Award-winning medical doctor, Alaa Murabit is the 2020-2021 Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for the Advanced Study at Harvard University. She is a global security strategist, women’s rights advocate and United Nations High-Level Commissioner on Health, Employment & Economic Growth and Sustainable Development Goal Global Advocate.
As Alaa joins in a conversation with Abdul-Rehman Malik in Episode 6 of “This Being Human”, let’s explore what she says about her journey.
“Alaa truly embodies the spirit of a ‘Goalkeeper’ – this vital next generation of leaders who are going to ensure we keep making progress on the world’s largest issues,” admires Bill Gates, the Founder of The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
“An accidental activist,” as she calls herself, Dr. Alaa always aspired to help people differently. From her early age, she wanted to be a medical doctor. Growing up in a household with 10 siblings in Saskatoon, she wasn’t planning for the life that was ahead of her. As she reflects on her childhood years, she says: “I think the most pronounced thing growing up was you learn very quickly how to leverage people’s wants and needs….in a very positive way.”
When she was just 15 years old, she left Canada to study medicine in Libya. It was fifth year in med school when the Libyan Revolution broke out. She witnessed Libya changing both culturally and socially. “It was opening a lot more,” she says.
During that period, she founded and spearheaded a group called The Voice of Libyan Women (VLW) about which we heard from her in her 2015 TED Talk: “What My Religion Really Says About Women.” This group had to focus on challenging societal and cultural norms, promoting human rights and gender equality. Noor campaign was one of the programs that were initiated by VLW and became the largest ever campaign in Libya. The campaign heavily challenged misinterpretation of the role of women in religion, combating violence against women.
“…it is in the very foundation of our faith that women are leaders and that women are educators and that women are champions,” says Dr. Alaa.
Listen to the Episode 6 of This Being Human, a podcast inspired by Rumi’s words and motivated by all those who carry that message forward in the world today, here: