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When I first heard Nafula speak about her work, I was struck by the confidence, conviction, and authority of her words. As someone who feels more comfortable expressing herself with a pen and paper than in front of a crowd, I was in awe of her ability to powerfully advocate for gender equality—connecting emotions with data and linking personal experiences with the everyday reality of millions.
The three don’t seem like they met only days before. The way Ayaz, Nafula, and Queen are quick to hug and tease one another, I’d think these young leaders were longtime friends. But, really, they only just found one another when they reached Washington, DC, for the week-long YouthActionNet® Laureate Global Fellows retreat.
Ayaz arrived in the lobby of our DC retreat center with a grin on his face and tired eyes telling of the 28 hours that had passed since he headed to the airport from his home in Sulaimanyah, Iraq. I breathed a sigh of relief.