ABOUT THE MILLENNIUM FELLOWSHIP - CLASS OF 2020
United Nations Academic Impact and MCN are proud to partner on the Millennium Fellowship. In the three months the application was open in 2020, 15,159 young leaders applied to join the Class of 2020 on 1,458 campuses across 135 nations. 80 campuses worldwide (just 6%) were selected to host the 1,000+ Millennium Fellows. The Class of 2020 is bold, innovative, and inclusive.
UNITED NATIONS ACADEMIC IMPACT AND MCN PROUDLY PRESENT VISHNI SAMARAWEERA, A MILLENNIUM FELLOW FOR THE CLASS OF 2020.
Brandeis University | Massachusetts, United States | Advancing SDG 5 & UNAI 7
" I am so excited to be a part of the Millennium Fellowship and be able to connect with inspiring scholars around the world. Through the Beautiful Brown Project, I hope to inspire young South Asian girls around the world and help them to love their skin color and culture. Through this collaborative effort we can work together to spread awareness on challenging topics our communities face and work towards effective healing and change. "
Millennium Fellowship Project: Beautiful Brown Project
The Beautiful Brown Project is a critical movement to work towards empowering young south Asian females across the globe. 'Brown girls' are constantly faced with criticism regarding the lightness of the skin, the amount of hair on their body, how they represent their family, who they marry, their career choices, and more. Such heightened pressure is constantly placed on them. With this project, the Fellows will work to collaborate and support a network of south Asian females to help them to overcome the difficulties that society places on them and help them to believe in their worth.
The project goal is to embrace, educate, and empower south asian children on a multitude of topics. Some causes that they hope to raise awareness on include sexual health/ violence, menstruation, mental health, intercultural/interreligious/interracial relationships, body positivity and beauty norms (colorism), and dialogues to bridge the generation gap in south Asian families. South Asians and those of the diaspora struggle with similar stereotypes perceived by the western world and common family challenges. The goal is to help young people to approach their parents with taboo topics and be able to have difficult conversations while also helping them to understand and embrace the vibrant cultures of south Asia. The Fellows hope to do this by spreading knowledge by developing social media platforms and collaborating with influential south asian figures across the globe. In the long-term, they hope to reach young south Asian girls worldwide through symposiums, events, and presentations to develop a collaborative dialogue regarding how to uplift and empower each other.
About the Millennium Fellow
Vishni Samaraweera is a current second-year student at Brandeis University majoring in Health, Science, Society, Policy and minoring in Economics and South Asian Studies. Vishni's family comes from Sri Lanka and she is deeply connected to her Sinhalese roots. Her Sri Lankan heritage mixed with her passions for social justice and healthcare have influenced her to pursue a career in global health with a focus on women's health inequities in South Asia.