North Hennepin Professor Visits Pakistan on U.S. State Dept. Trip
On most days, you can find professor Eda Watts on the Brooklyn Park campus of North Hennepin Community College, where she serves as associate vice president of equity and inclusion.
“It boils down to, people need to feel seen, valued and heard,” she said.
As simple as that message may sound, many find themselves on the outside looking in.
Watts even wrote a book on the topic, titled ‘How To Be An Ally And Create Inclusion Using The A.C.A. Pillars.’
“I put my heart and soul into that, because I want folks to learn how to build inclusive communities,” Watts said of her book.
Her work caught the attention of someone at the United States Department of State who called her out of the blue.
“So they recruited me as one of their diversity and inclusion experts to travel to Pakistan,” Watts said.
For 10 days in February, Watts took part in panel discussions, met with business and community leaders in Pakistan, and she also spoke to students about topics such as diversity, inclusion and belonging.
At all of her engagements, she asked whether people were familiar with George Floyd.
“And I have to tell you, it makes me emotional, but almost every group that I engaged raised their hand,” she said.
That acknowledgement of the George Floyd murder gave Watts an opportunity to further engage her audience about the importance of the work she does with racial healing.
Ultimately, she says her trip to Pakistan was the experience of a lifetime.
“I am so overwhelmed,” Watts said. “People keep telling me, don’t use the word, ‘humble.’ But that’s a word that keeps coming to my mind. So I will use – I almost feel near tears — I will use the word, ‘honored.'”