May 15, 2014

NYU Wagner Student Focuses Attention on Persistence of FGM Around the World

The British newspaper The Guardian this week features Aissata M.B. Camara, an MPA student at NYU Wagner specializing in International Public & Nonprofit Management, in a news video about the persistence of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in many countries around the world.

Aissata, who will be joining in Wagner’s 2014 Convocation at the City Center on May 22, is co-founder, with her sister, Mariama, of There Is No Limit Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to fighting FGM  along with gender inequality, poverty, and diseases in the poorest countries of the world.

Aissata, 25, lived the first half of her life in the Republic of Guinea and the second half (and counting!) in New York City. The Guardian discovered her and her organization through her activism on the FGM issue, including a powerful March, 2014, talk she delivered before African first ladies, foreign diplomats, and advocates at the 57th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women.

She continues to meet with international aid leaders and government officials, while gathering signatures for a petition to encourage action by the Obama administration. Her organization is also working with Members of Congress on legislation to deter the continuing use of the procedure. Upon graduating, she plans to continue running her organization and speaking out for change.

Although The Guardian piece (part of a series) deals with a highly sensitive topic, Aissata's candor, knowledge, and great courageousness has evoked words of support from family members, friends, and many others in the Wagner and larger NYU community. One Wagner student sent her “a beautiful note,” she said, and it was all the more moving because the letter writer was someone she didn't know well.

“Overall, I’ve received many encouraging letters from people who are saying, ‘We’re going to stand up, we’re going to make this (FGM) end,’ ” Aissata said. “And that’s been so gratifying to me.”

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