Fellowship Spotlight: Inaara Lalani

Inaara Lalani is a third-year Fellow majoring in international affairs. Her background as the daughter of Pakistani immigrants and an Ismaili Muslim motivated her to get involved in politics, as she feels the minority experience is one that is often not included in politics. She has seen minorities having to depend on the majority to represent them, though she believes they should be able to represent themselves. By getting involved in politics, she aims to represent minority communities and their interests as well, especially those of immigrant communities that are often left out due to politics. As a Muslim, her faith has taught her to use her education to better the well-being of her community. Through the Fellowship, she hopes to learn the inner-working of the legislative process, with the ultimate goal of understanding what it takes to address the community’s concerns. She also hopes to understand the issues facing Georgians at large. Through this understanding, she aims to identify where the local government can lend a hand and mend existing policies that are failing to help the community. Through the Fellowship, she has realized the importance of listening. For her, being involved in politics does not mean just trying to get someone to vote for a candidate. Rather, it requires genuinely listening to and understanding the concerns of the community and how those concerns can be addressed. In today’s political climate, she sees that it is often hard to build bridges due to partisanship. However, she believes that the aim of those in politics should be to increase the betterment of the community and their quality of life regardless of what party affiliation they correspond with. Therefore, putting politics aside and actually paying attention to what the community wants from leadership is key. The Fellowship has also helped her better understand policy work and the need for detail and expertise in making and evaluating policies. Before joining the Fellowship, she served as a finance intern for Carolyn Bourdeaux’s House campaign. She was also a Presidential Fellow for the DNC, political organizer for Ismailis Rise Up and undergraduate research assistant for SNARP under the supervision of Dr. K. Chad Clay at UGA. Inaara hopes to study abroad before graduating. Since she is interested in a range of topics, she is not sure which career path she wishes to pursue in the international affairs field. However, she does wish to continue working on policy research. She is interested in international economy, human rights and terrorism. She is hoping to pursue one of those as a specialist and perhaps work for the State Department or a think tank after grad school. She hopes to take a gap year after undergrad to work and see which field she would like to get a grad degree in. Inaara is very excited to see that Georgia has become a purple state. She is also excited to see the positive attitudes of those her age who are working on policy issues, whether domestic or international. Her favorite UGA memory is watching the championship game in the Steigman Coliseum, especially since UGA won!