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2019 Korea-Michigan Human Rights Research Fellow

Arwa Gayar, BA Public Policy ‘20
Research Topic:
 Anti-Sexual Trafficking Policy Analysis in South Korea

The Donia Human Rights Center Korea-Michigan Human Rights Research Fellowship with the Social Sciences Korea Human Rights Forum in South Korea was an unparalleled experience. The fellowship presented several different avenues to develop my knowledge on the topics I was researching while still being able to meet with stakeholders and complete fieldwork. Going into Public Policy, advocacy is often at the forefront of my work. While I have spent the past years working with various communities around Michigan and around the world, I had had little exposure to Eastern Asia. My time in South Korea offered me invaluable interactions that brought to light what the discourse was in the country on social and political issues all around the world. With my research centering around women as the most vulnerable population to sexual trafficking, I was able to learn so much through the intersection of these women’s genders and nationalities, whether that be as foreigners in South Korea or as citizens. The work with various NGOs to examine South Korea’s latest trafficking policies and its intersectionality with immigrant women in the country allowed for an analysis that amalgamated my learnings in SKKU, past fellowships, and classes at the University of Michigan. The experiences I had during this fellowship taught me so much and gave me nuanced perspectives on issues I deal with every day. The practice of acclimating and adapting my work and research to a new culture and navigate a new country with language barriers was a crucial learning experience that will undoubtedly aid me in my professional career.