Women at the Heart of the Tsunami Recovery
Rescued Scholar Shares Truth
NEW YORK, March 11—Suraiya Kamaruzzaman, founder of Flower Aceh, the first human rights organization in Aceh, Indonesia to focus on women’s rights, and a scholar rescued by the IIE Scholar Rescue Fund, was honored in New York last week at a reception hosted by IIE trustee and co-founder of the Scholar Rescue Fund, Tom Russo, at Lehman Brothers.
Ms. Kamaruzzaman was in New York as a guest of the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) to attend the 49th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women. Before an audience of IIE friends and trustees, Ms. Kamaruzzaman shared her talk entitled “From Vulnerability to Empowerment: Women at the Heart of Tsunami Recovery,” in which she presented preliminary data indicating that the tsunami had a grossly disproportionate impact on women in Aceh.
A former lecturer at Syiah Kuala University, Ms. Kamaruzzaman is currently a full-time research fellow at the University of Hong Kong’s Southeast Asia Research Centre with support from IIE's Scholar Rescue Fund. Despite security concerns, Ms. Kamaruzzaman returned to Aceh to help friends and relatives after the tsunami. Herself having lost family and friends in the disaster, Ms. Kamaruzzaman spoke with grace and humility about the devastating losses and trauma affecting all survivors throughout the region.