By: Melissa Ahrens-Víquez ’18, Nicole Stepovich ’19, Kiana Yazdani ’18, Alba Bayliss ’18
As a philanthropist, politician, humans rights activist, speaker, author, and Architect of Change – Hanna Jaff-Bosdet is a commanding woman dedicating her life to the progression of social justice. Bodset’s activism centers on immigrants and refugees; having founded the Jaff Foundation for Education (http://hannajaff.com/en/organization/) that provides refugee camps and immigrants homes, predominantly in Latin America and the Middle East, with supplies and English learning . Her nonprofit foundation gives quality education to the underprivileged and underrepresented, helping them to establish careers and reach their aspirations. She has also been working on a clothing line, “We are One,” a non-discrimination movement within ready-to-wear items. As Ms. Jaff-Bosdet relates, her product messaging will be the “promotion of tolerance and public awareness, eliminating hatred among people.” Through her active advocacy work, she has shown herself to be an Architect of Change; one who is moving humanity forward by making a significant difference in thousands of lives.
Hanna’s roots in activism stem from the experiences and beliefs of her family, specifically her father. Her father’s family is of the Jaff tribe of Kurdistan and a family known for being politically active. Her family’s Jaff name has served as a source of self motivation, she explains, “To some degree I am following the footsteps of my grandfather and ancestors trying to search the welfare of the people [for unmet needs].” As a young girl, her father stressed to her the importance of education and taught her to prioritize family. He ingrained in her an immense passion for service and charity; which she attributes to his Islamic faith. This faith, coupled with the immigrant and refugee experiences of her family, has inspired Hanna to channel her focus on helping those struggling from oppression, poverty, and discrimination. She recollects, “I was only eight years old when I visited my first refugee camp. Since then, I’ve always known I wanted to help others and be a philanthropist.” Bosdet has followed her family’s emphasis on service, dedicating her time and resources to those who need it most.
As an architect of change, Hanna Jaff-Bosdet has embraced the motto of “Imagining What Can Be.” She has seen the current reality, having focused on helping immigrants because “(She is) a second generation immigrant and refugee. I have family that are both. I’ve worked and lived close to each.” Her unique upbringing at the cross-section of different cultures (her French, Mexican, and Kurd heritages) has helped her develop a deeper appreciation and understanding for others. Aside from broadening her worldview, her culture has also given her a sense of empathy and an opportunity to grasp the diverse viewpoints of those whom she has worked with.
Hanna has advocated for the tolerance and embracing of all backgrounds and has herself been a hands-on example of modeling one’s own philosophies. Through the Jaff Foundation for Education and her “We are One” campaign, Jaff has been active in creating a world of positivity and acceptance. She has looked towards creating new, innovative means of advancing social justice. Simply put, Hanna Jaff-Bosdet is an example for us all to put our beliefs into action and move humanity forward.