Khadija El Karfi ’19

Photo of Khadija El Karfi ’19

Name: Khadija El Karfi ’19

Hometown: Rabat, Morocco

Academics: international relations and French and Francophone studies double major

Pronouns: she/her/hers

Campus involvement: Harriet Newhall Fellow (interviewer), Office of Admission; senior residential advisor, Office of Residential Life; founder, the Consulting Club student org; French tutor, French department; Arabic/Moroccan language partner, Five College Center for the Study of World Languages; member, Arab Student Union.  

Proudest accomplishment at Mount Holyoke: My admiration for Mount Holyoke’s commitment to empowering students from all backgrounds inspired me to become both a residential advisor for three consecutive years as well as an interviewer with the Office of Admission. As an interviewer, I aim to encourage students to pursue higher education and to join Mount Holyoke’s community of empowered students from all around the world. As a senior community advisor, I aim to create an environment where students feel supported in order to prosper and grow both personally and academically. These two important leadership roles further inspired my commitment to pursuing a career in academia and have shaped me into a confident and effective leader.

A place or an experience you will miss at Mount Holyoke: I will miss sharing my meals with my friends at the Community Center while chatting about various topics ranging from world issues to our weekend plans.    

How a close connection with a faculty member has shaped you: My desire to dedicate my life to a career in academia not only stems from my love and admiration for politics and Francophone literature, but from the influence of my advisor, Samba Gadjigo, the Helen Day Gould Professor of French and chair of the French department. His mentorship educated me about French-speaking Africa — its history, politics and film.

During my junior year, I had the great privilege of assisting him in organizing the 2018 Sembène Across Africa project, about the great Senegalese filmmaker, Ousmane Sembène. We were able to organize public screenings of Sembène’s classic film “Xala,” along with Professor Gadjigo’s documentary “Sembène!” These public screenings took place in more than 35 African nations, and 12 nations in the diaspora, at public parks, school classrooms, museums, cafes and libraries.

Best takeaway from internship or research experiences: My internship experiences with Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s office, the Massachusetts Trial Court, The Jerusalem Fund, and the Arab American Institute in Washington, D.C., allowed me to delve into the world of research and advocacy. They provided me with the confidence and strong values of resistance to speak for myself, get involved and challenge the narrative presented about North Africans.

How Mount Holyoke has shaped your global outlook: The mixture of classes I have taken — in economics, politics and geography as well as in international relations and French and Francophone studies — enabled me to understand today’s world with all its complexities and challenges. They gave me the opportunity to amplify my voice and to become part of the literary voices that aim to change and reshape North Africa’s narratives.

Favorite Five College experience: I was an Arabic/Moroccan language partner at the Five College Center for the Study of World Languages for three consecutive years. This incredible opportunity allowed me to meet students from the Five Colleges while also developing amazing friendships and sharing my culture and languages.

Future plans: I will be attending graduate school at Boston University, where I will combine my passion for both politics and Francophone literature. My hope is that a career in academia will allow me to influence the lives of my students in the same manner my advisor has changed mine. I want to encourage students from different backgrounds, especially women and minorities, to pursue higher education.