Miss Aliya Khalid (2015)
My hometown, Peshawar, Pakistan, once known as 'The City of Flowers' has lost its distinguishing character of hospitality and patience as extremism and intolerance have spilled over across the borders. A girl here has no identity. She is supposed to be voiceless and faceless. This mindset ensures there are fewer opportunities for education and employment for them. Being from an enlightened family I was able to work my way up the education ladder to The Institute of Management Sciences where I graduated with a Master’s in Public Administration with top honors and a gold medal. I have extensive experience volunteering in the social and development sectors. I have worked with women bound in court cases, female convicts in jails, conflict victims, internally displaced persons, youth leadership development, managing an education system and being part of the Institute for Policy Reforms, a Pakistani think tank. My region suffers from orthodoxy which affects the lives of women and minorities. States, in addition to focusing on traditional national security measures, must look at human security aspects of the population and ensure their rights. Unfortunately, the ‘right to education’ for women remains unaddressed. In a country with half of its child population out of school, almost two-thirds is comprised of girls. I aspire to research issues that impact access and learning outcome in female population of Pakistan. The prestigious Gates Cambridge scholarship has provided me with an opportunity to pursue a PhD in Education at the University of Cambridge.