Dear Members of the Westminster Community and Friends of the College,
We received word yesterday that one of our Westminster family, Shauna Aminath, class of 2008, was arrested in her home country of The Maldives while attending a peaceful demonstration. She was taken to Dhoonidhoo detention island where she was held in police custody. We received good news this morning that she was taken before the court and has been released on the condition that she not participate in any more demonstrations for the next 21 days.
For those of you unfamiliar with Shauna's activities, after graduating from Westminster, Shauna returned to The Maldives and eventually assumed the position of Deputy Undersecretary for the new administration of President Mohamed Nasheed until he was forced to resign Feb. 7 in a coup d'etat orchestrated by an alliance of his political opponents.
Recently, Shauna was elected as President of the Youth Wing of her political party, the Maldivian Democratic Party, and has been active in promoting democracy, respect for human rights and environmental sustainability.
Like me, I know many of you are close to Shauna, who was truly a global leader during her years at Westminster. As a Westminster student, she was a leader in our International Club and a strong advocate for international students and integration on campus. She was also instrumental in the International Student Show each year and the Tsunami Relief International Show. She was one of the first students to participate in our pioneer program, Take A Friend Home, hosting a domestic student from Missouri in her Maldives home for several weeks.
Her campus leadership activities included holding the Presidency of ECOS, our Environmentally Concerned Student Council, working as a residence hall advisor on campus and serving as a Student Ambassador.
Shauna received a Projects for Peace grant that took her team to Columbia to work with refugees. She participated in a number of internships, including the Banyan Tree Marine Lab in the Maldives and Humanity in Action in New York. She was selected to attend the Annual Student Conference on U.S. Affairs at the United States Military Academy at West Point and attended the Development Project Management Institute at the Monterey Institute for International Studies.
All of us aware of this situation, including her family at Pearson College United World College of the Pacific in British Columbia, have been deeply concerned about Shauna and ask that you keep her in your thoughts and prayers at this challenging time in her life. Thanks to all of you in the Westminster family who have reached out to each other in the past 24 hours to support Shauna. I am greatly relieved that she has been released in what appears to be a peaceful resolution to her plight. We are so thankful to receive this wonderful news this morning and wish her well in the days ahead.
Dr. Barney Forsythe