Julia Bolz is a women’s rights activist providing social guidance to countries in the Middle East, Africa, Central America, and Central Asia. She founded the Journey with an Afghan School program after 9/11 to help bridge the cultural divide between the U.S. and Afghanistan particularly by increasing the educational opportunities afforded to young women. Before joining the grassroots movement for gender equality, she worked at one of Seattle’s most prestigious law firms, Ryan, Swanson & Cleveland. She received Seattle’s Tom C. Wales Citizenship Award for her combined humanitarian efforts. Bolz graduated from Smith College.
Julia Bolz: I am drawn to the international section of the paper. So I look at things like the AIDS crisis in Africa. I look at the human rights abuses that are going on in Sudan. I look at how children are not able to go to school in most parts of the world because of simple things like school fees. And I am focused on also the solutions. And I think that’s one of the things that’s missing in the paper today. So one of the reasons I’ve been speaking out around the country is that I find out that many of the good stories aren’t in the news today.Question: What are the good stories?
Well I think that we’re also making a difference in areas like TB, malaria. A number of years ago if you went into Africa, it was very typical for people to be dying of malaria because they didn’t have a net that only costs about $10. And now we’re seeing more of that distribution. It also . . . You would see millions of kids dying of simple diseases. Or dysentery. And now, thanks to organizations like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, there’s a big impact that’s happening in those countries. And there’s a momentum today that we didn’t even see a couple of years ago. So I think for the first time, people are realizing that we might actually meet those millennial development goals that were set in 2000, which were to eliminate the diverse aspects of hunger and poverty around the world.