Fab Female Friday: Rana Abdelhamid, Master of the Karate Kick!

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Fab Female Friday

A senior at Middlebury College majoring in International Politics and Economics, Rana Abdelhamid is not your average college student. A Truman Scholar and Pickering Fellow, Rana was recently honored at the 2014 Global Leadership Dinner hosted by the United Nations Foundation and the United Nations Association of the USA. Rana received the Leo Nevas Youth Advocate for Human Rights Award for her commitment to human rights and her willingness to spread awareness on important issues facing women around the world.

At 17 years old, Rana began to explore mechanisms that would help empower women, culminating in the creation of the Women’s Initiative for Self Empowerment (WISE), an initiative that uses self-defense, dialogue, and leadership training to empower young women. A black belt in karate born to Egyptian parents, Rana recognized the importance of women being able to defend herself as a crucial step to female empowerment, especially in the Arab world. Since WISE was created, Rana has taught self-defense classes in numerous countries, including New York, Mexico and the Dominican Republic.

Rana’s initiative continues to grow and develop, engaging hundreds of young Muslim women through its mentorship program and summer fellowships. As more chapters of WISE are established, Rana has given women across the country an outlet to become safer and stronger.

Abdelhamid recently said, “Whether it’s through involvement with the UNA-USA or with a local community organization, our time to make change, as youth, is right now and we have so many tools to do so.”  She has lived by these words and blazed a trail for youth everywhere, especially girls, to stand up in their communities and fight for what they want!