Newman Civic Fellow Feature – Lina Tori Jan

December 5, 2019

Welcome to our Newman Civic Fellow Blog in which we feature a different fellow each month!

 Lina Tori Jan
University of Richmond


Lina serving as Keynote Speaker at Gulf South Summit. The title of the talk was, “More Precious than Freedom”.


  1. What initially drew you to the college/university that you are currently attending?
    University of Richmond is a prestigious institution, and I am honored to complete my undergraduate studies at this institute.  If it was not for their full-tuition scholarships and their goal to enroll dynamic, diverse and academically accomplished students, I would not have been able to attend this university.
  2. Share a fun fact about yourself!
    I was 12+ lb when I was born. 🙂
  3. Name 1-2 societal issues that you are passionate about aiding and eradicating.
    I am a passionate advocate for human rights, especially for minority and women’s social and legal equality. I am dedicated to increasing the role of women in diplomacy and international cooperation. As part of this goal, I find myself embracing the role of advocate for equal access to education, healthcare, and civic participation.Image result for university of richmond"
  4. What projects/initiatives are you currently working on as a Newman Civic Fellow?
    Currently, I am interning with the Office of the Secretary of Education in Virginia. As part of this internship, I am an active voice for educational opportunities for those at risk of incarceration and those who were formerly incarcerated. Furthermore, I pay particular attention to the issues that the children of immigrants and refugees face when attending school for the first time (for some). The difference in language, lack of tutors, and lack of parents who can help with their homework is some of those issues.
  5. Share an interesting, surprising, or touching story or moment that you have witnessed or experienced that fueled your inspiration and passion.
    My first exposure to the root causes of social issues was in Afghanistan, where I grew up in the midst of war. The Taliban stripped many people of their right to participate in society, confining one of the fundamental values a person can have. They shut down schools, burnt books, falsely accused and imprisoned individuals, and prohibited women and minority groups from public appearance. This experience ignited the desire to transcend social boundaries and fight for my right to education while advocating for the rights of others through community service
  6. If you could have your dream career after graduating, what would it be?
    This dream is not necessarily after graduation but long term I would like to be an Ambassador with the UN.
  7. There’s a young individual that sees a societal issue in their community and wants to help but doesn’t know how: What would you tell them/how would you encourage them?
    Ask questions and reach out to people. If you are unsure, ask questions. There is a good chance that people will take the time to guide you, and if they can’t, it’s very likely that they can connect you with the right people and sources that will help you.

Articles featuring Lina Tori Jan:

Lina Feature in University of Richmond Magazine

“‘It’s inhumane’: Hazara react after 63 killed in targeted ISIS attack” article on Public Radio International (PRI)

Lina Feature in “The Collegian”, University of Richmond Student Newspaper


Lina represented UR at Women’s Leadership Summit held by the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges


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Interview with Blanche Wiesen Cook, author of a three volume book on Eleanore Roosevelt

Video recording of interview