Shaaliny Jaufar has left her home in the Maldives to study for her PhD at the University of Waikato.
She’s a woman with a social conscience and has been awarded the Dr Zena Daysh Fellowship in Sustainable Development from the university to research what factors and experiences inspire young people to become active citizens.
Dr Daysh was the founder of the Commonwealth Human Ecology Council and Foundation who made a bequest to the university from her estate for the Fellowship. She was a life-long advocate of the interdisciplinary approach to social, political, health, and environmental issues embodied in the field of sustainability; the term she used was human ecology.
Shaaliny’s focus is to demonstrate what it means to enact “sustainable citizenship” in the face of climate change. Sustainable citizenship is a concept that two of her supervisors, Professors Priya Kurian and Debashish Munshi, have developed, and she is planning to apply it in her doctoral research. She’ll be based in the Political Science and Public Policy programme of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences during her time in New Zealand.
“There is this view that democracy is in crisis and that young people are not interested or engaged in political issues but I don’t believe that,” Shaaliny says. “I think young people are very much invested, and engaged in new and different ways for social and environmental activism. It is my aim to find out what fosters active young citizens.”
Shaaliny has previously been actively involved in the area of gender and community development in the Maldives, where she also worked for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Her main tasks were to build capacities of young people and women for leadership and to help create opportunities and spaces for them to voice their views to policy makers. She hope to use her research findings to help communities achieve the kind of development that is relevant to their needs, improves their situation and is also sustainable in a holistic sense.
Her Fellowship covers her tuition fees and a living allowance and her fieldwork will be done in the Maldives and in New Zealand.