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STEM delegation of the International Visitor Leadership Program that visited UCLA last fall. (Photo: Christelle Snow/ UCLA.)

A visit to UCLA by 48 STEM professionals highlighted the achievements of women from around the world — the focus of International Women's Day.

UCLA International Institute, March 1, 2018 — At UCLA, every day is international women’s day. Not only is the Vice Provost for International Studies and Global Engagement a woman (Cindy Fan), so is the head of the UCLA International Visitors Bureau (Gohar Grigorian), not to mention the majority of Institute staff. Both Fan and Grigorian are directly engaged in welcoming international visitors to UCLA and facilitating meetings with their peers in disciplines across campus.

Many international visitors to UCLA are women, but it’s rare that a group of 48 professional women in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Medicine) fields visit our campus at the same time. That’s precisely what happened in late October 2017, when a U.S. State Department-funded delegation came to UCLA. Each woman represented a different country, among them, Argentina, Australia, Cameroon, Indonesia, Mongolia, Ecuador, Uzbekistan, Sri Lanka, Egypt, Chile and Peru. 

Dubbed “Hidden No More” in honor of the Oscar- and Golden Globes-nominated film, “Hidden Figures” (2016), the nationwide tour of U.S. institutions of higher education by female STEM experts was the brainchild of the International Visitor Leadership Program of the Department of State. That tour has now been memorialized in a recent State Department video, in which UCLA features prominently.

Whereas the State Department finalized the universities that hosted the delegation, the detailed work of the UCLA site visit fell to Gohar Grigorian. And what an impressive organizational feat it was, with scientists and engineers broken into different groups that pursued separate agendas on campus.

Delegation members met many female administrators and faculty from diverse UCLA departments, research centers and publications, with several large meetings hosted simultaneously at the Teraski Life Sciences Building, the department of chemistry and biochemistry and UCLA Center X.

In addition to representatives of these units, meetings included UCLA representatives of  the California Nanosystems Institute; UCLA Center for Educational Innovation in the Life Sciences; Competency-Based Research Laboratory Curriculum Project; department of microbiology, immunology and molecular genetics; Undergraduate Research Center – Sciences; Institute of the Environment and Sustainability; the UCLA feminist news magazine, fEM; UCLA chapter of the Society of Women Engineers; and UCLA Organization for Cultural Diversity in the Sciences.

Gearing up to celebrate International Women’s Day 2018

In keeping with the “Hidden No More” theme, Vice Provost Fan and Associate Vice Provost Gail Kligman – another woman – are organizing an event in honor of International Women’s Day 2018. “Transcending Borders: A Celebration of Women Who Move” will feature UCLA School of Law faculty member E. Tendayi Achiume, whose research focuses on international migration and discrimination.

The March 15th lecture by Achiume — who is currently UN special rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related tolerance — will be held from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. in the UCLA Faculty Center, Sequoia Room, followed by a reception. All UCLA faculty, staff and students are welcome. Space is be limited, so please RSVP before March 5.

A double alumna of Yale University (B.A. and J.D.), Achiume was born in Zambia and has clerked for Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke and Justice Yvonne Mokgoro of the Constitutional Court of South Africa. As part of a Bernstein International Human Rights Fellowship, she worked for the Refugee and Migrant Rights Project unit at Lawyers for Human Rights in Johannesburg. She has also taught at the International Human Rights Exchange Programme of the University of the Witswatersrand and worked in the New York office of Sullivan & Cromwell LLP.

Named UN special rapporteur in September 2017, Achiume said, “In a world with so much mobility … it’s really important to be having this kind of holistic approach to thinking about problems of racial discrimination.

“I hope that (the appointment) means that one day soon we won’t need to remark on the fact that there’s a woman in this position,” she said. “It’ll just happen.”

Please join us for what promises to be a fascinating presentation and lively discussion!