Master of Arts ’16
International Economics and International Law and Organizations
In the Spring of 2015, following race-related riots in Baltimore and Ferguson, the shooting of Muslim students near UNC-Chapel Hill, and the Black Lives Matter movement, Sheimaliz felt the need for a safe and open environment within the Johns Hopkins SAIS community, where students could express and address issues related to race relations in the US During this time, Sheimaliz and her classmates addressed the incidents by participating in classroom walkouts and protests, but there was no real place on campus to fully discuss the issues related to the events, and to share perspectives and experiences with one another. This resulted in her co-founding the SAIS Diversity Council (SDC) – a student-run organization, in which she is President, whose core mission is to advance diversity and inclusion initiatives at Johns Hopkins SAIS, across its three campuses.
Over the past year, SDC has hosted discussions on topics, including political correctness, freedom of expression and symbolism, using the context of the Confederate Flag, women in the workplace, and inequalities in and financing of higher education, as well as live streams of JHU’s Race in America Series. Additionally, SDC has developed and executed a student body survey for students to share their perceptions and experiences with diversity and inclusion at Johns Hopkins SAIS and co-hosted Safe Zone Training for students, faculty, and staff with SAIS Pride. In the upcoming weeks, SDC will also be hosting two major events for Black History Month: “Celebrating Pioneers in Foreign Policy” and a talk with Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Mormon Church on “The Free Exercise of Religion in Our Time”.
Sheimaliz said she is very excited about all of the events since every speaker, panel, discussion, and topic was chosen to provide the Johns Hopkins SAIS community and students with opportunities to meet and to learn from esteemed activists, academics, revolutionaries, and pioneers of our time and to celebrate the diversity in international affairs.
After graduating this spring, Sheimaliz is looking forward to joining the US Department of State as a Foreign Service Officer.