Pakistani Christian rights activist Rubina Feroze Bhatti received the N-Peace Award on October 23, 2015.
According to details, she received the N- Peace award from UNDP Administrator and the former Prime Minister of New Zealand, Helen Clarkfor. She was awarded for her effectual campaign for equal democratic rights for religious minorities and women in Pakistan who get victimized of the gender-based violence much prevalent in the country.
She received a Master’s Degree in Chemistry from Bahauddin Zakariya University (BZU). Moreover, she earned another Master’s degree in developmental studies from Ireland. She was awarded with “Student of the Year” for her outstanding educational record in her university in Ireland. Afterwards, she pursued a PhD in Leadership Studies at the University of San Diego, in United States.
Rubina Feroze was nominated for the Noble Peace Prize in 2005 as part of the 1,000 Women for Peace project. Later in 2009, she was picked up as a Woman PeaceMaker at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice. In 2010, she received the World Vision International Peacemaking Award.
In 2011, she grabbed Woman of Courage Award, along with Nancy Pelosi- Former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. In 2013, she was given the MMMF scholarship award at the World Bank Headquarters in Washington DC. In 2014, she was selected as one of the 14 Harvey Fellows. This year, she has been bestowed with 2015 N-Peace Award from UNDP.
“My birth had been a great disappointment for my grandmother because I was not a grandson. Of course, my grandmother was not a villain; she was merely a product of the feudalism and patriarchy that surrounded her. However, my father was not like most Pakistani men. He was a progressive, open-minded man, a dreaming storyteller, and a mathematician who would later revel in teaching us our numbers.
Likewise, my mother always stood proud and firm that her daughter would not grow up believing she was inferior as a second girl. She named me “Ruby” (precious one), and I was always her most precious. My parents saw their daughter determined to be a leader in a culture that did not like its women to walk alone, much less lead the way. Since, my parents were both teachers, they placed a high value on education. My two sisters and I got the same educational opportunities as my only brother.”
“Despite all this support at home, even as a child I recognized myself as being somehow different from the dominant culture, and I considered and observed Muslim children as superior,” she said.
“I am not sure if this experience made me an activist or a voice for the voiceless. What I know is that a desire for my identity as a Pakistani, an equal citizen led me down a stony path of everyday trials, and subsequently in the later years of my life I decided to work for downtrodden communities, as part of my searching for my identity as a Pakistani.”
She left her job as a lecturer in Chemistry and joined Pakistan People’s Party and competed for the reserve seats for women in the Punjab Assembly in 2002. However, she did not win the election.