Southeastern grad student to address UK House of Lords, present at international conference
Contact: Rene Abadie
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HAMMOND – A Southeastern Louisiana University graduate student has been invited to address the British House of Lords in London in July on the evolving role of women in the Middle East.
Ann O’Connor of Hammond, a student in Southeastern’s organizational communication graduate program, will be one of several individuals to address the upper house of Parliament July 15 on the general topic “Women in the Middle East: Beacon of Change.” O’Connor and other participants will discuss the progress women have made in business, politics and the media in the Middle East while remaining within their social and cultural boundaries.
Her visit is sponsored by BEE Magazine, which covers social and political issues concerning women.
“Women have always played strong roles in the Middle East, but it has largely been disguised,” said O’Connor, who spent more than 10 years in Saudi Arabia where she performed volunteer activities and worked as a hospital administrator. She said this is changing, and women are assuming greater visibility in all aspects of society.
O’Connor, who expects to earn her master’s degree next May, is a consultant to several branches of the U.S. military, working to educate military units on Mid-East culture prior to deployment. It’s important, she said, that soldiers in these areas gain some prior knowledge of the culture, traditions, religious customs and social expectations of the people with whom they will be interacting. She was recognized for her work in preparing troops for deployment by New Orleans television station WVUE Fox-8 Live with the station’s Jefferson Award for public service.
Later in the month, she will travel to the International Conference on Diversity in Organizations, Communities and Nations, which will be held in Queen’s University in Belfast, Northern Ireland. There she will make another presentation on “Fatal Errors in Cross-cultural Competencies by U.S. Troops Deploying to Iraq.”
“Much of my success in this area of communication is due to the support I receive from the communication faculty at Southeastern, who have supported and assisted me in my efforts,” O’Connor said. “I believe I have been polished by the best.”