AAUW International Perspectives on Women in Society luncheon to be held Jan. 23

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — A pair of Humphrey Fellows who specialize in social work training and women’s empowerment/social policy, respectively, will be the featured panelists at the annual luncheon of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) on Jan. 23.

Shumaila Memon Credit: Penn StateCreative Commons

Guest speakers are Cerita Buchanan, head of the Social Work Training and Research Centre at the University of West Indies in Kingston, Jamaica, and Shumaila Memon, associate professor at the English Language Development Centre of Mehran University of Engineering and Technology in Jamshoro, Pakistan.

Buchanan and Memon are two of 13 Humphrey Fellows at Penn State as part of the College of Education’s Humphrey Fellowship Program, a one-year, non-degree program of combined academic and professional development opportunities for mid-career professionals from designated countries of Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean and the Middle East.

The AAUW’s International Perspectives on Women in Society luncheon is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Penn State Room in the Nittany Lion Inn on campus. The fee is $22 and reservations must be made by Jan. 15 by contacting Christine Bishop at 814-441-3571 or Checks can be made payable to AAUW State College and mailed to Christine Bishop, 205 First Ave., State College, PA 16801. Checks will be accepted at the luncheon but reservations should be made by Jan. 15.

Buchanan said her time at Penn State thus far has been “a very rewarding” relationship and experience.

“We are building great multinational partnerships for global development agendas and the U.S. is a key ally,” she said.

Buchanan said she has taken a feminist methodology course and attended numerous seminars and workshops in the area. She also is affiliated with women’s studies and said she will explore spring semester courses on global feminism, work and labor relations, and international education and university administration.

She wants to take a wide-ranging background of information home to Jamaica, where she provides academic leadership in social work, youth work and social development research as well as education and project outreach.

“I have responsibility to development research and grant projects and seek funding to conduct research that will promote social and economic development in Jamaica and the Caribbean,” Buchanan said. “And to develop training curriculum in social work, community development, youth work studies and other social development areas to meet the needs of government and non-government institutions and individuals.

“I also play a key role in providing guidance to the Jamaica Association of Social Workers on matters of professionalization and networking, and I currently sit on the social work professional standards committee at the University Council of Jamaica,” she said.

Much of Buchanan’s responsibility has her providing leadership on a larger scale through representation on university and other public and private sector boards and committees where she contributes to higher education and social work, and youth work training and practice.

She said her major work-related challenges are finding grants for training and outreach activities and also engaging the private sector more in meaningful social responsibility projects.

“I am very confident that I will be able to take the necessary steps to leverage networks and strengthen my department for the greater good of the students, other clients, and generally the Caribbean people,” Buchanan said.

Humphrey leadership seminars in which Memon has participated have been invaluable because her Humphrey Fellows colleagues have experienced leadership roles in a wide variety of cultures.

“It is quite interesting to see that despite the cultural, geographical and religious differences, there is a universal model of leadership which is respected and admired in all parts of the world,” Memon said. “This realization fascinates me a lot.”

Memon’s academic interests are women’s empowerment, applied linguistics and social policy. She said she is auditing a course at Penn State that explores societal challenges facing girls today, such as identity formation, eating disorders, media representation and self-esteem.

“The contents of this course will enable me to have deeper insights in these issues and I shall be able to devise solutions to solve these issues,” Memon said. “Above all, as a teacher I believe this course will sensitize me about what issues today’s girls are going through and I will be able to understand them much better.”

She also has attended women-related workshops at Penn State and took part in Women Leadership training from the American Management Association in Chicago.

“I am amazed to see how every other university and institution has their own women leadership forum,” she said. “These forums actively talk about women’s issues and train women professionally. This is definitely new for me and something I would like to replicate in Pakistan.”

Memon said her message to AAUW attendees will be that women have to take responsibility to help men become sons, brothers, male friends and husbands who understand and work for women’s empowerment and causes.

Last Updated January 22, 2020