Sarah Kamal earned a Bachelor's of Mathematics from the University of Waterloo then worked on social development practice, policy, and research in Canada, Nicaragua, Uganda, India, and Iran. Her interests turned towards media systems after a trip into Taliban-controlled Afghanistan in 2001. She began conducting independent research and volunteer work with local groups, including helping launch a women's radio station in western Afghanistan. She coordinated participatory team research on Afghan refugee youth in Iran for the Oxford Refugee Studies Centre, promoted gender equality in Afghan media for UNIFEM, and set up a CIDA-funded Family Law reform project for Rights and Democracy. She edited the National Action Plan for the Women of Afghanistan, a 10-year policy platform for the Afghan Ministry of Women's Affairs to improve the status of Afghan women that was approved by the Afghan cabinet in 2008. Upon returning to Canada, she taught Emergency Response and Community Resilience at Royal Roads University, worked on the editorial team of Haznet, the Magazine of the Canadian Risks and Hazards Network, and became treasurer of an organic food-to-table cooperative. Sarah holds an MSc in Comparative Media Studies from MIT, and has written for Oxford Analytica, the UN Chronicle, and Oxfam's Gender and Development journal. She now writes expert reports for asylum cases part-time and volunteers in her community as a Red Cross First Aid instructor and Scouts leader.
Experience as a Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Scholar
Being a Scholar has multiplied my PhD experience manifold. As my research training led me to focus on narrower and narrower detail, the Foundation Community widened and enriched my view, and reminded me why it mattered. After years of working and studying in other countries, the Scholarship brought me back for a thorough grounding in the forms and challenges of globally relevant concerns in a Canadian context, thanks to insightful Foundation events held across the country. It has been a privilege to interact with a peer group of Scholars with such superb ability and commitment, to exchange ideas with world class intellectuals in the height of their careers via the Fellowship Program, and to benefit from the learned wisdom of extraordinary public figures acting as Mentors. I cherish the meaningful learning opportunities I had with great thinkers working on a wide range of issues. But even more, I treasure the memory of all too brief but energizing informal encounters with people whose intellects and integrity I admire. My deep thanks – I am sure I have not said it enough – to the remarkable staff, board, members, and committees at the Foundation for making it all happen.