Lidya Mesgna, a 2017 Boston College graduate from Silver Spring, Md., has won a Humanity in Action Fellowship that will enable her to build on her interest in issues of inclusivity and tolerance.
A New York City-based international education organization, Humanity in Action sponsors programs for college students and recent graduates from around the world to explore examples of resistance to intolerance, with a goal of encouraging the participants to become engaged citizens and responsible decision-makers. The programs feature lectures and discussions with renowned academics, journalists, politicians and activists, as well as site visits to government agencies, non-profit and community organizations, museums and memorials.
As a Humanity in Action Fellow, Mesgna will study minority rights in a German historical context and produce research on how and why individual and societies have resisted intolerance and protected democratic values.
Mesgna, who majored in International Studies with a political science concentration and minored in economics, was among 54 U.S. fellowship winners from a competitive pool of 510 applicants.
Interviewed shortly before leaving for her month-long Humanity in Action program in Berlin, Mesgna described her senior-year experience as director of policy for the BC AHANA Leadership Council as integral to her seeking the fellowship.
“Reading the program descriptions made me realize that this kind of work – creating a more inclusive and welcoming environment for all students by advocating on behalf of students of color – is something I am interested in pursuing, not only potentially on a national level but on an international level as well.”
Building friendships and networks through the program, she added, will aid an envisioned career path in human rights work that focuses on immigrants and refugees.
“I hope to learn, unlearn, and gain new perspectives on the treatment of minorities through this incredible opportunity to interact with very accomplished peers and speakers in such a collaborative environment.”