I have always been inspired by women, be it the love of a mother or the struggle and accomplishments of women in general. There is no doubt that one thing I would remember of my Sauve year would be meeting a host of inspiring Canadian women. Never in my life had I the opportunity to meet so many inspiring women!
Sally Armtsrong is among the long list of incredible women I have come across so far. She is the woman who brought to the world’s attention the heart wrenching stories of women and girls in the conflict zones across the globe from Somalia and Bosnia to Afghanistan and Rwanda. The unwavering will and determination with which she worked to bring to light the stories of oppressed women earned her numerous awards and honors including the Amnesty International award and the Order of Canada.
We met Sally Armstrong on the 17th of November. She was the speaker for the annual 2011 Jeanne Sauve Address. It was only fitting that Sally Armstrong was the Speaker for the Address that is held to honor Madame Jeanne Sauve, who was another incredible Canadian woman, remembered for her strength and vision.
The address was scheduled in the evening at the l’Ermitage, Collège de Montréal. So much to our delight, we had Sally Armstrong all to ourselves the whole afternoon. It was amazing how well she connected with all the Scholars. The highlight of the day was our lunch with her and the conversations and the laughs we shared round the lunch table.
|Scholars Luncheon with Sally Armstrong|
Charlotte and I had another beautiful moment with Sally Armstrong. As the Sauve Communications Committee team we got an opportunity to interview her. She talked about how she became a passionate advocate for women and girls. She recounted some of her experiences taaking us back to the days she spent in the conflict zones covering stories of women and girls being assaulted, raped and tortured almost every day.
What struck me and touched me deeply was her warm personality and humility. It is one thing to meet highly accomplished people but it’s another thing to meet great people who are so strongly grounded in humility. She is one of the nicest and real people I have interviewed in my six years as a journalist. Her message for the Sauve Scholars who aspire to change the world for better was you can do it, so go for it.
Later in the evening after her address, the Equality Effect (E2), a charitable organization that uses international human rights law in creative ways to transform the lives of women and girls launched its “160 Girls” Project in Kenya. The project is a legal initiative that aims to achieve justice and protect against rape for all girls in Kenya. What an apt moment to launch the project (in the presence of an ardent human rights activist Sally Armstrong)!