Nora Abedelal’s advice for people looking for meaningful ways to be involved?
“Find different ways to channel what they are passionate about,” said the fourth-year student who is double majoring in socio-cultural anthropology and Middle East/South Asia studies.
And now is as good a time as any to get involved. “I think the university is a safe … time of learning, a time of growth, and this is one of the best times to (become) aware of different issues happening on a global scale.”
When she arrived at UC Davis four years ago, Abedelal said she was lucky she “found a couple of people who were passionate about the same things as I am — social justice.”
This passion has translated to a wide breadth of involvement on campus, including as a past member of ASUCD’s Ethnic and Cultural Affairs committee, part of Chancellor Gary May’s undergraduate advisory board and as an advocate for the Muslim Students Association.
Abedelal also is a campus climate coordinator in the Cross Cultural Center, and co-founder of their Coalition on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, a five-week program for students interested in leadership for social justice.
Among the ways she works to help others, “Palestinian advocacy is most important to me,” she explained. She is writing her anthropology honors thesis on how media images influence perceptions of Palestinians and impact youth activists.
When asked about her Aggie Hero nominators comment that she has a “heart for service and commitment to social justice values,” Abedelal said, “I think for me, it’s more understanding how we can recognize the social issues that happen in our regular, everyday lives. The we work we do on ourselves (is necessary) before we can ever claim to advise others.”
She also pointed to “small events” being particularly effective in helping answer questions like “what does it mean to be in a community?”
Plus, Abedelal added, “Bringing people together over food is always a good way.”