Meet the 2021/2022 MINN Fellows
The MINN Fellowship program seeks to foster diverse viewpoints at the MINN Summit and within the Minnesota International NGO Network (MINN), provide professional enrichment, pursue networking opportunities, build long-lasting relationships between traditionally underrepresented communities and MINN, and elevate voices within MINN and the international development community in Minnesota. Special thanks to our program sponsor, McKnight Foundation for making this program possible.
Meet this year's cohort
Zakariya is a Somali-American, first-year student at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs in the Master of Development Practice Program. He is a Research Assistant at the Center for the Study of Politics and Governance at the Humphrey School and a Council Assistant at the City of St. Paul for Ward 6. He is also the founder of Dhaqan and Debate, a debate-centered civic engagement program for Somali youth. Zakariya is passionate about Education Development and using it as a tool in post-conflict reconstruction.
Ann holds a Master degree in Social Work from the University of Minnesota and a BFA in theatrical arts from Rutgers University. She has extensive personal and professional experience globally. As part of her Masters program, Ann completed a three month internship in Namibia, Africa at an all-girls special needs school for vulnerable children. Working in collaboration with social workers from the University of Namibia, Ann developed a holistic intervention program for the students with the goals of healing the negative effects of past traumas. Additionally, Ann participated in a fellowship in Cameroon, Africa, working with a local youth social service organization in developing solutions around issues related to hygiene and communicable infections. Ann spent 10 years living and working in Vietnam as part of the training department of Oxford University Clinical Research Unit (OUCRU), orchestrating ESL training courses and curriculum at local public hospitals throughout the city. Moreover, Ann was actively involved in the community outreach division of the training department at OUCRU, organizing educational theater productions in local schools on essential health related issues within the community. Ann has served in child welfare for the past six years. Currently, Ann works at Dakota County Social Services in Children's Mental Health. In her free time, Ann enjoys yoga and mediation and spending time in nature.
Selam is originally from Asmara, Eritrea but has been living in Maryland since 2004. In 2018, she received a B.A. in Global Studies with a minor in Africana Studies and a certificate in Spanish from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. During her Junior year of college, she studied abroad in San Ramón, Costa Rica, taking global health and environmental science courses. After graduating, she worked in nonprofit direct mail fundraising in Washington, DC, with a client portfolio including Heifer International and Doctors Without Borders, amongst other domestic nonprofit organizations. She is currently a student pursuing a Master's Degree in Development Practice with the hope of being based in East Africa working with refugees and displaced communities.
Asia is a Seattle native and first-year Master's of Development Practice student at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs. In undergrad, Asia had the opportunity to study abroad in South Korea, Italy, and the Philippines, which ignited her passion for international development. As a first-generation American and proud daughter of Somali and Oromo refugees, Asia’s lived experiences have influenced her commitment to serving communities historically at the margins. With this in mind, Asia seeks to advocate for vulnerable immigrant and refugee communities in the United States and abroad, including her own Somali and Oromo communities. Asia hopes to use her MDP degree as a means of achieving social transformation and improve the lives of refugees by reducing the harms left by war, conflict, and disaster. Her interests are in human rights, law, forced migration, immigrant rights, community-based research, community-driven development, education, and advocacy.
Hannah grew up in Hilo, Hawai'i and earned an interdisciplinary B.A. in Health Science at the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa. She provided English as a Foreign Language services for five years in Quito, Ecuador, first teaching classes and later coordinating academic activities, and then supported undergraduate international students' admissions at the University of Maine for two years. Currently a second-year Master’s of Development Practice student at the UMN Humphrey School of Public Affairs, she believes the future of international development should be community-led, community-directed, and sustainable. She is also passionate about how human rights and policy can help development work towards more equitable practices, especially for women, LGBTQIA+ people, and other groups of people who have been marginalized.
Elizabeth is deeply invested in developing solutions to the conditions that lead to creating inequities in society. She has worked to advocate for the development and implementation of effective policies, strategies, and the creation of programs that empower and elevate the voices of those most impacted by disparities and that explicitly address reducing systemic barriers in access to resources and opportunities for underrepresented and underserved populations. Most recently, she was a policy and communications assistant at the Children’s Defense Fund of Minnesota, an executive assistant to the President of Headwaters Foundation for Justice, and a legislative assistant to Senator Pappas (65, DFL). Elizabeth was named an Emerging City Champion by 8 80 Cities (2018), a Women's Foundation of Minnesota Innovator (2018, 2019), and a UN Women Gender Youth Activist (2020). She also served as the U.S. delegate to the Youth 20 (Y20) and Girls 20 Summit in Argentina, for the first-ever G20 Summit held in South America.
Bassel El Mrawed
Bassel is a Fulbright Scholar and attends the Humphrey School of Public Affairs. He is passionate about advancing human rights and equality for marginalized communities. Bassel’s academic and professional experience are cosmopolitan, having lived in Venezuela, Lebanon, Denmark, and Germany. He now resides in the Twin Cities where he focuses his scholarly and professional research on community development and NGO management within minority groups. He has worked with organizations like Amnesty International and Human Rights Campaign on various thematic projects including refugee and migrant rights, LGBTQ+ rights, and freedom of assembly and speech. His current research project that focuses on studying protection networks for human rights defenders is a collaboration between the United Nations and the University of Minnesota and will be presented at the UN Headquarters in Geneva. Using inspiration and enthusiasm, Bassel aspires to open an NGO that serves Lebanese minorities in promoting human rights.
Christine holds a Bachelor of Science in Family Social Science from the University of Minnesota- Twin Cities and became increasingly passionate about social justice after completing a semester and internship with Higher Education Consortium of Urban Affairs (HECUA). She currently works in pediatric mental health where her network brought her to KOPI, a nonprofit working at the intersection of mental health and emergency medicine. This has allowed her the opportunity to facilitate teachings in Arusha, Tanzania and advocate for mental health and addiction recovery resources in the Midwest. Christine looks forward to fostering community and learning from change-makers in Minnesota that are seasoned in nonprofit work and international initiatives before she begins school for nursing this winter.
Any questions about the MINN Fellowship should be directed to [email protected].