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Graduate School: Harvard Divinity School
Undergraduate Degree: DePaul University
Area of Interest: Immigration Issues
Mentors: Tiziana Dearing, Boston College and Antoniya Owens, Center for Education Policy and Research
Agency:Office of New Bostonians
Supervisor: An Le, Community and Policy Affairs Advocacy Coordinator
Project Description:Usra Ghazi served as a policy fellow at the Mayor’s Office of New Bostonians (MONB). In addition to providing staff support on MONB’s ongoing initiatives to promote civic engagement and citizenship among Boston’s immigrant communities, Usra conducted outreach to faith-based organizations and leaders. She researched and produced policy proposals on how the City of Boston can implement best practices of faith-based engagement. One of these proposals was signed and authorized by the Mayor’s Office resulting in the first-ever Ramadan holiday celebration at City Hall with Mayor Walsh and over 200 of the city’s Muslim civic leaders and community members. She served as a liaison to the Mayor’s Special Advisor on Violence Prevention and Public Safety to launch an inaugural faith-based advisory council. She was invited to stay on staff at MONB as a policy fellow for the duration of the 2014-2015 academic year.
Usra says this about her summer: My summer fellowship was a thrilling crash course in municipal governance and the perfect summer to be working with the Mayor’s Office of New Bostonians (MONB). During my time at MONB I was able to observe landmark immigration policy change through the adoption of the Boston Trust Act as well as a historic shift in faith-based engagement. I was invited to the table for high-level meetings with department heads, special advisors, and commissioners and encouraged to share my thoughts and policy proposals on faith engagement. One of the best parts of the summer was fielding requests for support from various offices across City Hall regarding faith-based engagement. It allowed me to see that there is a growing need for experts with a firm grounding in religion and public policy to improve the way our cities work with their religiously diverse constituents.