Sadiqa Basiri Saleem (Mount Holyoke 2009), Co-Founder and CEO of the Oruj Institute of Higher Education and Executive Director at Oruj Learning Center has received numerous accolades for her work on behalf of Afghan Women and girls.
Sadiqa began studying international relations as a Frances Perkins Scholar at Mount Holyoke College through the Initiative in 2005. Shortly before graduating, she was among six women - including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton - honored by the Vital Voices Global Partnership. That same spring, she was awarded the prestigious Samuel Huntington Public Service Award. In 2010, Saleem received the “People’s Voice” Award from the Diller-von Furstenberg Family Foundation and was the Chicago Council on Global Affairs’ Patricia Blunt Koldyke Fellow.
Since graduating, Saleem established the first Afghan community college for women, as well as the Family Welfare Center for the Elimination of Violence against Women, a domestic violence prevention project serving 14,000 Afghan women while also training government staff and encouraging spiritual leaders to discuss women’s issues constructively. Since 2006, she has been serving as a professional development centers manager for the Academy for Educational Development’s Higher Education Project in Afghanistan.
"We're so inspired by people like Sadiqa who have opened these education centers, because it is still a risk for girls to go to school or for teachers to teach."
- Laura Bush, Former First Lady of the United States