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Alumna Promotes Migrants' Rights Internationally

Cynthia Salim ’09 says her experience at Loyola Marymount University was the best training for her job as a policy associate at the International Catholic Migration Commission in Geneva, Switzerland.

“LMU prepared me very well,” Salim says. “From my political science courses to my service experiences, I learned about how immigration works at the global level, the different styles of advocacy and how to be a person united for justice.”

The commission advocates on behalf of uprooted people, migrants, refugees and victims of human trafficking. Salim is responsible for monitoring international migration governance processes and helping to bring the migrants rights issues to those processes. She says she was attracted to this type of work because of her own personal experience.

“I immigrated to the United States from Indonesia when I was 11 years old. It really gave me a better understanding of ‘the other,’ ” Salim says. “Migrants contribute so much to society but they’re still subjected to a lot of alienation and isolation because of their immigration status.”

While at LMU, Salim was involved in Sursum Corda, a service organization, and served as an Alternative Breaks trip leader to East Los Angeles, where she learned about immigrants from Mexico and Central America. She also was active in Students for Labor and Economic Justice, a group that works for the rights of all workers to earn a living wage.

Salim credits John Parrish, a political science professor, with giving her the tools she uses in her job today. “Professor Parrish’s course taught me about the fundamental reasons behind policy shifts,” Salim says. “He was a great mentor and his door was always open. He made me feel like the world was a little more understandable.”

After graduation, Salim was a Rotary Scholar and earned a master’s degree in human values and contemporary global ethics at King’s College in London. “I was so shocked at how much I learned about myself and American culture,” Salim says. “Studying abroad has changed my life and helped me to become a better agent for social change.”