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)