We are excited to share the great news that our querida amiga Emily Willard has successfully defended her PhD dissertation on women’s experience of conflict, indigenous politics, and transitional justice in Guatemala at the University of Washington.
As part of her dissertation research, Emily worked with the community of Nuevo Amanecer to record, preserve, and share stories about their experiences of the conflict and genocide in Guatemala told by multiple generations of the women. Emily first connected with community members after meeting New Dawn Guatemala President Joe Szwaja during a visit to Nuevo Amanecer, when she was studying Spanish at Proyecto Lingüístico Quetzalteco (PLQ). She visited the community multiple times, especially on their celebratory anniversary of the founding of their community. (Read Emily’s article about the 20th anniversary in 2018.) Supporters and New Dawn board members usually visit for the anniversary, but there will be no visit or celebration in 2020 due to COVID-19.
Emily’s passion for human rights is evident in her groundbreaking work with University of Washington’s Center for Human Rights (UWCHR), where she spearheaded the use of US Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to investigate local and international human rights issues. She trained generations of UWCHR interns in the exciting and tedious work of FOIA research.
We are honored that Emily has supported New Dawn Guatemala by speaking at many of our events and on videos such as our water video. She has collaborated with us on various fundraising and solidarity actions.
Emily is a special person who has made a positive impact in Nuevo Amanecer. We are honored to call her our friend and excited to learn about the next chapter in her quest for social justice in Latin America.
Congratulations, Dr. Emily Willard!