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International Women's Day Spotlight: Angela Muvumba Sellstrom '92
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For Angela Muvumba Sellstrom '92, International Women's Day isn't a one day occasion; it's become a significant and important movement in her life, and current line of work.

For Angela Muvumba Sellstrom '92, International Women's Day isn't a one day occasion; it's become a significant and important movement in her life, and current line of work.

"It is a day (March 8) set out by the United Nations (UN) to recognize women's rights, equality and justice, following decades and decades of struggle for women's suffrage around the world," Angela said. "In our time, the women's movement has taken up new efforts to stop sexual exploitation and abuse and to hold perpetrators, institutions, communities and leaders accountable. And it's about time for that, too."

"I want this International Women's Day to both visibly support women, but also encourage us to transform how we see our own agency in making war. And I want us to stop wars."

A graduate of the Class of 1992, Angela currently works at Uppsala University in Uppsala, Sweden, as a researcher in the Department of Peace and Conflict Research. She said she works and thinks about these issues in her daily teachings and research at the university, with a focus on the different ways war and peace affect, and are impacted by, gender inequality.

"I am concerned about how the conditions which give rise to armed violence stunt and deform the development of men and boys," she said.

From Angela's University biography, her doctoral dissertation examined the causes of armed group impunity for sexual violence. Her research interests include gender, wartime sexual violence, human rights, rebel groups, and Africa's regional organizations. She is the principal researcher for the project "Disciplining Fighters: Understanding Armed Political Actors' Control of Sexual Violence" and contributes to projects on third-party interventions to prevent and stop civilian atrocities and electoral violence. She is a lead author on violence in the International Panel for Social Progress, a global, multi-disciplinary venture involving hundreds of social scientists to arrive at a consensus on social change.

"I want to see the work of the UN, which aims to secure peace as well as promote and protect women and men, flourish and deepen," Angela said. "I want this International Women's Day to both visibly support women, but also encourage us to transform how we see our own agency in making war. And I want us to stop wars."

While Anglea was only at Westover for her senior year, she describes it as "magical year, full of lessons in history and math and language and art and sport; with an opportunity to meet the most amazing girls, all of whom have become amazing women." She explained she was given tremendous emotional support and guidance from the teachers at Westover, embracing the all-girls environment.

"It meant that I saw and experienced all around me, female (even if we were just girls) strength and tenacity, intelligence unfurling, craft and artistry, meditation and advocacy," Angela said. "We could be some, all or naught - artist, athlete, activist, scholar, scientist. That made us fearless in the classroom, it helped me shine, it gave me courage."

And for Angela, that feeling has provided strength and fortitude in her current daily life.

"I can remember that feeling of giving all of myself, and I know it's possible and I try to do it again and again," she said. "I think that has given me a happiness that I never imagined before Westover."

In 2007, Angela was the recipient of Westover's Distinguished Young Alumna Award.You can learn more about Angela's work here.