Samira Rafaela is a Dutch Member of the European Parliament for the social-liberal political party D66. In her Parliamentary work she strives for a fairer, more sustainable trade policy and a more inclusive European labour market. “Equal representation means that every individual can have role models; individuals to whom you can relate and whose success seems attainable.” she said while addressing the audience. “When entering the European Parliament in 2019, those relatable individuals were absent for me. At times, I felt discouraged to see so little resemblance of myself in the European Parliament, but it also strengthened me in my mission to achieve equal representation and create more role models for the future generation.”
A common thread throughout the speech was injustice, but also the potential for change a new generation can bring. “History has proven to us repeatedly that change is always the result of people who make a commitment to contribute to a shared mission of progress. Change comes from the students who organize for affordable housing, students who organize worldwide climate marches and from everyone who says Black Lives Matter.” Samira encouraged graduates to speak up about their ambitions and the injustices they wish to change. “You inherit a world that has proven already that progress is possible, and now it is your turn to prove it again.”
“You inherit a world that has proven already that progress is possible, and now it is your turn to prove it again.”
The John Stuart Mill College didn't want to deny current students the opportunity to meet Samira Rafaela as well. Therefore, she gave a guest lecture on women's rights and conservatism in the EU prior to the ceremony. Samira and the students discussed sexual and reproductive health, as well as human rights standards within the EU at large. Additionally, she shed light on her personal experience in becoming a MEP. “It was very impressive," said PPE Politics Coordinator Özlem Terzi. "We hope to welcome Samira again to the college very soon to continue this conversation."