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Kamra Sadia Hakim is up for the challenge. She is up for the challenge of thinking globally, committing her life to service and being an agent of change.
The Arizona State University alum has been passionate about global studies from day one. When looking at a list of ASU majors, it was the one that resonated with her heart the most. At the time she didn’t know where it would take her or what type of profession she would be in, but she knew that she wanted to improve the world and travel.
“I chose it because it chose me, all the same,” Hakim said.
Now, thanks to her passion for foreign service, the Arizona State University alumna was recently awarded the 2016 Thomas R. Pickering Fellowship from The Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars.
The fellowship program provides students with financial support, mentoring and professional development to prepare them academically and professionally .
“Foreign Service isn’t just my career path of choice. It’s my truth," Hakim said. "I am devoted to doing good for everything around me."
During her time at ASU, Kamra was having a difficult time in finding funding to pay for her tuition, but being faced with challenges helped Hakim grow the most. In scouring the internet for opportunities, she came across The ONE Campaign, an organization that takes action to end extreme poverty and preventable disease across the world but particularly in Africa.
This opportunity wouldn’t provide Kamra with the necessary funds to pay off her schooling but she believed so deeply in the cause she had to apply.
She got her chance to be an Advocate for ONE, and would participate in South Africa and Zambia. On her travels, she had the chance to meet women from the Chikumbuso project. This project gave African mothers the opportunity to sell woven baskets and handmade trinkets so that they could support welfare and education to their children.
The women greeted Hakim and her fellow advocates off of the bus with a beautiful song. The song was to thank them supporting PEPFAR and other programs that made it possible for them to receive their anti-retroviral medication.
“This moment touched my heart, and it was then that I knew I wanted to dedicate my life to Foreign Service," she said. "I shared this experience with the president of my university, Dr. Crow, and he was so compelled by my work abroad as an undergraduate student, that he provided me with the funding that I needed in order to finish college.”
As one of 20 chosen out of over 600 Pickering Fellowship candidates, Hakim is scheduled to begin her first tour abroad in fall 2018, after she completes her master’s program and internships.
“I am interested in a contemporary kind of diplomacy; a diplomacy that calls for shifting boundaries when necessary and welcomes innovation; where posterity, democracy and security are our foreign policy priorities," she said. "The Pickering Fellowship will provide me with the flexibility in the way that I activate myself in this kind of diplomacy.”