros, who received the top seed at the West Coast Conference Championships for the second year in a row, received a bye for the first round of the tournament beginning this week (April 22-25, 2015) at the Barnes Tennis Center in San Diego, Calif. The squad will prep for their first match in the quarterfinals scheduled for this Thursday, April 23rd, at 12:00 p.m. — PT.

For more information, go to www.usdtoreros.com

Experiencing International Style, Culture

To see more pictures of the 30th Annual ISO Expo and Cultural Fashion show, click here.

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From Inside USD – The University of San Diego’s deep appreciation for international culture is tried and true. Whether it’s the 16th century Spanish Renaissance-inspired architecture, immersion trips beyond the nearby U.S.-Mexico border, opportunities for all students to study abroad, or having international students here on an exchange program or as full-time undergraduate and graduate students, USD takes internationalization seriously.

On Friday night, April 24, USD’s international emphasis will remain serious, but it will be seriously fun, too. From 7-10 p.m. in the Hahn University Center Forums (ABC), USD’s large space will present the campus community with one of most enjoyable evenings of the year — the 30th annual International Expo and Cultural Fashion Show.

“I’m looking forward to seeing the crowd and their enthusiasm toward the event,” says Claudio Trespalacios, a junior double major in business administration and environmental studies from Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico. He’s president of USD’s International Student Organization (ISO), which means on Friday, he’s the event’s master of ceremonies. He’ll also enjoy the free international buffet available to all.

“I’m very excited about all of the food we’re going to have. This is one night where you can eat Italian, Mexican and German food at the same time in the same place. It’s great!”

Many come for the delicious food, but be sure to stay and enjoy a wonderful, energized evening of entertainment courtesy of international music performers and the student fashion show. During the latter, USD students, many representing their home country, take pride in modeling native fashions on the runway.

“It’s my first time to walk in the fashion show so I’m really excited to represent Syria,” says Katherine Saado, a junior international business major who was born and raised in Dubai, but is half Syrian and half Filipino.

Saado said the chance to wear, with pride, Syrian clothing, is extra special given the current state of affairs there.

“These past few years have been huge devastation and whirlwind for my family and I. We have our relatives in Syria who we’ve worried about every day since the war. Syria will get the peace it needs, at least that’s what I’m hoping for. … So, with everything going on in Syria and the bad news we hear every day, it will be nice to celebrate the country on a more light and happy occasion at the Expo. It’s one night where we all celebrate our pride and belonging to our countries and constant hope for the better in our struggling countries.”

Oftentimes, international and American students model by wearing the fashion of a different country from their own. It’s a chance to gain a new perspective and show appreciation for another’s culture in a public setting.

This event annually brings out the best in USD alumnus, Greg Grassi, who earned psychology and Spanish degrees in 1999. These days, Grassi is the associate director for the Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS) and ISO adviser.

“This event shows that internationalization has been on the radar at USD for a long time,” says Grassi, noting the event’s milestone year. “This will be my seventh Expo as ISO adviser and, even in that time, I have so many great memories of the show from dynamic performances to students proudly representing their countries.”

Grassi’s longtime appreciation for the event includes being an annual model participant (pictured, right). He’s represented Afghanistan, Japan and Kuwait in the past.

“I will be modeling for Morocco,” he says. “I’m fulfilling a promise to an exchange student from last year. She recently sent me the clothing from Morocco.”

The inclusive and diverse representation — more than 30 countries will be showcased on stage — is a testament to the international students who attend USD.

Trespalacios said the initial transition from his small town near Mexico City to San Diego and the Southern California lifestyle was a big change, but he’s settled in now: “It takes some time to adjust to the culture, but USD is a very welcoming community and there are incredible resources for international students at the International Office (Serra Hall 315), so the transition is not as bad. It’s also a once-in-a-lifetime experience so I try to get full advantage of all of what USD offers.”

Trespalacios’ ISO presidency is a great leadership opportunity. “One of my favorite experiences has been to serve on the International (Student) Welcome team at orientation. It was a week full of craziness and a lot of work, but helping other international students with this important transition is very satisfying. Plus, you get to meet an incredible amount of people you would never imagine you’d meet.”

Saado adjusted well to USD, too, through her immediate connection to ISO.

“I hadn’t realized how huge the ISO was until I attended all of the events planned out for the freshmen. As a freshman coming from really far away, you definitely come in with all of these concerns and fears of blending in. But ISO is where I met most of my friends and you gain confidence from meeting people from all other organizations on campus. Growing up in a very diversified country like Dubai and having parents from different countries, it brought me to just understanding and appreciating so many other cultures. All of my friends now are just so international. I love it.”

She thoroughly enjoyed a study abroad trip to Paris — “my experience studying abroad was beyond what words can express,” — to complete a French minor requirement.

And like study abroad, Friday provides the entire campus community with a sample of international culture all without leaving campus. One can meet new people, taste different foods, hear new music and see traditional and beautiful fashions.

“It’s a chance to honor our international student population and to show that we value the contributions of our international community,” says Grassi. “Plus,” he adds tongue-in-cheek, “I think students just enjoy seeing what I’ll wear each year.”

Get ready for a fun evening, Toreros — international style!

— Ryan T. Blystone