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Award-Winning Humanitarian Razia Jan to Speak at Lasell Commencement

March 29, 2022

Razia Jan, founder of Razia's Ray of Hope Foundation, and 2022 Lasell University Commencement speakerRazia Jan, founder of Razia’s Ray of Hope Foundation (RRH), will deliver the keynote address at Lasell University’s 168th Commencement ceremonies taking place on Friday, May 13 and Saturday, May 14, 2022.

Jan founded RRH in 2007 on the belief that education is the key to positive, peaceful change for current and future generations. The foundation improves the lives of Afghan girls through community-based education, in addition to the provision of basic necessities like food and warm winter clothing, understanding that we must empower girls and young women through both education and resources to work toward brighter futures in their own villages and beyond.

In 2008, RRH established the Zabuli Education Center, an all-girls K-12 school. Nine years later, the Foundation launched the Razia Jan Institute, the first post-secondary school of its kind in rural Afghanistan. The institute provides midwifery certification, medical services, English language and computer literacy programs, and employment opportunities to Zabuli Education Center graduates and the public at large.

Amid ongoing political unrest in Afghanistan, the Foundation’s mission to empower Afghan girls and young women remains unchanged. The organization has expanded student enrollment and is launching a teacher-training certification program to ensure the sustainability of girls’ education. In response to the recent hunger crisis in the country, RRH has launched an Emergency Hunger Relief program to ensure that all RRH students receive a full meal each school day, and to distribute monthly supplemental food packages to more than 100,000 residents.

Jan was born in Afghanistan and moved to the U.S. in 1970, settling in Duxbury, Massachusetts. After September 11, she rallied her community to send homemade blankets to Ground Zero rescue workers, and assisted the U.S. Army in coordinating delivery and distribution of more than 30,000 pairs of shoes to Afghan children in need. Jan is a former President of the Duxbury Rotary Club and has received Rotary International’s Service Above Self Award and Global Women of Action Award, in addition to the CNN Top 10 Hero Award.

“Razia’s humanitarian spirit and commitment to global social justice is something we all can learn from and be inspired by,” says Lasell President Michael B. Alexander. “Much like Lasell’s vision to move ‘Forever Forward,’ Razia’s vision for her Foundation is to uplift and empower future generations with education and resources. We eagerly anticipate her arrival on campus this May and are thrilled to welcome such an honorable guest to our Commencement ceremonies.”

Jan will speak at both Lasell Commencement ceremonies — Friday, May 13 for graduates and Saturday, May 14 for undergraduates — and will receive an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from the University.