Trisha Shetty, founder and CEO of SheSays, a nonprofit that provides Indian women with the resources to act against sexual violence, is among the 12 rising social change-makers from around the world selected as the first class of Obama Foundation Scholars at Columbia University in Manhattan.
The university said in a release June 28 that the scholars from Asia, Africa, South America, South Asia, and Europe, have each shown a commitment to finding practical solutions to complex challenges facing society.
“When President Obama left office, he challenged us to believe — not in his ability to bring about change, but ours,” said Obama Foundation CEO David Simas. “Through our partnership with Columbia with this new scholars’ program and through all of the foundation’s work, we are living this call to action. I am incredibly impressed with the talented young leaders who will be joining Columbia and the Foundation this fall and looking forward to helping support and scale their work,” Simas said.
According to its website, SheSays aims to end gender based discrimination and advance women’s rights in India by engaging with the youth and activating them as agents of social change to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
“Equality, Safety and Autonomy should be a guaranteed right and reality for women around the world,” the organization says. Shetty holds India’s leaders to account as evident from a SheSays post on Facebook post April 15, which read – “”We are asking for accountability. We are asking for answers.” Our Founder, Trisha Shetty vehemently condemns all politicans who have failed the girls and women of this country.”
Portraying an activist grassroots agenda, the Facebook post goes on to say, “We cannot be mere bystanders anymore. We cannot let politicians get away with making abhorrent statements. We deserve more from our representatives. Speak up. Take to the streets. Find out where protests are taking place in your area and lend your voice and your support.”
The new, year-long academic program based at Columbia hopes to strengthen the expertise and knowledge of individuals who have demonstrated the ability to be transformative leaders in their communities, nations, and the world. The goals are consistent with the Obama Foundation’s mission to inspire, empower, and connect the next generation of civic leaders, the University says.
“When President Obama left office, he challenged us to believe — not in his ability to bring about change, but ours. Through our partnership with Columbia with this new Scholars program and through all of the Foundation’s work, we are living this call to action. I am incredibly impressed with the talented young leaders who will be joining Columbia and the Foundation this fall and looking forward to helping support and scale their work,” Obama Foundation CEO David Simas is quoted as saying in the press release.
The 12 Obama Foundation Scholars at Columbia University will have the opportunity to interact with the separate but affiliated Obama Foundation Scholars cohort based at the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago.
The program will include a core seminar led by Columbia faculty that will run the length of the academic year, an experiential learning component that will engage the Scholars in the work of policy development and implementation, involving the Obama Foundation and Columbia World Projects, an initiative designed to apply the best evidence-based academic research to the creation and application of practical solutions to real-world challenges and a non-core seminar coursework that will provide Scholars with the flexibility to select one or two courses at Columbia, according to the press release.