"While the old may have died, we have not forgotten" -Lila Sharif addressing the youth at the Palestinian American Women's Association International Women's Day banquet.
Lila Sharif was born to Palestinian refugees and she is the first generation born in America. She comes from a family of activists and dedicates her time and effort participating in organizations and events that focus on celebrating Palestinian culture and working toward Palestinian liberation. Sharif graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a Bachelor's degree in Sociology. She is now teaching at the University of California, San Diego while completing a dual doctoral program in Ethnic Studies and Sociology. Sharif's dissertation, “Savory Politics: The Impact of Fair Trade Olive Oil Industries on Palestinian Livelihoods,” uses the production and consumption of Palestinian olive oil trade as an optic to examine the broader issues of Palestinian identity and Palestinians’ relations with Israel.
Sharif focuses much of her personal and academic energies into examining what it means to be a Palestinian refugee youth. As a Palestinian woman, Sharif's experiences growing up and living in the United States help her understand the difficulties of being a minority and coming from an underrepresented community. Within her spaces of study and work she is transforming what it means to be a Palestinian woman in academia and is bringing the topic of Palestine into the conversation, giving Palestinians the opportunity to share their narrative. Sharif also believes in the power of youth organizing and is a member of the Palestinian Youth Organization, a transnational, independent, grassroots movement of young Palestinians in Palestine and in exile worldwide.
Lila Sharif has been awarded the California Cultures in Comparative Perspective Graduate Summer Fellowship which allowed her to complete ethnographic work in the Palestinian territories during summer 2009. Sharif was recently awarded the prestigious UC President’s Postdoctoral Fellowship. The University of California President’s Postdoctoral Fellowship Program was established in 1984 to encourage outstanding women and minority Ph.D. recipients to pursue academic careers at the University of California. Sharif was chosen from a competitive pool of applicants and we applaud her on such an incredible accomplishment. Sharif has also been selected to be a member of the UC San Diego Chapter of the Bouchet Graduate Honor Society for 2014.
Lila Sharif embodies the spirit and compassion of this sisterhood. ΕΑΣ applauds her endless and fiery devotion to her homeland and to the empowerment of Arab youth in America. Our sisterhood is so fortunate to have such a beautiful and brilliant woman in our community and we look forward to the contributions Sharif will bring to the academic and social spaces of our universities.