Tamima Farooqui, job resource specialist in the Job Resource Center, has been called an “ambassador to the nations,” proof she is deserving of the 2019 Embracing Diversity Award. Through her dedication to the advancement of inclusion, equity and diversity, she is an advocate for all.

As the advisor to the Asian Diversity Club since 2011, Farooqui has created a safe haven for international students and students of color to grow, prosper and achieve their educational and personal goals. She welcomes new ideas from students, which strengthens their confidence and inspires them as future leaders. Many of these students are still connected with her due to her continual care, kindness and encouragement.

“Tamima has promoted inclusion by establishing common ground among diverse cultures through shared traditions, food and lifestyles,” said Hortencia Mendez, her club co-advisor.

During her 11-year tenure at Moraine Valley, she has contributed to the academic success and advancement of students, and has been instrumental in the development of cultural competency of faculty and staff through her service on the Celebrating Diversity Committee and her role in co-coordinating Asian Diversity Day.

Adrienne Stewart, director of Multicultural Student Affairs, agrees Farooqui is a champion for diversity and inclusion. “As a member of the Celebrating Diversity Committee, she has done an excellent job in addressing and raising awareness about diversity and inclusion on the committee and campuswide. She is the chair of the Asian Pacific Islander Celebration, collaborating with the committee and student leaders to provide exceptional educational programming for our students, staff and faculty.”

Farooqui works in a diverse community that brings her deep understanding and genuine interest in the well-being of others into her role. She often is called upon by faculty to enhance students’ employability skills such as professionalism and diversity in the workplace, and she has been instrumental in assisting employers to recruit and retain a more diverse workforce to enhance innovation. Her devotion to providing advocacy and promoting equity extends into the community, as she volunteers at various social service organizations serving underrepresented and disenfranchised populations as well as people with disabilities.

“Her spirit for social justice is the impetus for her unyielding force to create an environment where everyone can receive what they need to advance to the next level.  She is the consummate cultural broker that initiates common pathways to elevate and celebrate the human experience,” said her nominator. “Tamima not only embraces diversity, but she embodies it on a daily basis and is most worthy of this award.”

“I’m tremendously grateful and was quite surprised [to learn I won]. This means so much to me. I am just thankful I get the opportunity to support our diverse students through a variety of roles on our campus. Every day, whether I am assisting a student with their job search  or serving as an advisor to a student organization, I’m privileged to use my role and my experiences to create a welcoming environment and safe space for all. As a daily meditation, I tell myself to be better, to be present and to try to walk in the other person’s shoes. To be among a list of truly amazing colleagues who champion diversity with courage and grace is a great honor,” Farooqui said.