The U.S. Department of State has named Rezani Aziz, a Sri Lankan alumna of the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP), as State Alumni Member of the Month. Throughout August, her leadership and achievements will be recognized on the State Alumni website (https://alumni.state.gov
), the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs
’ official website for the more than one million alumni who have participated in a Department-sponsored exchange program. Each month, the Bureau’s Office of Alumni Affairs, which supports alumni as they build on their exchange experiences, confers the award on an outstanding alumnus or alumna.
Aziz was selected in recognition of her work to promote women’s empowerment in business and local capacity building. Her current projects focus on raising awareness of women’s issues and promoting small and medium-sized enterprises.
On her IVLP exchange, Aziz traveled around the United States to learn how business and local associations bring about changes and affect policy. In Sri Lanka, she has worked to increase the role of civil society to mobilize resources and opportunities in order to affect policy for positive impact on society.
On returning from her IVLP experience, Aziz designed and initiated “A Cleaner Colombo in 100 Days,” a campaign to activate neighborhoods for waste management. As the capital of Sri Lanka, Colombo served as a visible platform for this cleanup campaign. Aziz has worked with Colombo’s City Administrator to make the project an ongoing priority for the city.
Aziz has also volunteered with female entrepreneurs to provide training for migrant women, establish female-oriented business associations, and collaborate with commerce and trade boards to advance the recognition of women. She has worked tirelessly to make Sri Lankan women aware of their rights, especially in war-torn Tamil areas like Jaffna.
In addition to her professional endeavors, Aziz is an active member of the U.S. government exchange alumni community in Sri Lanka. She currently serves on the 10-person steering committee that selects projects and plans events for the bourgeoning alumni organization.
For more information, please visit the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs
Media Contact: Catherine Stearns, StearnsCL@state.gov
, phone (202) 632-6437