Impact of COVID-19 on the International Student Community: Resilience of the Students and Broader Implications
Asia 21 class of 2016 Sylvia Kim caught up an interview with Professor Nirmala Rao, Vice Chancellor of Asian University for Women, regarding the impact of COVID-19 on the academic community. A leading experts striving for the improvement of women's right, Professor Rao emphasized the significance of protecting human rights, securing equality, as well as the right for education amid global pandemic crisis.
Professor Nirmala Rao is a former Pro-Director (Learning and Teaching) of SOAS, University of London. After completing her PhD from Queen Mary and Westfield College, University of London, she joined the Politics Department at Goldsmiths College where she was elected Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in 2003. She has published extensively in the field of urban governance and has served as an advisor to a range of bodies including the UK Audit Commission and the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM). She currently serves as a Trustee of the Learning from Experience Trust, and is a member of the Governing Body of Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, and of the Council of the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU).
Sylvia Kim is an award-winning human rights lawyer and multilingual non-profit executive with over 12 years of experience in rights-based advocacy, community leadership, strategic planning and fundraising. Sylvia’s latest ventures have been in the intersection of AI and healthcare and leveraging technology for good. As Managing Director of the Koa Accel Venture Fund, she is passionate about the Koa Accel vision of investing in early stage medical devices to turn life-saving ideas into vibrant commercial ventures.
Previously, Sylvia co-founded a human rights organization for North Korean human rights and was the Orange County Regional Director for Asian Americans Advancing Justice - the nation's largest legal service and civil rights organization advocating on behalf of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders. Most recently, Sylvia was the Chief Innovation Officer at the Asian Pacific Community Fund and Founding Director of the country’s first National Asian American Community Foundation. Her success in these roles was recognized by Coast Magazine who named her as one of Orange County’s 2019 ‘Game Changers’.
Sylvia has also been featured in the LA times, NPR, ABC News, the OC Register and the New York Times and has been recognized for her advocacy work by local, national, and international agencies including the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (Best Under 40), the International Association of Korean Lawyers (Public Interest award), the Orange County Bar Association (Courage Award for Diversity & Inclusion) and the Asia Society’s Asia 21 Young Leaders.
Currently, Sylvia is working on a book that reflects her advocacy work on the empowerment of underserved communities. Her writing has been published by the Huffington Post, NextShark, Full Grown People and the Press Enterprise.
Originally from Toronto, Canada, Sylvia practiced criminal law as both a defense attorney and as an Assistant Crown Attorney before her career in community-based work. Sylvia received her Bachelor’s degree at Queen’s University, her Juris Doctor from Osgoode Hall Law School and completed her Master of Studies in International Human Rights Law (LL.M. equivalent) at Oxford University.