On November 11th from 4pm to 6pm, I had the opportunity to participate in the discussion of the “Embattled Ideologies: I Am Malala and the Question of Women’s Education in South Asia” at Law Building. This brought four scholars who were Tayyab Zaidi, a doctoral student in Educational Policy Studies at our school, Nancy Kendall, associate professor of Education Policy Studies also at our school, Omar Qureshi, principal of Islamic Foundation School, and finally Sidra Rind, a UW Madison PhD student in the Department of Educational Policy Studies. They presented with their thoughts on women’s education in tribal Pakistan, historical encounter of Islam and modernity, and cultural issues of international aid all based on their experience and knowledge.
Sindra, a student from Balochistan, is the only one with a PhD in her tribe. It was interesting to see an actual student from Pakistan and hear her perspectives on the issue. Her main points was about gender equality in Pakistan’s education and how United Nations need to bring attention more to the importance of women’s education. Omar Qureshi explored more on what Mallala phenomenon meant for United States. He compared this phenomenon with Nabila who lost her grandmother from US military drone strikes. He stated that since Nabila did not physically get injured, she did not cause as much impact as Mallala did. Mallala tried to find justification but Nabilia only questioned and put US in an uncomfortable position. He concluded by claiming that we need to look at this country with enlightenment understanding of religion and violence, being irrational. Overall, it was very interesting to see the four scholars and hear their professional perspectives on one of the international issues that are most discussed today.