Costa Mesa, CA, September 21, 2015 – Iris Aliaj is currently in Costa Mesa on the U.S. State Department’s Community Solutions Program. For four-months Aliaj, an emerging international leader on women issues is working with American counterparts at Vanguard University, collaborating on projects that will provide skills and ideas for creating lasting change in her home community.
During her fellowship, Aliaj will work closely with NGO’s, public and private institutions, the Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force, and justice officials. The focus of her work will result in the organization of a SUMMIT in Tirana, Albania, which will focus on combating human trafficking in the country.
A human rights lawyer at the Center for Legal Civic Initiatives (NGO) in Albania, Aliaj works daily to increase the access of poor and domestically abused women in the justice system. Since 2008, she has been providing free legal services to victims of domestic violence, up to 15 a day. Aliaj was part of a team that prosecuted the first case on human trafficking in Albania, winning compensation for the victim. She has been involved in improving legislation and lobbying for draft-laws and State policies protecting human rights, focusing on gender equality, discrimination, domestic violence and human trafficking and corruption – making the justice system more effective in Albania.
Started in 2010, the Community Solutions Program is a professional development program for global community leaders working in the fields of transparency and accountability, tolerance and conflict resolution, environmental issues, and women and gender issues. During their fellowships, the emerging leaders spend up to 400 hours learning leadership and organizational skills through training courses and more than 600 hours at their U.S. host organizations. The fellows also design community development projects that they implement upon returning to their home countries.
The State Department partners with IREX to identify and place engaged leaders who are committed to the ideal that individual efforts can fight poverty and discrimination, correct inequalities, cultivate peace, and develop new approaches to environmental issues.
“I am eager to host Ms. Aliaj as this year’s fellow because I was living in Greece when the borders opened, and saw hundreds of Albanian young people trafficked into Greece. Ms. Aliaj has worked on the first human trafficking case in Albania. We know her experience here will expand her abilities and resources to help hundreds more,” said Dr. Sandra Morgan, director for the global center for women and justice.
To learn more about The Global Center for Women and Justice at Vanguard University, visit www.vanguard.edu/gcwj.
ABOUT VANGUARD UNIVERSITY
Vanguard University (VU) is a regionally ranked, private, Christian university of liberal arts and professional studies. Located ten minutes from Newport Beach and an hour from Los Angeles, Vanguard equips students for a Spirit-empowered life of Christ-centered leadership and service. Vanguard is committed to academic excellence, boasting small class sizes that are designed to cultivate lasting professor-mentor relationships that enhance the learning process. The 2016 U.S. News & World Report ranked Vanguard #13 in the Regional Colleges (West) category, #10 for Best Colleges for Veterans, and #19 for economic diversity. The Princeton Review ranked Vanguard a 2016 “Best in the West” regional college. Accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission, Vanguard offers more than 30 degrees and certificates through its undergraduate, graduate, and professional studies programs. Please visit www.vanguard.edu
ABOUT THE GLOBAL CENTER FOR WOMEN AND JUSTICE
The Global Center for Women & Justice at Vanguard University is a faith-based organization that exists to advance the global status of women through research, education, advocacy, collaboration and hope. The Global Center for Women & Justice promotes gender reconciliation and the inherent dignity of all persons. For more, visit www.vanguard.edu/gcwj.
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