INTERVIEW: MR. RAZA RUMI
Mr. Raza Rumi, Scholar in Residence at Ithaca College, is an author, policy analyst, and journalist from Pakistan. His writings have been published in Foreign Policy, Huffington Post, New York Times, The Diplomat, Fair Observer, CNN, and Indian Express. He continues to be the consulting editor for The Friday Times, Pakistan’s first Independent weekly paper.
Raza Rumi, who consistently speaks out against extremism on mass media sites, was under the surveillance of Islamists in Pakistan. He narrowly survived a gun attack that claimed the life of his driver in Lahore on March 14, 2014. He felt insecure and fled to the U.S. three weeks after the incident.
Currently, Raza Rumi teaches courses on South Asia studies at Ithaca College and participates in campus-wide conferences. He also serves as a fellow at the New America Foundation, United States Institute of Peace, and the National Endowment for Democracy.
Mr. Raza Rumi fancies himself as a global citizen, as he has underplayed local and national allegiances. He is from South Asia, has lived in East Asia, has studied in Europe, and currently resides in North America. Although he insists that his view of global citizenship is more utopia than real, he tries to be open-minded and well-informed.
When asked why FLEFF is significant, Raza Rumi points out that FLEFF not only conveys a powerful environmental conservation message but also brings diversity to the college campus. He believes that it is important for students, faculty members, and residents of Ithaca to be aware of global environmental problems such as climate change. Because the world has certainly shrunk, and it has never been so interconnected as it is today. We, striving for global citizenship as future leaders, have to consciously embrace our shared problems.
With Raza Rumi’s help, FLEFF acquired the North American premiere of the internationally acclaimed film, SHAH. The film kicked of the 19th FLEFF on Sunday, February 21, at Cinemapolis.
“It was a fantastic idea to screen SHAH. SHAH is an important film in Pakistan and worldwide,” Rumi mentions. The film depicts a homeless boxer who gained fame but fell back to poverty due to exploitation. Although it was filmed in Pakistan, the story of SHAH could represent an African American in the United States or an East Asian who was beaten by the political structure. SHAH contains a universal message that contemporary societies can be very cruel to disadvantaged human beings.