Layla Murphy, C’23, Receives Secretary of State Award for Outstanding Volunteerism Abroad

Layla Murphy, C’23

Layla Murphy, C’23, is a winner of this year’s Secretary of State Award for Outstanding Volunteerism Abroad (SOSA) from the Associates of the American Foreign Service Worldwide. The award recognizes Murphy’s work in the UAE during her gap semester.

Murphy, from Cairo, Egypt, shares the award with Sari Heidenreich, Director of Programs–Oman and Kuwait for Do Bold, a human rights organization. Together they supported the repatriation of Sierra Leonean domestic workers who had been trafficked to and/or exploited in Oman. They helped raise nearly $30,000, which allowed 43 victims of trafficking and exploitation to return home; organized repatriations logistics; provided direct education and empowerment to hundreds of women; and conducted research to help the international community better understand how to address the underlying issues.

“When I volunteer, I feel connected,” said Murphy. “The work I’ve done with Do Bold has led me to feel that most people in most places are mostly alike. We suffer different circumstances, and some of us are certainly more privileged than others—but we share some fundamental convictions. We largely agree on what makes us feel vulnerable and hurt, and we embrace in common the features of the good life and the importance of its pursuit. I find this universality deeply comforting, and above all, energizing: Empathy has driven me, and volunteering makes me grateful.”

Murphy, a philosophy major, is currently a student intern with USAID, as well as a research assistant in political science. She is co-founder and Editor-In-Chief of Quake Magazine.


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