Noorjahan Akbar ’10

Inspiration and empowerment can both come from a George School classroom, as Noorjahan discovered.

How did being part of George School’s IB Diploma Program affect you?

At George School, and especially through the IB program, I learned to think creatively and critically. I also developed important writing skills that I continue to use on a daily basis. My IB English classes taught me to write with precision and without jargon, a skill that is essential for any communications job. My Theory of Knowledge class prepared me for philosophy classes in college but also gave me the analytical skills that enable me to make tough decisions today.

I remember Ralph Lelii talking to us about the power of our words. I also remember many thoughtful conversations with John Gleeson ’65 and Terry Culleton, especially conversations around power and colonialism in literature. These classes truly contributed to my emotional intelligence and give me the language to speak about forms of oppression I had faced and felt many times before, but didn’t know how to articulate. The nurturing academic atmosphere at GS gave me the chance to see my views as valid and worthy of voicing, something that many women my age were deprived of.

More about Noorjahan:

After graduating from Dickinson College with a sociology major, she co-founded Young Women for Change, an advocacy organization. Since then, she has received an MA in journalism from American University and has worked to inform the world about women’s equality and education. Today, Noorjahan is a Senior Communication and External Engagement Officer at Women for Women International (WfWI), which helps women who are survivors of war to rebuild their lives. She travels internationally to interview women served by WfWI and, using traditional and new media, tells their stories. Noorjahan also runs a collective of Afghan women writers, activists, and students called Free Women Writers, which advocates for gender equality in Afghanistan through storytelling and education.