Smith alum ’02 Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy wins Oscar!

08Mar12

Many congrats to Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy ’02 for winning an Oscar! Sharmeen won for her documentary “Saving Face” about women in Pakistan whose faces are deliberately burned by acid.

It’s interesting to note that Smith played a role in helping Sharmeen on her path—she was a fellow at the Kahn Institute, which provided funding for her first film, Terror’s Children, a report on Afghani refugee children in Pakistan, in 2002.”

Smithie Ellie ’05 interviewed Sharmeen at the Huffington Post and asked her about her experience at Smith:

As a student in Karachi, Pakistan, what attracted you to Smith College in Northampton, Mass.? (I have to ask because we were on campus at the same time.) And how did your experience as an international student change post-Sept. 11, 2001?

I had always wanted to attend a small, liberal arts, women’s college and I was inspired by the strong-headed and successful alumnae of Smith College. It seemed that the Pioneer Valley was a very progressive and stimulating environment to be in, and hearing about the various traditions at Smith comforted me. Being the first girl in my family to attend college in the U.S., my family and I wanted my school to be the perfect mix between homey and cultivating. Although my experiences as an individual did not change post-Sept. 11, the attention that the Muslim world was getting from the Western media pushed me to become an adequate representative. I felt it was my responsibility to speak out about issues in the East in a way that the West would understand.

Watch the trailer for “Saving Face” below:

And here’s her Oscar award and acceptance speech:

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