Student Hassam Bin Kamran: 'Ensuring security and protection for the oppressed has become my priority in life.'

Photo: Marie Cecile Thijs (c)

Hassam Bin Kamran studies 'Management of International Social Challenges'. As a human rights activist, he started the Butterfly Initiative Pakistan, which provides a platform for girls, women, transgenders and marginalised communities to remain confident about who they are in an environment where acceptance is rare.

What is your fondest memories from your student time?
“The best thing until now, was when I won a scholarship to represent Erasmus University Rotterdam at One Young World. At the summit I presented ‘The Hague Youth Declaration of Human Rights in Action’ on stage at the Circus Theatre during the closing ceremony to an audience of over 1,800 people, which included young leaders from around the world, CEO’s of corporations like Unilever and Shell and public figures like Bob Geldof and Naomi Campbell.”

"I strive to be a person who can positively impact the lives of people around me. And to work for people who cannot defend themselves against the odds of our societies."


Why did you become who you are now?
“Having first-hand experience in human rights violation, I decided to advocate to defend marginalised groups in Pakistan. I helped the government in creating better policies and laws to protect minority groups and victims of sexual abuse in Pakistan. Also, I thought about ways to provide them with better entrepreneurship opportunities, so they can improve their lives.
In Pakistan, sexual violence is a taboo. Consequently, society and law enforcement institutions fail to address such human rights violations effectively. Ensuring security and protection for the oppressed has become my priority in life – and I aim to work for it in the future to contribute to a prosperous society.”

What are your dreams concerning your career?
“I strive to be a person who can positively impact the lives of people around me and work for people who are underprivileged and don’t know how to defend themselves against the odds of our societies. I dream to work with the United Nations or the European Commission to stop the violence against people and provide them with security.”

"We are the leaders of today and not tomorrow, do not be afraid of failure or embarrassment of any kind. Embrace yourself, stand up for people who are in need."


How does your study at Erasmus University Rotterdam contribute to these dreams?
“The Bachelor in Management of International Social Challenges has given me a clear idea of how big institutions like the United Nations, NGO’s and governments function.
The public speaking and analytical skills I developed during my studies contributed in drafting the Youth Declaration of Human Rights in Actions, which I did together with 40 committee members at the World Forum in The Hague. The courses like ‘Organization and Management’ and ‘Public Policy and International Law’ taught me how globalised multinational corporations can be a leading actor in meeting the United Nations’ sustainable development goals in 2030.”

Do you believe in developing your own skills, throughout your life? How do you see that for yourself?
“When I was in high school in Pakistan, I questioned the traditions and challenged the mindsets of people through healthy discussions and activities like panel discussions and drama competitions. The activities included people from different religious and social backgrounds to encourage safe spaces to discuss the societal problems at hand.
In order to solve complex issues like the refugee crisis, extremism, poverty and unemployment in the globalized world we live in, it is important to master negotiation skills and learn how to think diplomatically and critically.
Moving to The Netherlands from Pakistan has been a great learning experience for me, as I met people from various professions, countries and cultures at university, and I am amazed by how diverse and beautiful the world around us is.”

Butterfly Initiative Pakistan

Last week we had the opportunity to talk with Hassam Bin Kamran, the creator of Butterfly Initiative Pakistan, a student based NGO aiming to help LGBTQ+ people in Pakistan. The result of this conversation can be seen in this video.

Geplaatst door Erasmus Pride op Zondag 30 december 2018


Which opportunities does our platform EUR Connect offer you? 
EUR Connect offers me possibilities to connect with EUR alumni and students who have the same vision and determination. I hope to meet and network with people who can support me to achieve my goal of providing security and better living conditions in Pakistan and developing countries. I look forward to connecting with people from businesses like Unilever, Shell, Philips and other corporations who can help me achieve gender equality in Pakistan through collaboration on projects.”

How would you inspire new students? 
“We are the leaders of today and not tomorrow, do not be afraid of failure or embarrassment of any kind. Embrace yourself, stand up for people who are in need. Also, if you have an opinion about some topic, never hesitate to share it with your peers, while also respecting people who disagree with you.” 

More information

Would you like to connect with Hassam Bin Kamran or other students or alumni? Join EUR Connect, the platform for alumni, students and staff of Erasmus University Rotterdam.

The photo exhibition 'All Inclusive, our community in 30 portraits' from Marie Cecile Thijs runs until 28 July 2019 at the Erasmus Paviljoen (Campus Woudestein).