COMMUNITY> WOMEN WE ADMIRE> SORAYA MIRE
When I first met Soraya Miré,
we were lying flat on our backs on the polished wooden floor of a yoga
studio, attempting to understand the directions of our pilates
instructor. She had an uncanny ability to make me laugh through the pain
of "impossible" physical contortions. I later discovered that she had
been using that same ability to help countless women throughout the
world deal with both physical and mental pain much more significant than
anything I could ever imagine.
Miré is an award-winning director, writer and human rights activist.
She has dedicated her entire adult life to serving as a voice for women
who are unable to speak for themselves. Her cause is the eradication of
female genital mutilation (FGM), a practice still common in parts of
Africa, Asia and some Arab countries such as Benin, Burkina Faso,
Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Cote d'Ivoire, Democratic
Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Gambia, Ghana,
Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria,
Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda. It is
also practiced among ethnic groups in India, Indonesia, Malaysia, and
Pakistan; groups in Oman, United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Iraq, occupied
Palestinian territories and immigrant communities in Europe, Australia,
Canada and even the United States.
passion is ignited by memories of her own personal experience with FGM
as a thirteen-year-old girl growing up in a traditional Somali family.
Determined to change the international policies and laws regarding the
practice of FGM, Miré has testified before committees at the United
Nations, the U.S. Senate Human Resources and Health Assembly and the
She is the author of the recently published book, The Girl with Three Legs: A Memoir (Lawrence
Hill Books, October 2011), a dramatic chronicle of the personal
challenges she overcame as a survivor of FGM, a firsthand account of the
violent global oppression of women and girls, and a testament to the
empowerment of women.
has lectured at Harvard John F. Kennedy School of Government, Morehouse
College, UCLA, Vanderbilt University, Stanford University, Spelman
College, Emory University, San Francisco State, Howard University, USC,
Moorpark College, Mount Saint Mary’s College and Lesley University. She
wrote, directed and produced Fire Eyes, a documentary film and Red 772, a short film, both portraying the inhumanity, brutality and horror of this custom.
is also the recipient of the “Humanitarian Award” at the United Nations
Sub-Commission Sessions, the John Jay College of Criminal Justice
“Winnie Mandela Award,” “Best Documentary” at the United Nations
International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo, the
“Human Rights Award” at the Third International Symposia on Circumcision
at the University of Maryland, and Intact America’s “Personal Courage
are proud to have the privilege of knowing Soraya personally and are
grateful for the work she has done to empower women on a global scale.