On the 28th of September, the Delta Gamma Alpha Iota Chapter at the University of Oklahoma hosted Shiza Shahid for lectureship. Lectureship is a program which only 19 of the Delta Gamma national chapters are able to host every other year, and Alpha Iota’s goal is to educate students about the importance of leadership and involvement.
Shiza Shahid is an entrepreneur and social activist who is the founder and CEO of the Malala fund. Shiza Shahid now has dedicated her life into building an organization that will advocate women’s rights and education.
Shiza Shahid began by thanking the women of Delta Gamma for having her at lectureship and told the audience that living “a life that is meaningful, and impactful is cool.” She continued her statement by saying that in order to do that “you must interact with people, and reimagine the life that you are living.” I was intrigued by this statement, because not only was she trying to relate to the youth that she was speaking to, but she was also giving profound life advice that she took and taught her all that she knows.
Shiza Shahid continued by giving the audience a brief background of her life. Shiza Shahid was born in a small rural city in Pakistan, where she was raised by her father and mother. She told the audience that her parents were very supportive and empowering to her life. Shahid also spoke about how she received a relatively good education but there were many social challenges that she had to face. Shahid spent her teenage years volunteering for nonprofits, and from a young age her mission was to “create a world less divided and more united.” After graduating high school, she received a full scholarship to Stanford University where she studied for four years. When she found out that Malala had been shot, she said that “there are points in your life where you have to choose who you are.” This really stuck within her, and she flew back to Pakistan to be with Malala and her family. She gave the audience a brief story about how she started the Malala fund, but wanted to get deeper into it through the question and answer part of lectureship.
Someone asked Shiza, “what is your mission for the Malala Fund in the next ten years?” Shiza responded by stating that she hopes that the fund becomes a catalyst for education and grows exponentially. Another question that was asked to her was about the education in Oklahoma. Shiza’s answer was intriguing, she said that public education is driven by politicians and that we have to participate in politics in order to receive change. Although it is scary, we cannot sit around and wait for change to happen but we must act and get involved.
Although there were many more questions, those two were the ones that stuck with me the most throughout lectureship. Undoubtably, Shiza Shahid opened up my perspective on an issue that I thought had no affect on my life. I want to continue the kindness and empowerment she brought to the University of Oklahoma, and I want to help in any way that I can.
At the University of Oklahoma I am a Delta Gamma, and this by far the coolest and proudest thing I could ever be a part of. I am thankful to be surrounded by a group of women who empower each other in being the best person they could be.